"Breathing Life into the Fuzz
- No Strings Attached"

You’ll be a Muppet to Miss It!

Meet The Team

Jess Parker-Hewitt

Founder & Director

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

Her journey with Avenue Q and Puppetry began in 2014, where she was trained and mentored by Nigel Plaskitt, and 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 & Ireland Tour.

Jess has worked as a Resident Director, Associate Director and Associate Choreographer in the Theatre Industry, on shows such as ‘SIX’, ‘JERSEY BOYS’, ‘20th CENTURY BOY’, ‘WIZARD OF OZ’ – as well as Puppet Director and Consultant for various productions.

With her years of Puppeteering experience, and utilising her many years Teaching, Directing, and Performing, Jess has created her own syllabus for the art form and along with Parker Puppetry’s expertly trained Puppeteachers, is proud to be spreading the joy of Hand & Rod Puppetry in the UK and globally.

“‘Parker Puppetry’ was born in the lockdown of 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.

The recent pandemic 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.

I am proud to take my Puppeteering expertise, and to be training the future generations of Puppeteers, in addition to those who work with Puppets in their everyday lives.

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

“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

Just had a fabulous weekend of workshops with Stephen. The sessions were informative, good fun, and a great creative outlet. So much was crammed into the sessions, it felt like no time at all. We really got our money's worth. I would definitely recommend this group. 10/10. Thank you Stephen and everyone at Parker Puppetry.

DAVID HERZOG – STUDENT

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). 

“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)

Elliot Coombe

Puppeteacher

Elliot is originally from Cornwall and trained in Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Elliot’s puppetry journey began at a very young age performing puppet shows for family members, at school fetes and to anyone that would give him their attention!

Fast forward to 2020 when the world was in lockdown and live entertainment was non-existent, Elliot had the idea of making handmade rod puppets for those starting out in their puppetry journey and so ‘What The Fuzz Puppets’ was born! In doing so
Elliot crossed paths with Jess and has provided 30 What The Fuzz Puppets for Parker Puppetry workshops, as well as sending over 100 puppets all around the world, something he is incredibly proud of.

Having taken part in Parker Puppetry courses himself, Elliot used 2020 to enhance his puppetry skills and with his puppet Milo, has gone on to master the world of TikTok to create a page that promotes positivity and feel good fun!

As an actor Elliot is currently part of the world’s longest running show, Agatha Christie’s ‘THE MOUSETRAP’ in London’s West End.

“I am so excited to be joining Parker Puppetry and helping to spread puppet joy and knowledge near and far! I firmly believe puppetry is for everyone. The confidence, support and happiness puppets and learning how to puppeteer brings is immeasurable. Whenever you introduce someone to a puppet, regardless of age, the first thing they do is smile and their eyes just light up! Puppetry is unlike any other art form and one that deserves to continue to be celebrated far and wide!” – Elliot Coombe

Parker Puppetry offers you such an enjoyable experience. I’ve always loved puppets and wanted to learn more. Their Hand & Rod Puppetry online course is so informative, teaches you so much and gives you much more confidence in your puppetry. Each class focused on a different aspect and it culminated in a brilliant performance session. I’m really sad it’s over but I’m going to use all of the skills they taught me. Thank you so much for such a brilliant course and I would highly recommend everyone to give it a go!”

ANTHONY HAIGH – STUDENT

Lee Thompson

Puppeteacher (Green Screen Puppeteer & Filming Specialist)

Lee Thompson is an award winning professional Puppeteer who regularly produces work from his home studio for clients all around the world.

In the last 12 months alone Lee has completed projects in New Zealand, India, Thailand, Iran and across the United States.

Lee brings over 20 years of puppetry experience to Parker Puppetry and is not only skilled in puppetry, but also produces and edits his own videos.

These video creation techniques are what he teaches to the students here at Parker Puppetry.

‘Puppetry has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Bringing inanimate objects to life to entertain others and tell stories is something I truly enjoy. During my puppetry career I’ve always tried to create the most subtle and engaging work, using emotion and empathy to connect with my audience.

With the evolution and progress of social media sites it’s now much easier to share your talents and art with a captive audience. Mobile phones, computers and readily available technology now allows us to create professional looking content relatively easily. I’m keen to help Parker Puppetry students utilise green screens and clever editing techniques to stand out from the crowd. I want everyone to be proud of the puppet videos that they create and I can teach the magic to help you get there.’ – Lee Thompson

 

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.