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Jane Phillips

Jane’s interest in puppets began when she was 12 and a pupil at Howells School in Cardiff.

Leaving school at 16, Jane attended college for a year before becoming an apprentice to Jan Bussell in 1953, and it was in that same year she became a member of the Guild.

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Jane recalls her first Guild event was their Annual Exhibition in London, and it was in London where she worked on such iconic children’s programmes such as Torchy and The TeleGoons.

She also worked at Alexandra Palace with Jan Bussell when the BBC were filming Muffin the Mule.

Jane moved back to Wales in 1960 where she continued to work with puppets.

After reading a copy of Jan Bussells’ book The Puppets and I, Jane was inspired to start her own puppet company.

Her first ever performance was in North Wales at an International Puppet Festival which had been organised by her friend Eric Bramall.

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The festival drew puppeteers from all over the world. Jane’s show was called Caricatures and ran for one week.

It was from this that in 1964, the Caricature Theatre, based in Cardiff, was born.

Jane became the Director of her own company with a 16 strong team of puppeteers, designers and office staff.

The Caricature Theatre was the first puppet theatre in the UK to be given an annual Arts Council Grant.

Sadly, due to a drastic shift in the Arts Councils’ allocation of funds, the Caricature Theatre was forced to close in 1984.

In 2016 a reunion was held to celebrate the 20 years of the business.

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In her lifetime Jane has worked with some of the most talented people in the industry including Eric Bramall and Chris Somerville, John Blundall, Olive Blackham, Lotte Reiniger, the Hogarth Puppets and the Lanchesters, to name but a few.

In November 2018, she was presented with the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement, award in Bristol by the Guild President Ronnie Le Drew.

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