School workshops 

In addition to the Barge Theatre the company has an active educational policy which reaches large numbers of children every year, with its programme of work in schools.

The Project

The projects focus on one of the oldest forms of entertainment and communication, playmaking. Using shadow puppetry as a medium, puppeteers work with one class for a whole day. 

Shadow Puppets drawing of a fish childrens workshop

The children are shown how to make the puppets and set them in scenes depicting their own stories which they create in collaboration with each other.

WRITE - a short script with a story line and invent characters for the play.
BUILD - construct the shadow puppet characters required for the play.
PERFORM - rehearse and perform the devised script.

Children are free to choose their own themes for their plays but if you are working on any particular topics which you would like to include, please let us know. We hope that both the drama and puppet-making activities will encourage the children's imagination and creative input to be freely expressed, drawing on their own experiences and culture.

We always look forward to screens filled with fantastical figures from legends, myths and fairy tales or current day characters and everyday events.


To introduce pupils to the art of shadow puppet theatre.
The use of shadow puppets and a practical puppet making/performance session
To cover important parts of the National Curriculum, Key Stages 1 and 2:
English Listening and speaking and communicating ideas Preparing a play script.
Design & Technology - designing and building
Science - Light and shadow
To provide opportunities to extend and support the children taking part whatever their level of experience.

Workshop Structure

The workshop starts with a demonstration of historical puppets from around the world and the principles that enable the shadows to be produced from them. This is followed by a discussion about tools and materials for puppet making. Pupils are invited to choose from a selection shown them, which they consider to be most appropriate. Issues such as safety and correct use are covered. The aim is to allow pupils to make their own decisions within the process of making and devising a show. Pupils are then able to make their own shadow puppets, choosing from a variety of materials provided.


By allowing pupils to create their own shadow figures they gain both satisfaction and self esteem. The workshop develops manual skills in 'co-ordination and control' and an understanding of the principles of light. Individual ideas are encouraged, however groups will be able to choose a theme at this point, to facilitate a class performance at the end of the session, the preparation of which helps to 'develop and communicate ideas'.

Technical needs

The performance area requires floor space measuring 2.5m wide by 2.5m deep by 2.5m high.
One 13 amp socket.
The space is needed for 60 minutes prior to the workshop start and for 45 minutes to strike after its end. A parking facility is necessary with access to load and unload as close to the workshop space as possible. to facilitate a successful theatrical experience we recommend that the space used has a blackout


78 Middleton Road, London E8 4BP
44(0)20 7249 6876