The National Puppetry Archive
The National Puppetry Archive (NPA) and its collection is administered by the Guild
and is one of the largest collections relating to British Puppetry in the world.
Within the Archive are documents, photographs and actual puppets connected with the most talented and famous puppeteers and puppet makers the UK has ever produced. It is continually growing, with additions both from the past and from current puppeteers and companies. Our aim is to have large aspects of the Archive digitised and made available online for research, so that the collection is accessible to interested parties from around the world. Hon. Archivist, Michael Dixon, administers the Archive, which joins together collections from around the country: those of the Guild, Ray DaSilva and Michael’s own items. Through these links, the Guild has access to the most comprehensive collection of puppets and ephemera related to Puppet Theatre arts anywhere.
One of the major acquisitions into the Archive was the Lanchester Marionette Collection, which was obtained with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Collection contains over 40 marionettes, together with all sets and props. The productions include The Grand Circus, Underwater Ballet and Old Time Marionettes – 13 Victorian marionettes perfectly preserved and maintained.
Although the NPA is not open to the public it is available to visit by appointment. Naturally. with a collection so large there is not space to display all of the puppets all of the time. However, if there are specific items from the collection you wish to see this can be arranged before your visit. If you have a particular interest or aspect of puppetry you would like to research, we would be happy to help. We would also be very interested to hear from anyone who has anything they would like to add to the collection.