We also consider those who work with us through our community engagement programmes and share our love of puppetry arts and ethos to raise awareness of invisible disabilities to be a part of our team, especially when artists choose to return for more than one project with us. We call these team members our Creative Collaborators.
We also have a team of younger puppet fans affectionately nicknamed 'The Puppeteenies' - the children of friends and family members who work with us so regularly they have become a part of our creative family. They even critique our work and create characters for our shows!
To find out how you or your little puppet fans could join our team, see the 'Working with Us' section.
Clare has over 16 years experience within the professional creative industries. She started out as a freelance film producer and graphic designer, opening her own studio 'White Tiger Creative' in 2001. In 2008 she decided to go to university to follow a long standing ambition to gain a Drama degree, and achieved a First Class BA Hons in Drama and Community Practice in 2010.
Clare has freelanced as a project manager and assistant facilitator for the Barbican Theatre since 2008, a role which she still holds to this day as part of their creative learning team. In 2009 Clare worked as company manager and a director of Symbiotic Theatre alongside Kev Johnson, helping to produce tour promotional materials and company branding before co-founding their community programme for adults with mental ill health, - 'Don't Mention The Gorilla!' - before a car accident in 2010 left her with serious injuries and began to impact on her career.
In 2013 Clare stepped down from her role to concentrate on getting her spiraling health back under control. Eventually being diagnosed with M.E, Clare spent several years largely housebound and during that time employed her many creative skills to help her cope with the transition from health to living with a life changing invisible disability. Broken Puppet was founded as a way for Clare to regain some control over her career and aims to promote inclusion through the arts.
READ MORE OF CLARE'S STORY >
Clare 'Jay' McCarthy
FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
MEET THE TEAM
Our founders are Clare McCarthy (Chair Person) and Marie Rogers (Secretary), who are supported by long term friends and colleagues Leah Battershall-Reid (Vice Chair) and Bekkie Pool (Treasurer) to form our management committee. Broken Puppet Theatre Company is a constituted voluntary organisation working within the creative industries sector to promote inclusion of those with chronic illness and invisible disabilities in both professional and community led Arts.
As our core team have chronic illnesses themselves, we often collaborate with or contract in freelance practitioners to support us in our work, with artists and directors being drafted in as and when each project requires their specialist skills. Our freelancers are an integral part of our team, as we could not continue to develop and deliver our theatre productions and workshop programmes without them!
CO-FOUNDER & COMMUNITY PRODUCER
Marie is a first time community producer and has supported Clare in the development of Broken Puppet Theatre since before the company even launched. Also a puppet maker in training, Marie has a passion for marionettes and is currently learning skills for our upcoming stop motion animation projects!
Marie's professional background is as a support worker, where she has extensive experience working with people who live with mental health issues and/or drug and alcohol misuse.
With over 12 years experience working in different community settings, such as rehabilitation units, prisons and hospitals, Marie is a real 'people person' through and through, and a great advocate for the children and families that we work with here at Broken Puppet Theatre.
Marie is also a qualified Reflexologist, but unfortunately had to give it up because of her own chronic illness, so has a genuine grasp of the issues faced by our project participants and collaborators.
CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE LEARNING - EARLY YEARS COORDINATOR
Leah is a full time Mummy of 3 and a professionally qualified childminder. She graduated Marjons the same year as clare with a degree in Drama and Education. Leah is not based in Plymouth anymore but we still work with her regularly. She often comes along to help out at community events and festivals and we're always taking the children on trips to see as much theatre as possible.
Leah works mostly with under 5 's and is keen to develop shadow puppetry and play for this age group in collaboration with us. She is a founding member of Broken Puppet Theatre Company and is a great story teller and educator of extra little Puppeteenies!
Leah also acts as Vice-Chairperson on our committee, and is highly competent with MASH, first aid and safeguarding protocols.
TREASURER & COSTUMIER
Bekkie is a full time Mummy of 3 and one of our most reliable supporters. She is highly skilled in the art of costume making and often ends up 'scrubbing in' to our puppet surgery sessions - late night/last minute puppet making when deadlines are tight - and can generally fix anything that needs a skilled needle and thread. Her execution of our Blue Fairy's skirt was just beautiful!
Bekkie's 3 adorable children are growing up slightly obsessed with puppets - possibly because 'Auntie Clare' runs a puppet theatre company - and her love of the art form is definitely rubbing off on the little ones! Bekkie's daughter Lottie will soon be starring in our Puppeteenies series for our new YouTube Channel.
Bekkie also acts as Treasurer on our committee, and is often described as 'Clare's spare brain' - helping to ensure the company runs smoothly even when Clare has got brain fog from her M.E.
Bekkie's son has a rare health condition so she has an added interest in the work we do around invisible disability and is keen for him to be around positive attitudes towards this as he grows up.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR / DRAMATURG / PUPPETEER
Jon Nash is our associate director, dramaturg and puppeteer. He joined the team in 2017 when our funding came through from the Big Lottery to run Ephelant! project, and is now an integral part of our freelance team.
Jon's role is to support the development of both our funded projects throughout the 2017/18 season to help transfer our reams of doodling and word splurges into works of finely tuned, beautifully staged puppetry performances.
Jon works as a director and writer and is in very high demand, so we feel very lucky to have him working with us this season and hope he'll stay with the team as the company grows.
ASSOCIATE PUPPET MASTER & MENTOR, FOUNDER OF PUPPETCRAFT
John has been a self confessed puppet fanatic since he 'was a tiny little boy'.
Through the 80s John was a director at the world famous Little Angel Puppet Theatre in London.
He moved to Devon in 1990 and set up PuppetCraft - a touring puppet company.
PuppetCraft comprises of a team of makers, puppeteers and musicians who make and perform shows that travel all over the UK, and occasionally over the sea to other lands.
John is noted as a designer and maker of finely crafted puppets, and has taught skills workshops to adults for around 30 years.
He has spent his career making puppets for film, West End theatre and TV and keenly passes on his expertise though contact with the team here at Broken Puppet.