Vida Healthcare’s Progressive Training Manager, Theresa McNally, writes about her time training as a puppeteer!


The Garden and Performance Tent at London School of Puppetry (LSP)

The doors opened on the 31st August and a select group of Puppet enthusiasts were invited to come along to the ‘Theatre in the Garden’ in Derby for an afternoon of performance and play.

This was a summer show to celebrate the end of a very intense summer of learning, inspiring, design, making, rehearsing and preparing for the final display of the Rod Puppetry Module of the current Diploma Students at the school.

Also, on the agenda for the afternoon was a chance for visitors to try a variety of different kinds of puppets in the garden and the studio. There were short performances from the School Director of Studies and Founder; Caroline Astell Burt.

A taste of what’s to come!

In keeping with the tradition at the LSP, there was plenty of tea and of course….cake! There was two rod-puppetry shows on offer, from myself and colleague Sue. The pieces were five minutes in length would be performed multiple times during the afternoon.

The Shows

‘Birdland’ tells the story of Miss Esme, a woman who lives with the dream that one day she will find the magic that will help her find another world in the sky. ‘The Open Sky’ portrays a child refugee who finds that her imagination gives her the strength she needs to help her cope. The intense nature of puppet theatre meant that the audience in the tent was kept to small groups only which meant there was queues before long. And it was a quick re-jig of the set to prepare for the next group.

Enjoying some well-earned tea!

After an hour and a half of continuous performances, the afternoon came to an end and the guests began to leave.

So, my first solo show had been performed, I was exhilarated, exhausted but so at home in this enchanted place. The set worked, the puppet worked and it felt as if people got the story. As people left, they were asked to give some feedback and so afterwards over a cup of tea Caroline read us to us.

Some little snips of the feedback:

“Very original and very moving.”

“The puppets movements really captured her emotions, and captured me too!”

“Beautiful puppet with sophisticated hair and dress.”

Until next time….

Theresa McNally

Progressive Training Manager….

…..and Puppeteer…..