Our Way of Working

The wide variety of Funny Wonders’ activities encourages involvement from all age-groups and abilities. By developing exciting and innovative projects that maintain the interest of children as they grow older, we have been able to work with young people and adults who would not have necessarily thought that puppetry was an age-appropriate activity for them.

The present Funny Wonders team includes young adults who have been involved in all sorts of projects from participating as children. A number have developed the skills to manage and lead workshops, as well as becoming Directors of our Community Interest Company.

Alongside exploring the many and varied aspects of puppet theatre, involvement in Funny Wonders activities develops many valuable life-skills. There is more to this puppetry lark than meets the eye!

Our first priority and major focus is on the ‘doing’ rather than the final product. We believe it is the spending time being creative which is worthwhile, not just what is produced. This means that our activities are for everybody, whatever the ability or skill level.

We believe every person has skills, experience and talents to offer. In all of us there are many dormant talents that need the right conditions to flourish. We encourage the sharing of skills: everyone can learn from everyone else. We like to allow space for originality, individuality and creativity and for participants to find their own levels and contribute in their own way.

We believe the best sense of community comes in the sharing of a common experience and that anything is possible. We like to run intergenerational workshops with different types of people to help break down social barriers and create new friendships.

Nori Sawa’s performances were always one of the high points of the Buxton Puppet Festival with one character becoming a local hero – the lovesick Cat Fish. His performances ranged from outrageous slap-stick to exquisite poetry and back again. This made him the perfect workshop leader for Funny Wonders. He helped to establish a way of working that became the funniest way of wondering and generated many excellent pieces of puppet theatre. Each project starts with an experimental exploration of the subject where ideas from all sorts of places are welcomed.

We actively encourage participants to make decisions. Our Youth Group activities were youth-led to provide young people with experience of all the different aspects of projects including fundraising, project design, team meetings and evaluation. In particular, we like to develop ideas and brain storm together where everything is considered and everyone can contribute and participate.

Continuity is important and time and patience are needed to gain trust and confidence. For this reason, we like to run long-term projects so participants have a chance at getting something considerable out of them.


Our Aims

As a community arts organisation, we aim to:

  • provide activities for all ages and abilities which benefit our community

  • bring a “spirit of simple enjoyment”, provide an opportunity for laughter, time to talk and time to listen.

  • create a safe, supportive environment with everyone meeting on equal terms where participants feel they can ‘have a go’ and contribute in their own way.

  • give every participant a role to give them an identity and sense of purpose. It is vital that participants have a choice and partake in an activity they want to do.

  • bring fun, colour and enthusiasm to all of our activities and aim to develop confidence, humour and excitement.

As a Community Interest Company, our aims are to also:

  • create a permanent centre of excellence in Buxton for the delivery of a programme of
    inclusive puppetry, creative performance and enterprise activity.

  • build links with other puppetry companies, both here and abroad, to expand the range of our work.

  • provide activities particularly for young people who are or feel they have been excluded from mainstream society providing an opportunity for personal development and mentoring, including peermentoring

  • provide creative and development opportunities and paid work for early-career artists