British company founded in 1979 in Exeter (Devon) by Martin Bridle, Su Eaton and Rod Burnett, initially with the intention of performing avant-garde adult material. The company evolved towards more traditional forms of puppet theatre. After 1980, when Burnett left to form his own company, Hand to Mouth, for some years better known as “Martin, the Puppet Man”, opted to make “intelligent popular theatre”, mainly solo work with glove puppets, for children, played by Martin Bridle or Su Eaton.
Shows include Tall Tales, Goldilocks, A Fishy Tale, Here Be Dragons and Remember the Umbrella. The hallmarks of the work are high production values and accessible content, together with good design, live music and humour. Among their recent shows, played by both Bridle and Eaton are Piggery Jokery (1997) which has toured internationally, as has their well regarded Punch and Judy show. In 2004, Ken Campbell’s Punch and Judy 2 – The Attack of the Clowns, an Arts Council commission, featured Bridle and Glyn Edwards as traditional Punch professors learning to reinvent their shows for the 21st century.
Martin Bridle teaches courses in Britain and abroad, and Su Eaton is also a successful freelance graphic designer and illustrator.
(See Great Britain.)
- Animations. Year 11, No. 2 and Year 21, No. 2. London: Puppet Centre Trust, 1997.
- Eaton, Su, and Martin Bridle. Punch and Judy in the Rain. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1984.
- Felix, Geoff. Conversations with Punch. Wembley: Felix, 1994.