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Clowns Houses by Merlin Puppet theatre at the 2023 festival

The 4th edition of Newcastle Puppetry Festival ran 8th-16th April 2023. Spanning 9 days at indoor and outdoor venues across the city, the 2023 programme presented shows, workshops, talks and films for adults, kids, teens and families. With many free events and ticketed shows ranging from £4 - £12 there was something for everyone. The lineup included UK premieres from Germany, France, The Netherlands and Spain. It also saw the culmination of community projects Teeny Tiny Toon and Wor Seahorse Spectacle, including a huge puppet parade in Newcastle City Centre.

2023 Festival 

"It’s so fantastic to have such a diverse, creative festival in Newcastle, bringing in more visitors to our fab region"

– Audience member, 2023


Alison Duddle, Alison McGowan, Angel Exit Theatre, Bell and Bullock, Brook Tate, Cath Connolly, Duda Paiva Company, Enter Edem, Garlic Theatre, Glitzy Faces, Indigo Moon Theatre, Jesse Ward Bubbleologist, Judith Hope, Lauren Stone, Les Pieds dans la Lune Cie, Life and Limb Puppets, Long Nose Puppets, Merlin Puppet Theatre, Moving Parts Arts, Noisy Oyster, Paul Dewhurst, PuppetShip, Stephen Mottram, Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company, Swallows Wings Puppetry, Tatwood Puppets, Teatro Lafauna, Theatre Illumiere, The Barrow Band, The Object Project, The Magical Paper Theatre, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Tim Davies Design, Velma Von Bon Bon, Zannie Fraser


Made possible through funding from Arts Council England, Community Foundation, Creative UK, North of Tyne, Garfield Weston, Community Fund, Hadrian Trust, The Joicey Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Arnold Clark Community Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

Partners and Venues

Dance City, Seven Stories, Breeze Creatives, Newcastle Arts Centre, Life and Limb Puppets, Tatwood Puppets, Ouseburn Farm, The Cluny, Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle City Library, Magic Hat, Creative Projects, Von Fox Promotions, StageText

Take a look at the 2023 brochure
The festival recipe includes free outdoor theatre with giant creatures surprising unsuspecting audiences in Newcastle’s everyday spaces, breaking down barriers so that everyone can experience puppetry. The week of events includes high quality shows for children, including a dedicated family day in the Ouseburn, but equally important the festival also boasts a programme of shows and workshops for adults – changing opinions of who puppetry is for.

Crucial to our aims and objectives, the festival includes a series of bespoke projects that get community groups and students creative and interacting with puppetry. We are passionate about participant-led work and build avenues into the festival programme that allow local residents to get directly involved. We want to incubate a community for puppetry in the North East of England and our festival is a big part of that narrative.  ​Check out the two festival community projects below.


Moving Parts character by Rachael Horner - wolf man
Teeny Tiny Toon commission by Judith Hope, 2023 festival