The Magic of Puppetry in Education

Welcome to our Education page which we nickname ‘MagPiE’ for the Magic of Puppetry in Education.

This page details the products and services we have available for schools and educational groups. This branch of our work aims to bring many different forms of puppetry into schools, help teachers discuss and address different issues and inspire creativity in young people. We specialise in shadow puppetry accompanied by live music, a style we have termed MiST (Music in Shadow Theatre) but we also offer gigante, table-top, glove and hand puppetry workshops. Each workshop is bespoke – please contact us to discuss your needs.

Creative learning is beneficial to children in many ways and can help address key themes of the National Curriculum in a direct or indirect way. We take a flexible approach in developing our workshops for each establishment and we will endeavour to meet your specific requirements. Each of our projects can be tailored to suit different Key Stages, age groups, class sizes, the time available and your agendas, syllabus or topics.

Development of our workshops was supported by the University of Derby Community Fund in 2017.

Adjacent/below is a video we made in 2011 to promote ourselves to schools and explain the work we do.

Our workshops are competitively priced. Costs vary depending upon material and travel costs. We promote re-use and recycling of materials for all of our puppet-making workshops and ask participants to help source making materials which also helps reduce the costs of the workshops.

Below is further information regarding individual products and specific projects. For more information, to ask a question or to discuss your ideas please do not hesitate in contacting us through the website or email

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1

Introduction to Puppetry

For those aged 4-7 years, we offer an interactive, Q&A-style demonstration introducing different aspects of puppetry including: its history, definition and uses; an explanation of the different types of puppets and their popularity in different parts of the world; an introduction to performance, characterisation and emotional expression; development of hand movement, dexterity and control; having a go at performing; and the chance to ask us questions.
1 hour

Shadow Puppet-Making Workshop

Workshop making simple shadow puppets using templates with the opportunity to perform in a pop-up theatre.
1-2 hours

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 2

For those aged 8-11, we offer a range of shadow puppet theatre workshops. Shadow puppetry is an accessible artform requiring only basic skills such as drawing, cutting and sticking and provides additional opportunities for creative experimentation, music, creating soundscapes and vocal acting.

Introduction to Shadow Puppetry

An interactive, Q&A-style demonstration introducing the pupils to different aspects of shadow puppetry including: theory and staging, properties of light, colour and shadow, materials, transparency and texture, focus, puppet characteristics, projection through solids and liquids and performance techniques. It includes a performance of a short, shadow theatre show and provides an opportunity for the pupils to have a go and ask questions. Perfect it you plan to create your own show.
2 hours

Shadow Puppet Theatre Workshop

A workshop where the pupils, working in small groups, write, design, make, rehearse and perform their own shadow puppet theatre show with live musical accompaniment. We will guide them through the various stages introducing key aspects and effects through the day. The workshop can be on any theme you wish the students to explore; for example, historical events or people, environments and ecosystems, different countries and cultures, literature, scientific discovery or their own creative writing.
full day

Thank you Funny Wonders. We had a fabulous day!

Hollinsclough Primary School

Key Stage 3/4

Key Stage 3/4

For those aged 11-18, we offer a range of presentations and workshops for a range of subjects. Below is a brief summary: please contact us for more detailed information. Although they have been split into different subjects, there is cross-over and workshops can be tailor-made to requirements to suit any combination.

Workshops can be delivered over one or two days or throughout a term, depending upon availability and the timeline of the project. They involve students working in small groups and culminate in a performance. A separate introduction prior to the workshop day may be appropriate if combined with a coursework-related or group research project and a separate performance event can be arranged if you want the students to perform live to an audience. Alternatively, performances can be filmed and a project film created.

Shadow puppet workshops are used for more action-driven, visual topics; glove puppet workshops for more speech-driven, conversational topics; and other 3D puppets (gigante, rod, marionette, animatronic etc) for more technical, skill-development workshops.

If facilities are available, live performances can be exchanged with film-production workshops, recording their shows (puppetry, narration/dialogue, music/sound effects) in separate parts and editing them together. This can be achieved with smart phones/video cameras and basic editing software. Whilst extending the process and the length of the workshop it adds another layer to the experience, their skill development and incorporates more current technologies.

We can also arrange a ‘Rock Band‘ workshop with local musicians. 


Introduction to Puppetry

A presentation about the fundamentals of puppetry, the history of puppetry, introducing the different types of puppetry and their popularity around the world, and what puppetry looks like in the modern landscape of digital art.
1 hour

History of Puppetry

An introduction to the history, expansion and development of puppetry around the worldm focusing on its adaptation through Europe using Mr Punch as an example and study of the ‘comic fool’ character through time.
1 hour

Introduction to Shadow Puppetry

An interactive, Q&A-style demonstration introducing the pupils to different aspects of shadow puppetry and performance techniques. Perfect it you plan to create your own show.​
1 hour

Shadow Puppetry Workshops

Art & Design

Explore famous artists or artistic/architectural ages. Recreate images or styles in shadow


Explore the history of puppetry around the world, ancient civilisations, historical events, objects or people.


Create shows based on literatary texts, creative writing, debate, documentary or a news programme.


Explore evolution, habitats and ecosystems, biotic or abiotic cycles or the history of scientific discoveries and inventions.

Worldwide Studies

Explore architecture, landscapes, culture and customs of different countries.

Foreign Languages

Create shows performed in a foreign language based on the culture, historical events, people, literature, myths, legends or religion of associated countries.

Other Puppetry Workshops


Create large puppets operated by several people. They can be created for festivals, parades, school productions and other projects.


Make glove puppets and create skits based on comedy, interviews or ethics.


Create a stained-glass-effect window or layered shadow scene on a theme.


Make marionette puppets incorporating sculpture, papier-mache, painting, body-construction and costume-making.


Create puppets operated by the whole body or those that incorporate part of the human body. These work well with performance and dance projects.

Table Top

Create table-top puppets and animate them with dance routines.

Music Workshops

Recycled Instruments

Turn rubbish and junk into musical instruments. Learn about different materials and types of instruments. Build instruments and play music from other cultures such as traditional Brazilian and African rhythms.