Thursday, 25 September 2014

Looking Back, Moving Forward.

Dear friends, colleagues and punters.

The point of this blog is to give a short, fun and informative snapshot of my professional life, experience and ongoing projects. In other words - Shameless Self Promotion.


I have been working as a theater professional for more than 20 years - the first decade mostly as a dancer and the second mostly as a puppeteer and theater maker/director.

You lookin at me?
Born in 1970 in London, England, I trained as a dancer and graduated from The London Contemporary Dance School in 1993. After working on one project with Carlson Dance Company , I moved to The Netherlands, where I worked as a freelance dancer on more than 30 professional dance projects, performing on stage more than 500 times. By 2003 I had the reputation in the dance scene as someone who could quickly learn roles of dancers who were injured or unavailable to go on tour, so when I was asked to take over a role and go on tour with a puppet show, I soon found myself on stage performing as a professional puppeteer.

In 2006 I made my first puppet and developed the solo show STAN, which has played in theaters and festivals around the world, from Bolivia to Slovenia, Belarus to Capo Verde, winning the hearts of critics and audiences, and continues to thrill the public wherever it plays. (The link to the whole show of STAN is password protected. Please email me to request the password.)

In 2009 I developed my second solo show, Mr Magic, which also continues to enchant audience's the world over.

Since 2010, I have made the puppets for a number of Duda Paiva's performances, including Bastard! , Detox The Dummy for the Estonian Puppet Theater, and Bestiaires, as well as making the sound score/music for his first solo Angel .

In 2012 I became fascinated with The Theater Of The Absurd, and had the opportunity to make a radically new puppet show for an adult audience at the Estonian State Puppet Theater. The show was called STICKY.Inspired by absurdist theater I abandoned character and narrative and dived into the attempt to make theater which spoke about essential human experience. This was a new direction for me, and partly thanks to the wonderful actors I had the pleasure to work with, I made some important steps and learned a lot.


In June of 2014 I had the chance to further develop this kind of theater when I made a short solo for Klub X in Amsterdam called Absolutely Anything.

The smaller scale hand puppets pictured here represent another shift in direction, and an entirely new way of making puppets. The puppets for STAN, Mr Magic and the many productions of Duda Paiva were made by sculpting and cutting large blocks of foam rubber. This is by no means a method I have turned my back on, yet for now I am excited to experiment and develop a new way of making puppets.
In the short term, I will use these puppets for a series of to-camera monologues that will form a soon-to-be-created YouTube channel.

Beyond that, I am already developing content for a new children's show called Spooky Mansion which if all goes to plan should be playing in a festival near you in 2015.

As always, the latest news, dates and developments can be found at Scallywag Theater.

Please leave comments and questions in the Comments space below, or contact me directly to my email address.

All images copyright Jim Barnard 2014


  1. Dear Mr. Barnard,

    I am writing to you from the German TV show “Die Puppenstars”, a show for puppeteers of all ages and nationalities. Following a successful first season we are now again looking for extraordinary artists to present their craft to a large TV audience. You can find some information on the show here, though it is in German:

    You can watch a short trailer here to get an idea of the show:

    Here are important dates regarding the show:
    26 & 27 August (Cologne, ½ day), Personal Meeting
    1 & 2 September (Berlin, ½ day), Personal Meeting
    4-7 October (Berlin, 1 Tag), Workshop mit Gesprächen und Puppenspielcoach
    14 November-6 December Recording of the 4 shows in Cologne (I do not have exact dates for the recordings of the shows in this time period yet)

    Our production will pay for travel and accommodation costs beginning with the Workshop in Berlin.
    We cannot, unfortunately pay the costs for the first round / personal meeting in Cologne or Berlin. If, however, the presentation of the performance is already so convincing (as a video via email) that we can envision seeing it in the show, artists can skip the personal meeting and come directly to the workshop where we pay for all costs. Every artists or group needs two three-minute performances: One for one of the three shows and a different one to present in a possible final. The winner of the show receives 50,000 €, 25,000 € for second, 10,000 € for third place.

    We are currently still in the process of receiving applications for the show. Many artists apply, some we contact directly, hoping for their interest in the show. Your registration is non-binding. If you decide to withdraw your registration, we will delete your information. The registration is also non-binding for us: We cannot give any guarantees you will participate in the show. The final decision on the participation for the show is made by the TV station RTL.
    This is the link if you wish to register for „Die Puppenstars“:

    I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions.

    Kind regards,


    Konstantin Peiper
    Talpa Germany
    Tel.: +49 30 81 492 133
    Fax.: +49 30 81 492 199
    Talpa Germany GmbH & Co. KG
    Büro Berlin
    Genthiner Str. 5
    10785 Berlin
    Talpa Germany GmbH & Co. KG
    Jenfelder Allee 80
    22039 Hamburg
    AG Hamburg: HRA 95323
    UID: DE 213 00 60 86
    Talpa Germany Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH
    AG Hamburg HRB 69565