PUPPET THEATRE

Productions will delight audiences from 4 to 99 years of age.

WHAT’S ON

Pinocchio

Pinocchio

From 23rd July to 3rd September (every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday).

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03 August 2022 3rd August 2022 - 3rd September 2022
Upfront Puppet Festival!

Upfront Puppet Festival!

9th - 11th September 2022
upfrontpuppetfestival.com
A weekend celebration of puppetry to bring together masters of the artform with shows for all ages and music to add to the fun.

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09 September 2022 9th September 2022 - 11th September 2022

PAST PERFORMANCES

Aladdin and His Amazing Lamp

Aladdin and His Amazing Lamp

We will hold you spellbound as we tell you a tale based on one of the 101 Arabian Night Stories, told by Scheherezade to her husband, the Sultan. Meet the...

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07 April 2022 7th April 2022 - 18th April 2022
STANELLI’S SUPER CIRCUS

STANELLI’S SUPER CIRCUS

Upfront Puppet Theatre's Christmas Production A full circus in miniature. This is an amazing experience not to be missed, suitable for all ages. This unique collection of trick circus marionettes...

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18 December 2021 18th December 2021 - 2nd January 2022
The Three Billy Pigs by Noisy Oyster

The Three Billy Pigs by Noisy Oyster

October 26 @ 2:00 pm - October 30th @ 2:00 pm The Three Billy Pigs production by Noisy Oyster is for children 3 years and over. It blends two classic fairy tales – The Three...

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26 October 2021 26th October 2021 - 29th October 2021

Upfront Arts Ltd. was formed as a not-for-profit organisation in 2003 by John and Elaine Parkinson to develop the art form of puppetry and to create a centre of creativity and excellence for the art form. Located near Penrith, Cumbria, Upfront is one of only four dedicated puppet theatres in England and has its own theatre building and workshops.

Its first production was at Christmas 2004 in an eighty seat venue created from an old farm workshop building. John was trained as a theatre designer at the Design school of the English National Opera, before working as a designer in many northern theatres. He has a degree in drama from Manchester University and has lectured in drama, directing, production and design. Puppetry has always been one of John’s major passions.

Elaine was trained as a primary teacher and worked for many years teaching reception and junior school children. She is now a puppeteer for Upfront and brings to the company an educational focus for its work. Her job also includes company administration and she is responsible for scheduling the seasons of performances and handling the day to day finances.

The organisation became a charity on July 26th 2013, charity registration number 1153089. A board of 10 trustees now administer the activities of the company.

Freelance puppeteers and makers are employed for each production. They work with the company to create and perform the shows. Since the company was formed there have been productions every year at Christmas, Summer and Easter. In 2010 the company designed a new building, raised funding and built a new 144 seat venue during 2012. The building is designed and constructed to high standards of environmental sustainability and is clad on the outside with locally felled larch.

The company also supports a young people’s puppet performance group which is about to reform following the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The theatre is designed with specific resources for puppetry as well as for other general use as a venue.

A fully accredited puppet museum with open at the venue in September 2022.


Theatre Building Part Funded By:

New Interactive Puppet Museum “Puppet” Stories” due to open in 2021 part funded by


Stan Parker Puppet Collection

Upfront Puppet Theatre houses a collection of Stan Parker’s puppets which was saved by a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund for the future.

For 25 years Stan and “Stanelli’s Super Circus” was one of two major puppet exports from the United Kingdom. Stan and his wife Dorothy toured their show across Europe and beyond, including Japan, Korea, Pakistan and the USSR.

stan-parker-puppets-collection
A few of Stan Parker’s puppets from a collection housed in Upfront’s Puppet Theatre

Visit the Stan Parker Puppets website for more information, pictures and videos of Stan’s puppets.