Celebrities create puppets to help support Norwich theatre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:09 14 October 2015

Norwich Puppet Theatre celebrity puppet auction. Left, Professor Suzie Hanna and Kerry Leathley with puppets by, left to right, Lucy Duckers, Michael Rosen, Maureen Lipman and Polly Dunbar.

Norwich Puppet Theatre celebrity puppet auction. Left, Professor Suzie Hanna and Kerry Leathley with puppets by, left to right, Lucy Duckers, Michael Rosen, Maureen Lipman and Polly Dunbar. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

From actress Maureen Lipman to former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and artist Colin Self – an array of famous names has been busy creating some special puppets to raise funds for a Norwich theatre.

Who has provided a puppet for the auction so far?

Actors and comedians:

Tom Conti

Anita Dobson

Jenny Eclair

Neil Innes

Maureen Lipman

Gwen Taylor

Toyah Willcox


Joyce Dunbar

Vicki Feaver

Martin Figura

John Hegley

Helen Ivory

Graham Linehan

Michael Rosen


Lucy Ducker

Polly Dunbar

Ella Goodwin

Clare Melinsky


Liam Clark

Douglas Farthing

Prof Suzie Hanna

Maggi Hambling

Ruth Knapp

Martin Laurance

Colin Self

Will Teather

About 25 quirky characters – made by a mix of celebrities and artists – have been sent to Norwich Puppet Theatre ready for a celebrity puppet auction on November 25.

And the hope is that they will be joined by many more by the time they go under the hammer next month.

The event is one of the ways Norwich Puppet Theatre is marking its 35th anniversary and it follows on from a previous auction of celebrity puppets five years ago that raised £7,200 for the venue.

Professor Suzie Hanna, who is leading the project with Debbie-Lee Pinching and Leila Telford, described it as a special celebration that would raise funds and awareness for the theatre while also being lots of fun.

She said they had been delighted by the puppets they have received so far and really appreciated the support of everyone who had replied to their requests for puppets. “This year we have got some A-list celebrities who have designed puppets, we have also looked at young artists who we believe are collectible. There’s a lot of emphasis on artists as well as celebrities,” she said.

“It is a great mixture. We just think the event itself will be enormous fun and we hope lots of people will buy tickets and come along.”

She said the money raised would be used to support the theatre’s work within the local community and schools.

She said: “It will be used to focus on our outreach work and to promote our own shows, including Rumpelstiltskin, our Christmas show which will tour in the spring.”

Ahead of the auction, all of the puppets will be on display at Mandells Gallery, in Elm Hill, for a week in November.

The Celebrity Puppet Auction - which will be run by Elizabeth Talbot from TW Gaze - will be at Norwich Puppet Theatre on Wednesday, November 25. Doors open at 6.30pm and the auction starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £15. To book visit or call the box office on 01603 629921

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at


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