Trevor Sproston, who describes himself as a retired and recovering teacher of French and Design Technology, is an amateur puppet builder who lives in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, UK. In 1984 he saw several presentations at the London Puppet Festival (thanks to his then pregnant wife Margaret). He was particularly struck by Eric Bass' one-man shows and felt inspired to try this approach himself. In his spare time he made his first Punch and Judy show (with "Jaws" as a character ), and several one-man puppets, but from 1989 to 2009 his non-teaching time was taken up with being a paid tutor for Space School UK Summer Schools, building model rockets, Mars Rovers and a bit of alien archaeology.
After Space School, he returned to his sculpting, and eventually began making puppets again, as he was dissatisfied with static sculptures. Trevor has no overall scheme to his puppet building, other than preferring to aim at an adult audience. Sometimes his characters are just self-imposed technical challenges, from which he hopes to learn how to make more interesting work. He draws his themes from a variety of sources: world mythology, literature and the music hall tradition of monologues and songs some humorous, some dark.
For some characters Trevor voices the parts himself, for others, he uses recorded material as appropriate. This means that he has a variety of disparate characters to draw on for any potential performance. He uses a range of materials in his building- traditional wooden dowel, string and leather, but as he admits to having no carving skills, he has modelled his heads and hands in plastic wood, latex and now uses Apoxie Sculpt, a two-part epoxy resin modelling putty.
"I'm a bodger", he says," not a carver, and I can't be called a craftsman. I rarely plan out a puppet when I start, but I do have a very clear idea of what I want the finished piece to look like. I seem to be able to visualise the final result, although the path to that result may involve many turnings and retracings of steps along the way." He also collects puppets. In 1983 he and his wife were lucky enough to be able to travel to India to do some family history research (both had relatives who had served in India in the 1900s).
While in Rajasthan, they were able to watch local "untouchable" craftspeople making puppets in their tents by the roadside, not as tourist goods but as part of a living tradition. They bought some examples from the craftspeople, probably for more money than they'd see in a month, as well as other antique examples and professional puppets from the local Government Emporium. Trevor has what he thinks is a representative reference library of books on puppetry, both practical and theoretical, which contains some difficult-to-find classics. He currently has no website, but his work can be inspected on his pinterest site or you can