Puppets with Guts is a high-quality big puppet company based in West London. Our mission is to inspire people, to have fun and make brilliant shows where radical puppets, objects and stories are brought to life.

Our shows are ideal for a range of settings and contexts – especially those that allow our puppets and objects to be as epic as possible – whether that be at an outdoor festival, green fields, community engagement, short physical theatre and design workshops, local authority city events and non-traditional performance sites. The company is also committed to developing events through methods of education and community engagement that combine big puppets, physical theatre, design and music.

With over fifteen years experience working internationally with some of the world’s most exciting creative people, we now also consult and collaborate on specially commissioned work, including projects in both live and recorded media. We can work from a brief or script that you have in mind and facilitate a conversation to create something brand new and extraordinary.

Puppets with Guts was founded by Artistic Director Ivan Thorley and Designer Caroline Bowman in 2013, because they want audiences to experience the full force of big interactive spectacular puppetry.



Ivan Thorley– Artistic Director;

  • SKILLS: artistic direction, dance, puppetry, physical theatre, teacher, project management, producer.

  • In 2016 Ivan lead the second stage development of CITIZEN SQUID in London, developing a complex community engagement project, narrative exploration and presentation opportunities at Heathbrook Park- Wandsworth, Streets of Battle, GDIF, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Great British Carnival- Ramsgate. Ivan worked as producer, consultant and puppeteer in AITOR THORPS- LONDON FASHION WEEK showcase. Ivan also worked as a puppet (mech) maker for Nick Barns on ANGELS IN AMERICA- NT.

  • In 2015 Ivan worked as a puppeteer on Warner Bros. film FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHEN TO FIND THEM. Ivan also worked  on  the 2015 BBC TEN PIECES PROMS, as a puppeteer on the giant FIREBIRD. Ivan conceptualised and directed PWG new project- CITIZEN SQUID, that will premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Imagine Watford Festival during June / July 2015.

  • In 2014 Ivan has been working with Significant Object on a new puppetry project for PAUL MCCARTNEY for an upcoming music video and international stadium tour. Ivan is currently artist in residence at SOUTHLANDS ARTS CENTRE in London and developing new work. He is also working on a Welcome Trust project examining human / animal morphologies with artist THOMAS THWAITS.

  • In 2013 he was puppet captain for David Poutney’s THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Bregenz Festspiele House in Austria; and a puppeteer in the acclaimed The National Theatre of England production WARHORSE. Ivan creative directed of a new outdoor project RAMPAGING RHINOCEROS; and creative directed puppets for Sony Music video for RALEIGH RICHIE.

  • In 2012, Ivan was a puppeteer in the 2012 OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY; and during 2011/12 was co-devisor on THE TABLE by Blind Summit Theatre that toured nationally and internationally.

  • In 2011 Ivan worked with Blind Summit Theatre on HOLY FLYING CIRCUS, a spoof BBC TV film about Monty Python’s movie The Life of Brian.

  • In 2010 Ivan developed and performed the ROVING UNICORNS for Latitude Festival; and toured an animatronic installation BIRDMACHINE to Brisbane International Festival and Melbourne, Australia.

  • Ivan has toured with outdoor international performance company STRANGE FRUIT since 2002; and also worked briefly with THE SNUFF PUPPETS and Peepshow Inc in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Ivan holds a Masters Degree in PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY from Brunel University, a Postgraduate Degree in ANIMATEURING and Bachelor of DANCE degree both from the VICTORIAN COLLEGE OF THE ARTS in Melbourne, Australia. Ivan also worked in the Graduate School at TRINITY LABAN Conservatoire of Music and Dance from 2009 to 2012.

Caroline Bowman– Designer, Puppet-maker and Performer

  • SKILLS: Performer, Puppet Designer and Maker;

  • Caroline performed as puppeteer at WARHORSE in 2014 to 2015, and also designer and lead puppet-maker on CITIZEN SQUID. She formed her company THE RAINBOW COLLECTORS in 2008, and has toured both in the UK and Europe, as well as China and the USA. Caroline has a BA (Hons) in Puppetry from the CENTRAL SCHOOL FOR SPEECH AND DRAMA (London). Caroline makes work that aims to push at the boundary between beauty and disgust. Her current work aims to meld the human body and the puppet to create a new way of puppeteering.

Other Artists we work with a network of fantastic artists in London and the UK and internationally across theatre, puppet design & making and media.