Joseph has been a Guild member since the age of nine. His interest in puppets and animation stems from a very early age, at first playing and making short films with his brother, all with a focus on animating the characters they had made or chosen. The Muppet Show, YouTube channels with puppetry, and documentaries about puppeteering all inspired him in his own use and collection of puppets. Visits to his community from theatre groups also opened up the world of puppetry and the scope of what can be done in live and video performances.
One of Joseph's first puppets was a chef, which he took along to a cookery competition to amuse himself and others in the breaks. Gradually his interest moved to making puppets and crafting props, including staging a full production of Jack and the Beanstalk using sock puppets. The script was written by himself and his brother Damian but It was a family effort, Mum helping with the sewing and Dad building the theatre. The production was a birthday gift for his Granddad’s 79th while in lockdown. Joseph was interested in the early Henson puppets in the Wilkins coffee (1957–1961) and Claussen’s bread (1962–1969) adverts, as he found them very funny. He tried to make a similar puppet using scrap material.
As a surprise, his Mum made him a set of ‘Red Riding Hood’ puppets – the Wolf can swallow Grandma whole, and a Velcro front on him allows her to return safely.
Most recently, he saw The Pedlar’s Tales by The Fetch Theatre, and was inspired by their use of scale.
Their transformative set design allowed them to tell stories in quick succession with simple changes, making them come alive. Joseph is still developing ideas for other puppet making and continues with crafting and designing daily. Eventually, he would like to create short videos for YouTube so he can share his ideas with others.