SMPC contains a large and unique range of puppet theatre and puppetry resources of local, regional, national and international significance. A puppet centre is a building-based organisation with its own management & staffing structure and a developing public programme of professional and educational work.
A creative centre will usually have one or more working theatres, resident artists and visiting companies, design and construction workshops, museum collections and library/documentation archives, a broad and diverse educational programme (masterclasses, workshops, lectures & demonstrations), residential accommodation, offices & ancillary stores and be situated on a dedicated family-friendly site with adequate car parking provision.
This is the ideal material base and physical infrastructure that should be centred on one site and forms the engine from which to do the work. However an engine also requires tools, processes, equipment and operators.
In a creative centre the puppet master is the driving force and spirit behind the spaces within the engine and has sometimes been described as an engineer of the imagination. Such spaces need to be permeated by the humanism, enthusiasm and passion of centred profesional practitioners; and these practitioners must be rooted in hand-on skills, knowledge and experience and imbued with a clarity of vision and a spirit of generosity.
Moreover, the puppet theatre is not merely another genre of the theatre. It is one of the roots as opposed to one of the branches of the theatre where tradition and innovation go hand in hand. As such, the puppet theatre is a distinct art form in its own right with its own history, theory, techniques, specific performance skills, dramaturgy and aesthetics.
At SMPC our particular approach has resulted in:
- Public Performance programmes
- Masterclass and professional training programmes
- Workshops & birthday parties for children & families
- Museum collection and archive resources
- Research, library, archive and study facilities
- Design and production workshops: craft commissions
- Film FX (Special Effects) services
- Education and therapy unit
- Shop: Publications and Online Book Service
- Annual Puppeteer’s & Friends of The Centre events
- Parnership projects and cross art-form collaborations
- Film and Special Effects
- Mask-Making Studio
- Woodcarving Shop
- Festival organisation: European Seasons of Puppetry, The Big Grin & Magipup Festival