"Breathing Life into the Fuzz
- No Strings Attached"

You’ll be a Muppet to Miss It!

Meet The Team

Jess Parker

Founder & Director

Jess trained at ArtsEd graduating with 1st Class BA (HONS) in Musical Theatre. As a performer, her credits cover numerous Wests End, UK and International tours – including ‘KISS ME KATE‘, ‘EVITA‘, ‘SEUSSICAL‘ and ‘AVENUE Q‘.

Most recently, Jess has been working as a Creative Associate and Resident Director for various productions and companies, including ‘JERSEY BOYS’, ‘SIX’, ‘20TH CENTURY BOY’, ‘WIZARD OF OZ’, and is currently the Associate Director for the UK Tour of ‘AVENUE Q’.

Her journey with Avenue Q and Puppetry began in 2014, where she played the roles of 2nd Arm/Bad Idea Bear/Mrs T, understudied and played the roles of Kate Monster/Lucy. She became on-stage Resident Director of the show in 2015-2017, and most recently Associate Director for the 2019/2020 UK Tour.

“‘Parker Puppetry’ was born in 2020, from a passion for Puppetry, Acting, Directing and Teaching for so many years.. and the desire to make learning this amazing skill accessible for anyone who enjoys any of those disciplines. COVID-19 has taught us that we are so adaptable to anything life throws at us, and learning online has become a great new normal. Teaching can now be delivered all around the world to anyone and everyone, and that is so exciting. So many Theatre, Television and Film productions are requiring Puppetry as a skill, not to mention just how much fun and joy it brings!

Learning any new skill can be daunting, but the results and sense of achievement that is felt is magical.”– Jess Parker

“I would absolutely recommend them to anyone wanting to learn muppet-style puppetry. Jess is a brilliant teacher and puppeteer, she gives crystal-clear and incredibly helpful feedback and creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere to learn in. The workshops are really well structured and each time I've gone away with loads to think about and practise. Thank you Jess!"

SIMON HEAFIELD

Stephen Arden

Puppeteacher (Live hand, rod, glove, table top, mascot)

Stephen is from Glasgow and trained at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he now tutors; specialising in musical theatre. He co-designed the pilot year for the Musical Theatre strand of TheJunior Conservatoire of Drama at RCS and specialises in creating original pieces of drama with young performers at various arts schools in Scotland.

Stephens was Associate Director for Spamalot International tour and has performed in Sweeney Todd, and Avenue Q, where he became a professional Puppeteer. His role in Avenue Q as Nicky/Trekkie and Bad Idea Bear involved learning the skill of Live Hand and Rod Puppetry. This was learning curve like no other especially since hand and glove can require perfect synchronicity with another performer. Though under the guidance of Nigel Plaskitt (The Muppets, Spitting Image) He mastered this skill to perform these well-known characters to audiences all over the UK.

Stephen has provided movement and puppet direction for Bard in the Botanics’ production of hamlet, focussing on Table Top & Glove Puppetry and The Byre Theatres ‘Morag’ a Full Body ‘Mascot-Style’ Puppet operated by two performers. He is part of the creative team for pantomime at The Byre and annually works with their young cast of performers to reach a seamless integration with a professional cast of actors for each production.

“Teaching puppetry is a wonderful way to tell a story and engage your audience. Combining acting, song, dance, voice work and puppetry is tough! It develops coordination skills, motor skills, creativity and takes stagecraft to a different level. I find that students are inspired when they create a character from scratch. This can be useful in bringing shy performers out of their shell and for those that are adept at the performance it encourages collaborative storytelling in away where the spotlight isn’t on them. Students are never short of laughs and fun and it’s a new skill that will push you physically and artistically.” – Stephen Arden

“ I use a lot of puppets in my toddler and baby classes and can not recommend this workshop enough. I have learnt so much in an hour (although it felt like 10 minutes because I was having so much fun). So informative, and practical. The best puppetry workshop I’ve done so far! Thank you Jess!”

ABI CAMERON (HARTBEEPS)

Cecily Redman

Puppeteacher (Live Hand, Rod)

Cecily graduated from The Royal Academy of Music with an MA and DipRAM in Musical Theatre with Distinction, and began her training at The Birmingham Conservatoire graduating with a 1st Class BMus (Hons) in Vocal and Operatic Performance. 

Cecily is predominantly an actress and singing teacher, most recently performing the roles of Kate/Lucy in the 2019 UK Tour of ‘AVENUE Q’.

In July 2017 Cecily was the first musical theatre student to win the prestigious Spotlight Prize for Best Stage Actor and you can watch her winning performance on YouTube. 

Cecily has been working in theatre schools across the country for many years and has recently ventured into giving puppetry workshops for a variety of ages. She is extremely excited to begin bringing her knowledge on Live-Hand and Rod Puppetry gained during her time on ‘Avenue Q’ to budding new Jim Henson’s! 

‘The skills gained from Puppetry go way beyond operating a piece of felt. There is an immense amount of concentration, dedication and determination required to bring these fluffy friends to life. I find it fascinating to watch new characters come to life as a puppeteer hones their craft; it is an experience like no other.’ – Cecily Redman

Performing Credits include:

Tiffany Trump in A Brief History of Trump (Workshop); Kate/Lucy in Avenue Q (2019 UK Tour); Voice Over Opera Singer in Napolina – Mio Tesoro(Commerical); Abby in The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) (Above The Stag); Louisa in The Lightning Road (The Actor’s Church); Hazel in Free Solo(The Drayton Arms); Chorus in A Celebration of the MGM Film Musicals (John Wilson Orchestra Tour).

“Took part in an amazing online puppet workshop with Jess! It was really interesting and fun to learn a new skill (excellently taught by Jess) that will definitely help me in my future career. Can't wait for the next one!”

MADDIE HOPE COELHO

Our Patron

Nigel Plaskitt

Nigel is an Actor, Puppeteer, Producer, and stage and Television Director, and has over 40 years experience in the business.

He has extensively worked for The Jim Henson Company and Disney in LABYRINTH, THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and THE MUPPETS MOST WANTED, as well as MOPATOP’S SHOP, THE SECRET LIFE OF TOYS, and various other programmes. 

Nigel has worked for all the major UK TV companies, performing in productions such as PIPKINS (9years) and for thirteen years he was one of the principal performers on Central Televisions SPITTING IMAGE, also acting as consultant on versions of the series for various European TV companies. 

He has also worked on three series of Carlton Televisions THE SPOOKS OF BOTTLE BAY, three series of Yorkshire Televisions ROUND THE BEND, THE TREE HOUSE for Channel 4, FUN FACTORY for Sky TV, UP THE POLE a pilot children’s project for Channel 4, DIGGER AND SPLAT a series of videos for Marshall Cavendish and two series of the Bafta winning ROGER AND THE ROTTEN TROLLS for CITV. He played Doctor O in CLEVER CREATURES for BBC TV and he co-ordinated and performed for the BBC’s children’s TV promo FUTURE GENERATIONS. He worked on several series of HOT DOG for Thames Television, and played Moose in COMBAT SHEEP for BBCTV/TCC/Baby Cow, and Ripley in the BAFTA award winning RIPLEY & SCUFF for CITV/TCC.