New season: Norwich Puppet Theatre

David Banks The spring programme at Norwich Puppet Theatre - the ever-popular venue based in the former St James' Church in Barrack Street - brings together puppetry from Germany, Spain and Slovenia and the UK, with a mixture of styles from traditional marionettes through to live digital projections and to suit all ages from 18 months to full-grown.

David Banks

The spring programme at Norwich Puppet Theatre - the ever-popular venue based in the former St James' Church in Barrack Street - brings together puppetry from Germany, Spain and Slovenia and the UK, with a mixture of styles from traditional marionettes through to live digital projections and to suit all ages from 18 months to full-grown.

Throughout the programme are a range of children's puppet making workshops (plus one for adults on March 1) each session lasts 90 minutes and with all materials provided and expert guidance the children will have a puppet to take home with them.

Each session has a theme, but it's up to the maker to decide on the character and costume of the puppet.

For adults, there's an all-day session which gives plenty of time to give full rein to your creativity.

Evening performances for adults and families with older children are a feature of the programme with shows on January 26, February 16 and April 4.

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First to take the stage (January 26, 7.30pm) is Houdini's Suitcase by Pickled Image - one of the UK's most innovative puppet companies. Inside the great escapologist's suitcase memories blur and change like dust in a breeze and a macabre carnival of strangely beautiful characters begins. Suitable for 12s and over. Adults £12, concs £9.

On February 9 (2.30pm) and 11/12 (11am, 2.30pm) Spanish company Gar Teatro present Hey! Wait for Me, a gentle play especially created for the very young. In the story an eagle scares a group of migratory ducks, leaving a young duckling behind in the salt marsh. It's suitable for ages 18 months to four years.

There's a morning show on February 11 (10.30am) when Norwich Puppet Theatre presents Bug Puppet Workshop. Look around you and you will see bugs and insects of all shapes and sizes - from beetles to butterflies and earwigs to moths. Create a bug puppet of your own - as natural or fantastic as you wish. Ages five and over.

On February 12 at the same time there's a Shadowplay Workshop. Shadow puppetry is one of the oldest forms of puppet theatre in the and in this session you will make a simple shadow puppet and learn how to change scale and effects with it. After 90 minutes of making and playing you should have a puppet and some ideas to take home with you. Ages five and over.

The next day (10.30am) the Seaworld Puppet Workshop looks at the oceans of our world from seahorses to octopuses and dolphins to whales. Again, you can take your creation home. All materials are provided and the session lasts 90 minutes. Ages five and over.

With the support of the Goethe-Institut the theatre presents a celebration of German puppet theatre featuring three companies with performances for children, families and adults.

On February 14 (2.30pm) Seebühne Hiddensee presents Treasure Island. When young Jim Hawkins finds an old captain's treasure map, his life becomes a high adventure. He stows aboard the Hispaniola as a cabin boy and sets off to find the buried treasure. Ages six and over.

The same company presents The Cricket on February 15 (11am) and tells of a famous cricket performing to an audience of enthusiastic admirers. But wait to see what happens next. Ages three and over.

At 2.30pm Theater Handgemenge presents A King's Journey, set in a country where everyone wears watering cans and umbrellas. The country also has a king, who has never left his castle until one day the tower falls apart, the king tumbles down through the earth to the other side. Ages five and over.

On February 16 (11am) Seebühne Hiddensee presents children's favourite Red Riding Hood. The hunter tells the story of little Red Riding Hood who meets a wolf on her way through the forest to visit her grandmother. Played out with traditional German marionette puppets accompanied by music, this is a story made for the whole family. Ages three and over.

It's 16s and over on February 16 (7.30pm) when Iris Meinhardt presents Intimitaten. Dance, live images and recordings interlock as the inner life of the actress becomes a surreal space. Adults £12, concs £9.

March kicks off at 10.30am with an all-day adults' (16 and over) puppet making workshop, a chance for adults to explore their creative side and spend time to paper sculpt the head, create hands and costume a puppet. All materials are provided. Day session (10.30am-4pm - £25).

On March 8 (10.30am) there's a Bird Marionette Workshop. For ages five and over it uses string, beads, tissue to create a colourful puppet with beaded neck and legs. Session lasts one and a half hours.

Also for fives and over on March 25 (10.30am) a Table Top Rod Puppet Workshop is a one and a half hour session with materials provided - and you have a puppet to take home with you at the end.

Two days later (10.30am) at the Marionette Figure Workshop you can make a classic string puppet supported by a single bar. It's another one and a half hour session all materials provided. Ages five and over.

Also for fives and over, an Animal String Puppet Workshop takes place on March 28 (10.30am) and there's a Walking Hand Puppets Workshop on March 31 at the same time. Both sessions last for 90 minutes and material are provided.

At 2.30pm on March 31 and on April 4 (7.30pm) and April 5 (2.30pm) Lutkovno Gledalische Ljubjana, Slovenia, has a production of Swan Lake. With wooden figures and music for violin and flute and performed live, a modern puppet ballet comes to life. Ages four and over.

On April 3 (10.30am) there's a Dragon Puppet Workshop and on April 19 at the same time a Double Rod Animal Puppet Making Workshop. Both sessions last one and a half hours are suitable for ages five and over and materials are provided.

t Ticket prices (unless otherwise indicated) Adults £6.50, children £4.50, concs £5, Go4Less children £3, workshops: children £7. Box office 01603 629921; www.puppettheatre.co.uk.