Goofus Theatre is a touring theatre company creating original pieces with mask, puppetry, clowning, play and music. The majority of Goofus work is non-verbal and aimed at audiences where theatre isn’t easily accessed for various reasons. They believe theatre should have no borders, and access to their style of performance is for all ages, all backgrounds, anywhere. They believe in a theatre that is mischievous, funny, strange, moving, fantastical, surreal and dreamlike. They love folktales, myth and magic.
Paul Barnhill has been an actor, writer, director and puppeteer for over thirty years.
He has worked extensively in theatre, TV, radio, film and voiceovers. He trained at the East 15 Acting School, the Curious School Of Puppetry and with Angela De Castro at the Why Not Institute. He founded
Goofus in 2012 and is Artistic Director of the Company. Paul came to puppetry late! He had worked with puppets as an actor in productions, and always loved them and found them truly otherworldly but he never really had the chance to explore them properly until he found himself in a production of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.
It was performed in a huge circus tent in Kensington gardens, London, and Paul was Mr. Beaver. There he met Steve Tiplady (Indefinite Articles) who was in charge of all things puppetry in the show. He loved working with Steve and was determined to form his own company and explore puppets more. This was 2012. Paul had watched various companies over the years that had truly inspired him like the brilliant Faulty Optics, Complicite, Trestle Theatre Company, David Glass Ensemble, Mime Theatre Project, the works of the Quay Brothers, Welfare State etc.
All massive influences in puppetry, physical play, mask and originality, but the biggest impact that changed everything for him was Slava’s Snowshow that he had watched at the Edinburgh Festival in 1996. This changed his ideas about theatre! He was determined one day to explore and find his own style of working with his own company. Years later while creating a story piece with puppets (for the first time) called ‘Under Different Skies’.
Paul was told about Sarah Wright's brilliant Curious School Of Puppetry and decided to apply to study there. He loved the course, working with some great puppet practitioners including Liz Walker, Rene Baker, Mervyn Millar, Sarah Wright, Ronnie Le Drew and Steve Tiplady. Doors had been opened, cobwebs blown away and he felt very inspired to continue the Goofus journey onwards and