British puppet theatre. Norwich Puppet Theatre was founded in 1979 by Joan and Ray DaSilva as a permanent base for their touring company, DaSilva Puppets. The building was formerly a medieval church and opened as a public venue for puppet theatre in 1980. Ray DaSilva was Artistic Director until 1986, after which Barry Smith took over for four years, followed by Luís Zornoza Boy from 1991 to 2008. Joy Haynes joined as Director in 2011.
The Theatre houses a 185-seat raked auditorium, the 50-seat Octagon Studio, workshops, an exhibition gallery, shop and licensed bar. The building is the base for a professional puppet theatre company producing original shows, which tours to schools and venues nationally and internationally. The company also offers a rich educational and outreach programme, which engages with members of the local community of all ages, offering multiple opportunities to learn construction and performance skills. Norwich Puppet Theatre is also a vibrant receiving house inviting performances from companies from all over the world. The company produces and hosts performances that encompass a broad range of puppet styles and techniques including interdisciplinary work and related arts. Recent NPT productions include The Chalk Giants (a co-production with indefinitearticles) and Red Riding Hood directed by Peter O’Rourke. Joy Haynes aims to position Norwich Puppet Theatre as an inspirational centre for the development and celebration of puppet theatre providing a unique cultural venue in the East of England.
The Theatre is committed to providing professional development opportunities to emerging and mid career artists; having run master classes and courses led by artists such as Enno Podehl, Yang Feng, Joan Baixas, Mrinalini Sarabhai, John Roberts, Barry Purves and Handspring Puppet Company. Norwich Puppet Theatre has a long history of international collaborations, including with Vihreä Omena (Green Apple Puppet Theatre), Finland, Theater Taptoe, Belgium, and Lutkovno gledališče, Slovenia. NPT celebrated its 25th anniversary with an international festival in 2005 and in February 2012 collaborated for the first time with Puppet Animation Scotland to present the annual manipulate International Visual Theatre Festival.
(See Great Britain.)
- Woods, Ian. “Norwich Puppet Theatre”. Animations Online. No. 8, April 2004.