PotatoRoom productions

created by Gavin Glover formerly from FaultyOptic Theatre of Animation



Beauty and the Beast

The 1st December will be the start of Norwich Puppet Theatre’s 35th year and to celebrate they have
produced a spectacular new production for Christmas. Beauty and the Beast, directed by Gavin Glover, will be on show from 20 December 2014 - 17 January 2015.

In true Norwich Puppet Theatre style the show takes a fresh look at the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast. The story is a fun packed caper set in the iconic 1920s and 30s movie era. The story starts in the desert where the young heroine Belle is panning for gold with her frugal father. She is discovered by a greedy film producer who plucks her from a life of poverty with promises of fame and fortune in the movies. Caught up in the glitz and glamour, Beauty forgets her roots and is ensnared by a world obsessed with good looks - but looks aren’t everything, right?!

Directed by Gavin Glover, co-founder of the groundbreaking FaultyOptic Theatre of Animation and now
director of PotatoRoom Productions, the show fuses traditional rod marionettes with physical performance, film and an original musical score by composer Hannah Marshall.

A leading team of international theatre makers and performers have created the show specifically for the Theatre’s main auditorium. The show will use the Theatre’s marionette bridge for the first time in over 20 years. The bridge was a key feature in early productions using long string puppets and the Theatre is one of only three venues nationally to have one.

Joy Haynes, director of Norwich Puppet Theatre said “The production uses our unique theatre space and marionette bridge celebrating the history and distinctiveness of our building and introducing audiences to a traditional art-form within a new and dynamic context.”

Entertaining, fun and visually spectacular the show is designed to be enjoyed across the generations, for audiences aged 5 - 95.


Click here for TRAILER



Josh Elwell
Sian Kidd
Gretchen Maynard-Hahn
Jonny Storey



Director/designer: Gavin Glover
Producer: Joy Haynes
Writer/dramaturg: Tilly Lunken
Composer: Hannah Marshall
Production Manager: Tim Tracey
Puppet makers: Jan Zalud and Gretchen Maynard-Hahn
Costume and design: Mark Mander


The first Tele-Vision
commentator ?


Just checking for any imperfections..

That darn horse

flying to the future

you could be beautiful..

the team



Towerbabel review:

An Alternative Christmas Show: Beauty and the Beast at Norwich Puppet Theatre

Posted by Georgina Parfitt on December 10th, 2014

Puppet theatres are rare treasures in the theatre community. I’ve only met two so far, the Little Angel Theatre in London, and the Norwich Puppet Theatre, stowed away off-centre in my home town.

They are small, intimate, woody and crafty spaces. There is spontaneity about evenings at the puppet theatre that allows belief to be suspended and new things to be found in old stories.

The Norwich Puppet Theatre is particularly magical at holiday time, and for the premiere of its new Christmas show, Beauty and the Beast, it’s packed with wrapped-up visitors, puppeteers, friends and family of the show. Mince pies and mulled wine. Puppets hanging, as usual, from the rafters, but somehow more festive tonight, their wooden cheeks almost ruddy. I have been invited by Rosemarie Gibaud, who was part of the original Pelham Puppet factory team in the 1940’s. At over 90 years of age, Rosemarie shows how the puppet theatre brings the whole theatre community together. As the show starts, she giggles along with the children and other audience members, watching the horse clop onto stage, gazing calmly around at us.

Cast of Beauty and the Beast, Image by Denise Bradley
This winter, the Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Christmas show is its own take on Beauty and the Beast. Almost completely unrecognizable from the Disney story from my childhood, this spectacular is set in 1930’s America. Belle, her father, and the family horse, with little to their name, are wandering the desert when they happen upon a mysterious vulture, who leads them to a haunted abode, where devilishly stylish Hollywood producer Merrill is waiting and eager to turn Belle into a star. But stardom is much… stranger than Belle anticipated.

The puppeteers create a funny, musical, American energy. The characters are witty and snarky, adding a new buzz to the traditional tale. Not to mention, they’re beautifully carved, with vintage velvet and tulle Gatsby-esque costumes, and sparkling marble eyes that seem to engage directly and cheekily with the audience.

The set transforms beautifully, offering the audience myriad views and perspectives on the story. When Belle is taken to Hollywood a little plane whirrs onto the stage from above, and bobs away to the excited sounds of Belle and the leery gushing of Merrill. Later, when Belle is poked, prodded, and… enlarged, by Merrill’s make-up team, giant sets of tweezers and other torturous devices descend on the poor puppet. The company’s experiments with scale and guiding the audience’s eye really work, giving the show a sinister edge and a cinematic quality.

One of the most exciting things to me about this puppet theatre is its ability to give benevolent characters and family stories an exciting, original edge; it reminds us that even at Christmas, the innovative can join the traditional to make really provocative, imaginative storytelling.

You’ve tons of chances to catch this beautiful show, from December 23rd to January 17th. And it’s well worth the trip.