Frequently Asked Questions (Schools)
When are you available?
Every day of the school year.
How much does it cost?
A list of fees including travel is available here
How do we make
Contact me by
email or text, or phone. Here are my contact details
Once we have agreed
a details, I will send my ‘confirmation of booking’.
is the difference between a 'big show' and a 'small show'
shows are designed to play to a hall for of children (up to 150).
are designed to play to a class-sized group in a classroom space (or in the hall).
If you have a nursery group, a small show will be the show for you.
If you have more than one class of children and they are Year 1 or older than you will definately want the big show.
If you are booking a show for a Reception class you will want
a small show. If you are booking for more than one reception class you can choose between one big show or several small
shows. That depends on the type of experience you want
Although usually for
a single class , it is possible to perform the small show for up to 60 children at a time, if required. This happens
frequently when working in Foundation, where a reception class may be combined with morning or afternoon nursery.
Do you have
a current DBS check?
DBS checks are not required for visiting
puppet shows and asking for a check where not required is against the law.
Will you need a deposit?
How do we pay?
Through your normal system. I will send an invoice
(terms of 28 days.) Most schools pay by Bank Transfer (BACS) Cheque is also fine.
Can we pay in cash?
Of course. Where the money has been directly collected from Children/Parents,
I have been asked this .
If we book a lot of shows or workshops are
Yes. I put all my fees clearly on this website (here). It is not possible to list every variation, but I do discount for blocks of work.
Does the fact that you are VAT registered mean that you are more expensive ?
No. The invoice you receive will include VAT as applicable . The vast majority of schools (with the exception
of some private schools) will simply claim the VAT element back.
There are certain circumstances where VAT may
not be applicable.
Note: If you have a VAT invoice
from me it is in your own interests to pay from an account on which you can claim the VAT back. This is often not the
case with PTA or 'Friends of' funds.
do you need when you arrive?
A welcoming smile and parking with the best access to the performance space.
What do you need for the show?
I am self-contained in
terms of lighting and sound. Blackout is useful but not required.
do require the attention of the staff who are in the space during a performance. Please do not bring other work into
the space such as cutting or sticking , or marking. It is good for the children to see that everybody is respecting
the performance. I regard it as a absolute condition of the
booking that there is a single activity in the space and that is watching the puppet show.
workshops I bring all materials tools and equipment. All we need is a space with tables.
What are the best times for shows?
I work to standard times, but can be flexible.
Standard times: 9.30 –10.15,10.30 – 11.15 and 1.30 – 2.15. 2.30 – 3.15
Shows last 45 minutes
My flexibility may be limited by the travelling time to or from another booking.
How long does it take you to set up and pack
big shows I need 45 minutes to set up, and 30 mins to get clear of the space.
Small shows require hardly
any setting up time but I arrive 30 mins in advance to avoid any sense of last minute panic.
I am used to the the hall being used for dinners, and this doesn't usually present a problem.
The hall does not have to be completely clear for me to start setting up.
Do you need much space?
For big shows I only need an area the size of a parking space.
The small show can be performed in a classroom or nursery area, (This is usually preferable to being in
the hall). It takes up about the same space as small desk.
Can you perform outside?
but only with Punch and Judy. In my experience the children are usually more focussed when they are inside.
Can the children handle the puppets?
Yes, if you have booked a demonstration/workshop. I also usually involve children in getting close
to puppets as part of my Punch and Judy performances. For the other shows it is not usually appropriate. I
am always happen for blind or partially sighted children to handle puppets. If you are studying puppets, perhaps we
can find time for a few questions and a bit of showing of figures.
Can the children ask questions?
Of course - if we have time.
Why do you charge for travel?
Travel forms a significant part of my costs. I charge a flat fee according to authority as
this makes it easier to be clear up front. Travel fees are all listed here.
Can we book you for our school fete?
Yes. My fees for
weekend events are different from my school fees. Full details on the website
you work in Special Schools?
Yes. Over the years I have worked
in many special schools.
Do you offer Workshops?
Puppets and Shadow Stories are my usual ones. When I come in to do workshops, I can bring in a range of puppets to look at.
I have a great deal of experience in delivery extended workshops over several days or weeks .
With paper puppets I often do 'Pirates'. Shdow workshops can be themed to suit project work -
e.g. Fire of London, Greeks, Romans.
How long is a workshop?
shortest workshop that makes sense is half a day with one class. A whole day with a class is usual for me.
This works well with Paper Puppets. Sometimes I do shadow puppets over a number of days which include a performance
by the children. Sometimes we make shadow puppets and stories and then make a short film of our performance. This
can work very well with topic work - for example The Great Fire of London.
It is possible to do workshops and performance on the same day
Do you give talks alongside your performances?
try to avoid talking and just get on with doing them. You are paying me to demonstrate my professional skills as a peformer.
When I do Punch and Judy I do place it in context and include a bit of explanation.
best way is for me to take questions. If you are interested in this please arrange in advance so that we can allow
I do have an extensive range of
puppets and can include a demonstration of these as part of my workshop activities.
Do you mind if we take photos or video your performance?
No problem. All I ask it that you do this
sensitively. Please don't video long sections of shows, but just short clips. I have a range of images that you can download in the gallery section of
my website. I am more than happy for you to use andy images on this site for these for you display work (just right click
are your more expensive than some other performers?
a limited number of full time professionals working in schools. The best of us tend to have very similar fees. If
you find someone quoting fees significantly below the going rate, you should be questioning whether you are comparing like
with like. This is particularly true with regard to Punch and Judy where
there are a number of part-timers, semi-professionals and party entertainers, who may not have the same levels
of skill . I expect to be booked for the quality of my work not becasue I am the cheapest available.
Are you a trained teacher?
No. My degree is in Drama (Manchester 1980 BA Hons). However I have spent
over 30 years working with children in schools both as a performer and as a workshop leader.
Are you a member of any organisations?
Yes. I am a member of British Unima (Union Internationale
de la marionette), The British Model and Puppet Theatre Guild. I am a member of The Punch and Judy
Fellowship, and also of the very selective Punch and Judy College of Professors. I am the current chair
of PuppeteersUK. I am a member of Equity.