March Madness in Stoke on Trent!!

Report on the Members Special Event Sat 26th March by Lee Thompson


There were stalls with books and puppets for sale, performances and shows and even an impromptu puppet show and demonstration in the car park!

It was great to see the event so well attended and new friendships were formed, some members even stayed into the evening to continue to talk puppetry and share the odd joke or too.

Of course, Guild President Ronnie Le Drew was there, not only was he signing books for members he also brought a mini ‘Zippy’ with him to entertain everyone.

Current Guild Chair and Archivist Michael Dixon had a wide range of puppetry books and a beautiful range of puppets that he was selling at bargain prices (Guild Treasurer Brian Hibbitt was also there to make sure all the money was being accounted for!).

It was lovely to see the Vice Presidents Ray and Joan DaSilva there getting to know the new members and passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Guild Secretary David Leech was there and presented to the audience the debut performance by his Granddaughter Maggie – who put on an excellent ‘Frozen’ inspired marionette show.

Pauline Venables put on a captivating festive toy theatre performance and James Bradley explained all about ‘Kamishibai’

Our own Newsletter Editor Sarah Peasgood brought a range of toy theatres and miniature dioramas which were stunning to look at and gave a brief talk about them including her links to Toy Theatre, her own Paper Theatre work (see web page https:// and an overview of interesting books on the subject

It was great to see all the new members welcomed warmly by Membership Secretary Dave Burgess.

Parker Puppetry’s own Jess Parker-Hewitt rushed straight from one of her workshops to be there, Josh Macrow updated us all on his puppet film project which is near completion.

We had a guest appearance by CBBC superstar ‘Hacker T. Dog’ who was happy to entertain members and pose for photos.

Hacker of course is performed by the Guilds newest member and British puppetry superstar Phil Fletcher who was on great form entertaining members young and old. ‘

Sooty’ puppeteer Chris Kendall also there and brought the loveable bear with him (how often do you get a chance to get a selfie with Sooty?)

So, all in all it was great fun packed day.

If you’ve never attended a Guild event before I’d highly recommend you attend one as the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.

Guild events are also great at helping you wind down and be silly as you can be entertained by each other and by play around with likeminded friends!