PUPPET THEATRE

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

WHAT’S ON

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

PAST PERFORMANCES

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
Jack in the Beanstalk

Jack in the Beanstalk

Upfront Puppet Theatre will finally be performing once again. July 21st – August 30th. Shows are at 2pm but please check performance days below. All shows will be socially distanced...

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21 July 2021 21st July 2021 - 30th August 2021
Puppets Up-Front 2nd, 3rd & 4th June

Puppets Up-Front 2nd, 3rd & 4th June

We're back.... Oh yes, WE ARE !!! Live puppet theatre performances return with a 3 day celebration of puppet fun.  A unique double bill of shows each day - suitable...

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02 June 2021 2nd June 2021 - 3rd June 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 on e 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.

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 theatre is designed with specific resources for puppetry as well as for other general use as a venue. Future plans include a permanent exhibition of the history of puppetry and a young peoples’ performance company based at the venue.


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.