I founded Broken Puppet Theatre in 2012 after a car accident left me with severe nerve damage and significant mobility issues that changed the course of my career as a freelance theatre maker & film producer. I realised that I had used many forms of creative expression to cope with my transition from health to living with an invisible disability and I wanted to make those coping strategies available to more people going through similar issues.
Broken Puppet Theatre are a cohort of theatre, film and puppet makers from Plymouth, Devon (in the UK). Most of us are also battling long term health conditions or invisible disabilities of some kind. We use our professional creative practices to support others living with similar life changing health issues, in a light hearted and uplifting way.
Our lives are all about being ‘Broken’ and while society generally sees this as a bad thing, we believe that our struggles motivate us to become stronger, more tenacious and better advocates for the children and families we work with. Our experiences allow us to create shows and deliver workshops that are authentic, engaging and inclusive, and we openly invite anyone with an interest in our work to get involved!
My background is in community support work and I'm relatively new to the worlds of theatre and puppetry, which I fell in love with after meeting Clare on a Mental Health training course we both attended. We had a lot in common and before long I was getting easily roped in to help Clare make puppets, and we've kind of been doing that together ever since! I consider myself a trainee puppeteer and am currently developing my skills in stop motion animation and character design.
I first became involved with Broken Puppet through the Barbican Theatre. I have previously worked with Clare and was really drawn to both the style (puppetry) and content (invisible illness awareness) of the project. I was keen to get involved, firstly supporting the writing and development of the shows. My role is supporting the writing, storytelling & creation of the shows. I will be directing ‘Ephelant’ and ‘Broken:Live’, also doubling as a puppeteer! I’m looking forward to bringing the characters and stories to life and following their journeys from the page to the stage and also, as has already happened, the chance to meet a wide range of extraordinary people all in the name of a good cause.
ASSOCIATE PUPPET MASTER & MENTOR
Hello my name is John and I have been a puppet fanatic since I was a tiny little boy. Through the 80s I was a director at the world famous Little Angel Puppet Theatre in London. In 1990 I move to Devon and set up PuppetCraft a touring puppet company. PuppetCraft comprises a team of makers, puppeteers and musicians. We make and perform shows that travel all over the UK and occasionally over the sea to other lands. I have become noted as a designer and maker of finely crafted puppets, and have taught skills workshops to adults for around 30 years. I have made puppets for film, West End theatre and TV. I met Clare and Marie when they came on one of my summer puppet making courses and was delighted to be invited to be part of their story as Broken Puppet emerges.