Puppet workshop by Martin and Carly Sommerville

Puppetry of every kind was celebrated at Nottingham’s first puppet festival over four days of workshops, parades, performances and talks.

Celebrating the work of local, national and international artists the festival was funded by Arts Council England and inspired by the production of War Horse at the Royal Concert Hall.

“This has been the biggest project I have organised and it was something I wanted people to smile about,” said David Longford festival producer.

One of the main focuses of the festival was to encourage community engagement and create a festival for everyone, he said.

“People really responded well to the festival and shows were sold out, it was a great collaborative process over the two and half years it took to plan.”

Produced in a partnership between City Arts, Nottingham Trent University and Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, many of the festival’s events, including the old market square pop-up puppet village, were free.

Nottingham puppeteers Carly and Martin Sommerville ran a workshop teaching people how to make their own puppets.

Martin said: “For us a lot of our puppets are traditionally carved, it’s all about tactile engagement with the materials.

“We use puppetry to deliver therapeutic workshops and the festival was a great way to give people simple tools and bits of wood to build whatever their imagination could dream up.”

Berlin puppeteers Jessica Nicholls and Pierre Filliez founders of the Shake Shake theatre company performed their show The Story of Mr B and described the audiences as “friendly and supportive.”

Jess said: “My favourite thing about puppetry is that you can make simple objects tell big beautiful stories.”

The festival ran from March 22 to March 25, with events all around the city.