The Barge
The Puppet Theatre Barge has been putting on a programme of unique and magical puppet shows on a converted Thames barge for over thirty years. The audience begin their journey as soon as they step onto the gangplank and climb aboard. They descend below the water line (wellingtons not necessary) and leave the real world behind. Puppets from other parts of the world hang from the walls in retirement. The theatre’s golden curtain is softly lit and banks of seats slope gently to the roof. A ship’s bell is rung, the audience falls silent in anticipation. Music plays, the lights dim, the theatre goes dark and finally the curtain rises to the delight of children and adults alike.
The Facilities
Don’t worry, the Puppet Theatre Barge is not an open-air theatre! It is an indoor venue, with raked seating for over fifty people, and refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit) served at the interval. We have central heating to warm you in the winter, fans to cool you during those rare hot summer days and even a toilet! The boat does not move during the performance and only rocks very gently if a large boat goes by.
Shows usually last for just over an hour, with an interval of around ten minutes half way through for refreshments. It is a proper theatre so the auditorium goes completely dark before the curtain goes up and the dramatic lighting is just like in a big theatre. We specialise in performances using long-string marionettes; a world of pure puppetry where the puppets are centrestage and the puppeteers (operating from above) are never seen. Our shows have no upper age limit, but we also put on a regular programme of productions aimed specifically at an adult audience.
Our aims
  • to promote live animation
  • to give the audience an experience of the imagination
  • to present new music and writing where and whenever possible
  • to ensure excellence in voice and music recordings
  • To be aware of:
    • the equal importance of every element within a presentation
    • the scale and perspective of light
    • the centre of gravity of the marionette
    • silence and space
"There is only one actor – nay one man who has the soul of the dramatic poet, and who has ever served as the true and loyal interpreter of the poet and this is the marionette.” Edward Gordon Craig