Introducing our Nottingham Puppet Festival bursary award recipients

Date published: 7 Mar 2024

Posted by: Kayleigh Page

Two Nottingham artists and a theatre company have been awarded bursaries as part of the 2024 Nottingham Puppet Festival. City Arts and a panel awarded the bursaries to support the professional development of the artists.

The work that bursary recipients make will be showcased during the festival. Keep an eye on the festival website and social media to find out when.

Meet the Bursary Recipients


Meander is a Nottingham based company of learning disabled and autistic creatives. The group produce bold new performances and art work that challenge audience. The company was established in 2011. The company have worked with various venues and arts organisations. They including Lakeside Arts CentreNottingham PlayhouseCity ArtsSheffield Crucible and Graeae Theatre Company.

Meander will revisit a short performance piece. It explores the group’s experiences of bullying, both in work environments and in friendships. The show features three different puppet characters. With the support of the bursary, they will enhance these puppets and explore new ways of puppeteering them.

We are delighted to receive the City Arts Puppet Bursary. It will give Meander Theatre and all the creatives involved an opportunity to develop, create, and share our puppetry and performance skills with a wider audience.

Bryony McCombie Smith

Bryony is a puppeteer and theatre maker, living and working in Nottingham. She has worked on various puppet projects. They include building a dragon for Nottingham Light Night and touring the UK and Canada, puppeteering for Nikki Charlesworth’s production ‘What Happened to You?’. Bryony is interested in creating puppetry that captivates and enlightens people.

Using her bursary, Bryony will create a show based around a zombie burlesque dancer. Aimed at adults, the comedic puppetry show will combine humour, glamour and horror.

I’m really excited for the opportunity to push myself and diversify my skills as a puppeteer and maker. I’m grateful to City Arts, for the support they’ve offered, helping me to get the most out of my project, not only now, but in the future.

Liz Johnson

Liz is a puppet maker, character costume maker and puppeteer. She started her company Promotional Props and Costumes Ltd in in the late 1990s. It specialises in making character costumes and puppets for commercial companies, as well as for theatre, film and advertising.

With the support of the bursary, Liz is developing a stand up comedy act called “Slightly Psychic Cynthia”. Based on the artist’s grandmother, Cynthia reads tarot cards and tea leaves. Her predictions are random, sometimes rude, and funny.

Receiving the bursary is very encouraging and affirming. The money will be used on workshops with professionals to develop my act as well as physical things for the show like head mics and costumes. This bursary is going to really help develop my act with Cynthia the puppet in so many different ways. Thank you so much.