Nottingham Puppet Festival announces full line up for 2024

Date published: 27 Feb 2024

Posted by: Kayleigh Page

Nottingham Puppet Festival has announced the full line up of events for the 2024 festival, taking place at venues across the city from Tuesday 9 to Sunday 21 April.

An Arts Council funded partnership between the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall and City Arts, Nottingham Puppet Festival first launched in 2018, the 2024 festival is the partnership’s third event.

The city-wide, community-focused festival is a celebration of puppets and people. Every corner of the city will be filled with puppetry performances from local, national and international artists, with small and large-scale puppetry also taking to the streets. The festival will present workshops, talks and screenings from key figures in the puppetry world.

In addition to the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall and City Arts, venues taking part in the festival include Lakeside Arts, Broadway Cinema, Squire Performing Arts Centre, New Art Exchange and Nottingham City Libraries and Community Centres, as well as other local makers and artists’ studios.

There’s a fantastic mix of shows including the multi award-winning Life of Pi and late-night puppet cabaret at the Theatre Royal, a melancholy scarecrow in NoOne’s Land at Lakeside Arts, cinema classics Eraserhead and The Adventures of Prince Achmed at Broadway, and lots of family fun with an early years library tour of The Search for Teddy Island and Charlie Comet and the Magic in the Attic. Talks, workshops and exhibitions will inspire both aspiring puppeteers and professional practitioners. Join in conversations about how puppetry is reaching diverse communities and enriching lives. 

One of the highlights of the festival will be a City Centre day produced by City Arts on Saturday 13 April from 11am which will see puppetry and processions of all scales. Free street theatre, shows, music, and marvellous sights and sounds will link Sneinton Market to Old Market Square, all the way to the new Central Library. You’ll see Mahogany Carnival Design’s spectacular costumes, watch Inspirate’s Ancient Giants in a battle between good and evil, enjoy beautiful storytelling at the Central Library, and get close up to By Our Hands’ handcrafted marionettes.

Alison Denholm, Creative Development Manager at City Arts says:

Puppets are everywhere! Having been around for over 5000 years they are still with us in TV, film, stage, video-games, theme parks and more. Why? Because puppets are so good at telling stories about what it is to be human. Celebrating the artistry of puppets and puppetry along with the communities that inspire their stories, we are very excited and privileged to bring puppetry of every kind to all corners of the city during the third Nottingham Puppet Festival and can’t wait to bring the city to life with puppets and people.” 

As part of the festival’s commitment to supporting local artists, three bursaries have been awarded to Nottingham-based theatre makers. Meander, a theatre company of learning disabled and autistic creatives, will showcase a performance that uses puppetry to explore experiences of bullying. Artists Bryony McCombie Smith and Liz Johnson are developing short-form puppet cabaret acts. In the lead up to the festival Bristol-based puppet-maker Cat Rock will work with Nottingham community groups to build a ‘walkabout’ puppet. Cantrell Primary School pupils, the Nottingham Rebels Theatre Group, and participants from the Hubb Neighbourhood Centre in Sneinton will work with the artist to design this brand-new puppet.