Children’s puppet theatre celebrates 60-year anniversary

Samantha Lane and Peta Swindall

Samantha Lane and Peta Swindall. Photograph: Ellie Kurttz

To mark its 60th anniversary this month, the Little Angel Theatre is putting on a special selection of performances.

Little Angel first opened its doors on Saturday 24th November 1961 when a troupe of enthusiastic puppeteers under the leadership of John Wright found a derelict temperance hall in Islington and transformed it into a magical little theatre, specially designed for children and for the presentation of marionette shows.

Now under the leadership of artistic director Samantha Lane and executive director Peta Swindall, boundary-pushing puppetry is at the heart of this unique theatre, which ignites the imaginations of the youngest minds and equips tomorrow’s puppeteers with the skills to become world-class artists.

In March and April the theatre will be showing a ‘choose your own adventure’-style live digital production of Sean Taylor’s Where the Bugaboo Lives directed by Samantha Lane and designed by Ellie Mills.

From 21 May, the theatre hopes (subject to government guidelines) to be staging a live production of Julia Donaldson’s The Smartest Giant in Town, brought to life in a new co-production with Fierylight.

Inspired by a brand-new Joseph Coelho poem, The Wishing Tree will see ‘magical trees’ appear throughout Islington this summer, designed by artists including Sam Wilde and Ingrid Hu and populated by puppets made by local children.

Little Angel Theatre

Little Angel Theatre, Dagmar Passage. Photograph: Ellie Kurttz

Tucked away down a quiet Islington street, the 90-seat puppetry powerhouse has recently built a new global audience, reaching more families and young people than ever before throughout lockdown.

With children starved of culture and interaction, Little Angel adapted fast to the closure of theatres last year and made their work quickly accessible through digital formats which have been watched all over the world, with productions and accompanying puppet making activities inspiring and engaging young audiences in more than 90 countries, receiving over 757,000 views. 

Little Angel Theatre
14 Dagmar Passage, London, N1 2DN