Beverley Puppet Festival was the brainchild of puppeteer Anna Ingleby, whose vision to bring puppetry to her home town of Beverley led to the first festival being launched in 2005. At the time, Beverley had no established theatre or cinema and the festival sought to bring some creative colour to residents and visitors alike.
Anna takes up the story. "So why puppets? I think comedian and ventriloquist, Nina Conti, sums it up perfectly, simply: '[because] puppets can say things humans can't.' Puppet Theatre creates magic though its mix of so many artistic disciplines – it’s great how it draws people in on so many different levels... I wanted to introduce people to the broadest diversity of puppetry styles, to stimulate creative and critical thinking, to draw people into other worlds, to think outside the box and to target audiences of all ages, not just children…. One could say: ‘to bring out the adult within the child and the child within the adult…’
From there the festival grew, primarily through the goodwill of our funders and partners. Later, as the town’s offering of venues improved with the opening of East Riding Theatre and Parkway Cinema, our popularity increased and more partners came on board - though over the years it's often been crazy when we have struggled to fit shows into pop-up theatre venues, or found ourselves dealing with irate drivers as (what they imagined were real) gorillas blocked the road.
Over the years Beverley Puppet Festival has become increasingly important as a networking and showcasing opportunity for the puppetry sector. It is one of several festivals in the UK; not necessarily the largest in terms of its venues or geographical reach, but one which has up to now focused predominantly on showcasing British companies with a select few international acts invited each year. Importantly it allows the public, the puppeteers and promoters the opportunity to see lots of shows in one weekend and all in one beautiful location - Beverley! Our free outdoor street acts have increased in both number and scale over the years, drawing in bigger and bigger audiences, as have our indoor ticketed shows. In 2018 audience members (both indoor and outdoor) were estimated at over 13,000.
Beverley Puppet Festival also has a long history of educational outreach projects. In the early days we worked with artists in three different local schools, resulting in a collaborative showcase and sometimes a town procession at the start of the festival. Since then we’ve also worked with adult service users at Miller’s Day Centre – producing a shadow theatre installation at Beverley Minster (2014) and a big plastazote “Dinodragonaurus” to interact with festival goers in the Friary Gardens (2018). In 2016, residents and family members of the Old Schoolhouse Care Home produced a shadow film which was shown during the festival. In 2020 for our online festival we are embarking on a remote pilot project to bring our festival to at least three care homes in the town and give residents the chance to express themselves creatively.
At the time of writing, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to us producing our first online festival ever – which we see as an opportunity to spread our net, develop our audiences everywhere and get even more people involved. It also means that instead of one weekend we can spread our activities over two months and create a lasting resource on which we can build for future festivals.
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ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
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Saurus by Close-Act, at the Flemingate Centre
Beverley Puppet Festival 2018
Photo by Nigel Walker
The Friary Gardens on a particularly sunny festival weekend
Beverley Puppet Festival 2018
Photo by Scott Wigglesworth
Beverley Puppet Festival is self-governed non-for-profit group run by a small team of dedicated artists and producers. Between 2006 - 2018 Beverley Puppet Festival was presented by Beverley Arts Trust. The first festival in 2005 was run independently.
Check out our sister festival Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival:
Beverley Puppet Festival won the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Award for 'Remarkable Small Tourism Event' in 2015.
The festival was once again a finalist for 'Remarkable Tourism Event' in 2017 and 2019.
Beverley Puppet Festival is organised by a small, dedicated team of creative producers and (for the live festival) is supported by a large team of volunteers over the festival weekend.
Founder & Co-Artistic Director
Beverley-born Anna Ingleby originally trained as a visual artist in Edinburgh, and later in mime, movement, puppetry & voice in London & Indonesia. A freelance puppeteer since 1991, she founded her own company - Indigo Moon Theatre - in 1999, which tours shows and workshops nationally & internationally. In 2004 she returned to Beverley and founded Beverley Puppet Festival in 2005, before it became a funded biennial festival, adopted by the committee of Beverley Arts Trust in 2006. Although now relocated in Hull where Indigo Moon Theatre’s production base is, she continues to co-direct this festival for her original home town.
Kerrin Tatman is an award-winning creative producer, multi-instrumentalist musician and composer specialising in cross-disciplinary projects. They joined the Beverley Puppet Festival team in 2014 as Director's Assistant and helped deliver both the 2014 and 2016 festivals in this role. In 2017 they Co-Founded Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival with William Steele, winning The Journal Culture Award for 'Best Newcomer' and as Artistic Director has delivered two sell-out festivals with the organisation. Kerrin returned to Beverley Puppet Festival in the new role of Co-Artistic Director for the 2018 festival and is very much looking forward to the first online edition for 2020.
Festival Coordinator & Communications Manager
After reading English and Modern Languages at Cambridge, Margaret Pinder trained as a solicitor specialising in maritime law before moving to the US where she practised international law in New York. She taught an award winning course on Greek Tragedy at Harvard after which she returned to her native East Yorkshire and worked as a legal consultant while taking a Masters in Theatre. She has stood for Parliament, was Beverley’s first female Labour Mayor, has published four books and is principal double bass in the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra. Margaret now works in the arts sector as well as performing as a stand-up comedian in London and across the North.
Digital Engagement & Marketing Specialist
Rachael Jones is a freelance arts marketer and doer of digital things based in Liverpool. She has worked with arts organisations across the North West, London and now the North East. She’s passionate about helping art reach a wide audience – both online and in person!
Scratch Space Manager & Festival Administrator
Louise Gregory works as a Lighting and Sound Designer, and Production & Stage Manager, specialising in small-to-mid-scale productions in unusual and community venues. She is also Technical Manager for Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival. Louise is delighted to be joining the team for this year’s Beverley Puppet Festival.
Graphic Designer & Illustrator
Rachael Horner is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, originally from Beverley but now based in sunny Brighton. After honing her craft at Falmouth University, she now works in lots of different media, but has started branching out into three dimensional collage and has had a lot of fun crafting the mini theatre that features as the cover for this year’s Beverley Puppetry Festival, as well as scribbling plenty more wobbly handwriting for the brochure. Rachael has worked with clients that include the RHS, Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival, Taste of London and Scilly Flowers. She has recently collaborated with a fellow illustrator and set up the bespoke design studio, Barribal and Hogg, based in Hove.
Darren Squires is a media obsessive: writing, broadcasting and above all teaching. He is the director of Creative Projects, which combines high-quality media content with community and educational imperatives. He is also the instigator of Creative Technologies, an initiative to bring the latest in media and computer technology to educational, community and arts organisations. He is also a pretty decent cook.
Jacob Garthwaite is a Cinematographer and Editor from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, originally trained as a Microbiologist turning to film as a hobby, which then slowly developed into a bustling business. Operating under the name Kraken Cinematic with help from his partner Dominique Aquino, Jacob specialises in music and performing arts video production. Jacob was involved with Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival producing the community project and scratch space films last year.