Friday, 10 January 2014

T'was the Night Before Christmas...

Reindeer puppets made for 'The Night Before Christmas', at the Little Angel Theatre. Designed by Michael Fowkes.
Top photograph courtesy of the Little Angel Theatre, with puppeteers Ruth Calkin, Clare Pointing and Mikey Brett.

Monday, 4 November 2013


Marionette I made during a week long carving course with John Roberts of Puppetcraft in Devon. 
Video coming soon.

hail all hallows

When confronted with the task to make two giant puppets for Stoke Newington's Halloween March of the Dead based on the theme of East-end Pagan Mashup... we sort inspiration from THIS SONG

Demonic Pat Butcher and Peggy Mitchell made with Siรขn Kidd of Mirth and Mysery, in an epic 48 hours of puppet making.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Boris and Sergey

boris and sergey
boris and sergey flabbergast
cane charon's ferry

Charon's ferry boat on backpack I designed and made for Flabbergast Theatre's Boris & Sergey's Perilous Escapade using cane and foam.

Monday, 10 June 2013

La Tempesta

Shoal of fish I made with Sue Dacre and Beatrice Pentey for La Tempesta, a collaborative production between Scarabeus Aerial Theatre and the Little Angel Theatre. For information on the show and the summer tour please look HERE

Top images my own, bottom photograph by Belinda Aackermann showing puppeteer Lori Hopkins.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

he she and it

Illustration commission for .cent magazine for the theme he/she. I'd not attempted a fashion illustration before, its quite an alien zone for me! 
In other news I have just entered the twitter world. I know I'm a little late on that train but come follow me @_amberdonovan
 for all the haps and the 'haps not.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

swishy swashy, stumble trip!

Grass scenery made for 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. 
4 metres long; 90 cms tall; foldable; swishy; swoshy. 
Bottom production image by Lynette Shanbury, with puppeteers Lowri James and Gilbert Taylor

We're Going On A BEAR Hunt!

Here are some behind the scenes pictures of what we've been making in the workshop.

'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' is the new show at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington. Based on the old campfire song, which was written down by Michael Rosen. Its been directed by Peter Glanville with fabulous songs by Barb Jungr. The puppet designs by Lyndie Wright take inspiration from Helen Oxenbury's magical illustrations.

And Larry is asleep with Bertie and Bear 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

infamous grouse

St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 2013. With Mandinga Arts
Photo - Mayor of London Presents

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Circus Kathmandu

Pani Serpa (Water Snake) Goddess; a large scale puppet that I designed and made in Nepal for Circus Kathmandu. 

The puppet is 4.5 metres long and very light weight, ideally operated by 4 performers. With invaluable help from Samantha Zsargo and Fiona Jenner. 

Top 2 photographs by Ingrid Chiron, the rest my own.

It was incredible to work with such a unique and interesting project. Circus Kathmandu was born from a troubled and painful history but is cooperatively working to redefine the status of contemporary circus performance in Nepal. It has its roots with the British charity The Esther Benjamins Trust which aims to eliminate human trafficking. They have a refuge in Kathmandu for rescued children and young people who had been trafficked or displaced into India and sold into forced labour institutions such as circuses. Kept as performers they are effectively imprisoned, denied an education and often beaten and abused.

It was in the refuge that the social circus project Sapana began. It aims to give these disempowered members of society the opportunity to develop the skills they have and to promote self confidence and expression. In previous years the notion of circus carried a very negative stigma. Traditionally it was seen as a low status and 'dirty' profession in Nepal, but thanks to this project it is increasingly being recognised as a highly skilled and exciting art form as well as a viable career. These young pople are being given vocational training and the tools that can lead them to real work opportunities in performance.

Circus Kathmandu evolved from Sapana as the first and so far only professional circus company in Nepal, and is currently made up of 13 young Nepali performers. Excitingly the company will be bringing their show 'Dakini' to London in their international debut and first step towards transglobal world domination. They will be performing Dakini at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane on March 27th 2013. The circus now comes under the umbrella of the anti trafficking charity Freedom Matters. 
More information and details on how to get tickets can be found on their website. 

This video explains more of the history of Sapana and Circus Kathmandu.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Thames Festival 2012

Dancing to the beat of zebra with the fantastic Manding Arts in the Thames Festival Night Carnival procession along London's southbank. The most fun ever. 
Puppets made by Charles Beauchamp, Miguel Hernado Torres Umba and the Mandinga Arts volunteers.
Photographs by Brighitta Moser-Clark.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Princess Goldy Superbird

Waterloo Carnival 2012, where I was puppeteering one of Mandinga Art's Marvellous Golden Birds!

Monday, 14 May 2012

chaos in norfolk

On Friday evening the sleepy city of Norwich was invaded by prehistoric creatures and otherworldy beings! I was puppeteering with Dutch street theatre company Close Act in the spectacular opening performance of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Ploughing through a crowd of thousands with a pterodactyl on a stick, chasing a dancing eyeball, under the enchanting spell of the Red Goddess singing from her aerial perch ... I know right?!

Top photograph is from the BBC website and shows the Saurus beasts and the witch on slits. 
Bottom photographs are my own from rehearsals. 
I was puppeteering with my bezzie pal and incredible sculpter Bex Cross, check out her site Free Flow Sculpture! 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

if we fall we get wet

Work in progress. 
Character developed during a week long carving course led by John Roberts.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


8 Puppets designed by Michael Fowkes, made by Julia Jeulin, Jan Zalud and Amber Donovan for  Wild Swans,  which is opening at the Young Vic Theatre on April 13th. Here are some photos that we took in the workshop, the inside head mechanism I constructed, and one from rehearsals with the cast of the show. 

The show has already had a run at the A.R.T. in Boston. Check out their website for a film about the play, how it has been adapted from the best selling book and A GLIMPSE AT OUR PUPPETS IN ACTION!

Monday, 5 March 2012

oi oi oily

Some messes made with oil paint, including leaf found in le jardin (spring watch!). Its the front and back of the same leaf, actual paintings are 3cm x 2cm, stupidly small! Recently bought Shaun Tan's The Red Tree, best picture book I've ever seen. It inspired me to paint paint paint

Monday, 23 January 2012

my first spoon

from a branch, with an axe, with love.

Friday, 16 December 2011

I've been working with some fantastic designers and makers to develop 8 puppets for the Young Vic's production of Wild Swans. I don't know if we're allowed to release any photographs yet so for now here is an amazing carved barn owl puppet by Jan Zalud, who I've had the pleasure of working with for this project. Check out more of his wonderful work at

Also A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, the current christmas show at the Little Angel Theatre is receiving some amazing reviews! Its's on until January 29th, so please go and see it!!! 

Here's the trailer from the performance ....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

making a plague

More photographs showing the making process of the puppets and props for the Little Angel Theatre's Christmas production of ....
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Inspired by the short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The plague of crabs is destroyed by Kansas the Dog (above) and the townspeople celebrated with a delicious victoria sponge cake!

                                    Check out the Time Out listing here!