Armchair Puppet Theatre

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Shadow puppets




Shadow puppet workshops

Shadow puppet workshop in progress

Our shadow puppet workshops are all about creating exciting shadow puppet performances.

At the beginning, we introduce the idea of shadow puppetry with a short shadow puppet performance. Then participants are shown how to make and manipulate their own shadow puppets, devise stories and rehearse the plays. By the end of the workshop, participants are enabled to produce their own shadow puppet performances. Carefully chosen sound tracks, add atmosphere to the performances on our purpose-built shadow puppet screen.

Our workshops access any theme or story from around the world and are appropriate for all ages and abilities. The workshops last for half a day, a whole day or up to week long residencies, ideally for groups of up to 25 participants (30 maximum) We provide all the necessary materials and equipment. For future reference we can make available a leaflet that describes how to make shadow puppets and a simple theatre.

Armchair Puppet Theatre has a variety of tried and tested shadow puppet workshop formats that have been used for a wide range of groups in different settings. We can design any of our workshops or training sessions to tie in with a particular theme you wish to explore, or specfic skills you want to concentrate on, with your group.

Library Reading Challenges

The summer Library Reading Challenge workshop we devise each year encourages a love of books by bringing excerpts from children’s favourite stories into dramatic reality as short shadow puppet scenes.(See Options/Libraries)

Book Weeks and Art Weeks

We regularly use our book based shadow puppet workshop in schools where shadow puppets work especially well for the Light & Dark theme. Excerpts from stories can be transformed into short shadow puppet performances. Longer stories can be divided into scenes for a class or group of participants to make, rehearse and perform, either in sections to each other or as a complete story to school assembly or a group of parents or friends.

Historical Re-enactments

Investigate and recreate significant events from world history, bringing historical scenes to life through making and performing shadow puppets.

College Courses

This all day workshop is successfully used as part of the introduction to Teaching Degree courses, where students can get to know each other by working collaboratively, and to mark the end of PGCE courses with a celebratory activity. Our shadow workshop can be combined with our carnival workshop for groups of Drama students involved in preparing theatrical productions.

Adult Training

Our shadow puppet workshop is used extensively to inspire and refresh pre-school, primary and secondary teachers, play-group leaders, social workers and child-minders, at conferences and in service training (INSET), by teaching transferable skills that can be used creatively in a multitude of different educational and caring situations.

Festivals and Celebrations

This all day workshop allows participants to make various shadow puppets from an agreed story throughout the morning as well as being free to go off and explore other activities. Later in the day participants return at a pre-arranged time to rehearse the show, in time for a final shadow puppet performance to other festival goers.

Summer Playschemes

We often lead a shadow puppet workshop in the morning and perform one of our puppet shows in the afternoon.


Where a creative activity is preferred, our two hour shadow puppet workshop provides an excitingly different focus for a celebration.

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“The children felt a great sense of achievement”
Kathy Sanders Inverteign Infants School, Teignmouth

“The shadow puppet workshop is an exciting way to help children create something visual and very individual from their reading experiences.”
Mary Tucker, Group Librarian, Gloucestershire

“I was impressed by your professionalism and thought you managed the session and interacted with the chidren brilliantly.”
Claire Stroud, Portsmouth and S E Hampshire Multicultural Group

Shadow puppets - By the Light of the Moon

Shadow puppets - Moulin Rouge

Shadow puppets - Hook

Shadow puppets - Frightened

"What did I enjoy? All of it! Seeing the children being able to make their own puppets, using their own ideas and performing their sketches. Families working together. Adults enjoying it as much as the children!"
Laura Bailey, Assistant Children's Librarian in Poole

"The sheer enthusiasm of the children was a joy to see. They thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and their creations."
Kathy Lewis from the Plymouth Racial Equality Council at the Plymouth Respect Festival

"It was a brilliant way of breaking the ice and getting to know other members of the group. As a learning tool in the classroom, puppets are an excellent medium, the ideas were so simple but extremely effective. The workshop has really sparked my creative side and has got me thinking 'outside of the box' with regards to English."
Alison Murtha, BEd English Yr 1 student at Rolle College, Plymouth University.

"Excellent workshop leaders. Loads of puppet ideas.
The session was very useful and extremely motivating."

Evaluation forms from the Primary Literacy Conference in Gloucestershire