Citizen Squid

An interactive big puppet spectacle- 2015 to current


Citizen Squid is a medium scale interactive big puppet spectacle about compassion, displacement and transition for young people and family audiences.

A gigantic squid has crawled into the high street – but how did it get there – and what will we do with it?

Citizen Squid is a fun, highly visual, innovative and beguiling performance where audiences are enthralled, captivated and totally engaged.

A project about compassion towards others and ourselves- when we fear the barbarians at the gate do we focus too much energy on finding someone to blame, and risk missing the bigger picture? Join us for a series of drifting boats and roaming tentacles trying to find their heart and a way home.

We offer optional introductory value-added workshops and an in-depth community engagement programme where participants investigate “displacement”, “transition” and “compassion” through creative practice. Participants are “citizens” of the project and we facilitate a complete re-imagining of the work, including designing and building bespoke puppets and learning high-quality performance skills and techniques.

In 2016 Citizen Squid has received funding from Wandsworth Grant Fund and Arts Council England – Grants for the Arts to conduct a community engagement project in Wandsworth and a second stage development and national tour.

Supported by




GDIF 2016 audience feedback:

Mesmerising performance.

Enjoyed surreal nature of Citizen Squid. Event very well organised + stewarded.

Interesting, involving, colourful – good fun.

Very entertaining. Clever fun. Ideal as way to change location.

Fascinating, enjoyable, good to participate in, children enjoyed them. Also adults enjoyed the performances.

This one was fun, creative, imaginative + engrossing.


It was whimsical.

Loved it. Wish I could have returned on Sunday. But I told many friends.

My two children (aged 9 and 10) were captivated!! Opportunities to interact most welcome. Well staged, guided + fabulous diversity.

Sad, funny, strange, scary.

Fantastic artists, funny show.


“…good to see a piece of street theatre where the passers-by were stopped in their tracks, and young spectators from five to fifteen were totally engaged.”

Penny Francis MBE
Puppet Centre Trust Board Member

Booking Information

Technical Information:

  • Minimum arena ~20m x 15m accessible public space;
  • Set-up time: 2 hours. Take-down time: 1 hour;
  • Dressing Room for 8 x people with tables, chairs, toilets, drinking water;
  • Storage Required 5m x 5m with double doors and puppet set-up area;
  • Extra long wheelbase van for puppet transportation plus driver from London;
  • 10 x Performers travel by bus, train or plane from London.

Show Information:

  • Performance Styles: Puppetry, Physical Theatre, Spectacle, Visual Theatre, Interactive, Relational, Non-verbal, Roving, Choreographic, Improvised;
  • Length: 3 x 30mins static performances daily;
  • Opportunity for value added workshops and bespoke Community Engagement Programme;
  • Scale: Medium Scale within minimum arena ~20m x 15m accessible public space;
  • Performance Fee £2500 per day or £2000 per consecutive day + transport, substance and accommodation expenses;
  • 8 person touring group;
  • Date Created: 2015 and 2016 and available for touring;
  • Audience Capacity: 500-2000 with low level audience interaction;
  • Audience Type: Families, Children, Young People;
  • Themes: Compassion, Transition and Displacement.



Cast & Creative

Artistic Director, Original Concept, Producer
Ivan Thorley

Designer, Lead Puppet Maker, Devisor
Caroline Bowman

Co-Devisors, Performers
Priya Mistry, Iskandar Sharazuddin, Ivan Thorley, Laura Cubitt, Sam Clark, Tom Wilton, Abigail Matthews, Jeremy Hancock, Roman Stefanski, Andrew London, Jamie Ducan, Peyvand Sadeghian, Rebecca O’Brien, Ben Thompson, Mikey Brett.

Puppet Makers
Christopher Kelly, Ruth Herbert, Jen Cardno, Alison Alexander, Miriam Hammond, Katie from Warhorse, Charlotte Quartermaine, Roman Stefanski.

Puppet Maker Interns
Rosa Douglas, Eddie Bayemi, Jessie McGuire, Lucy Paskell, George Chaffey, Pip Herbst, Elaine Morris.

Sound and Music
Daniel Kempson, Rae Howell, Klaus Bru, Seb Silas.

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Producer
Peter Holland (2015)

Consultant Producers
Stephanie Hay and Kate Anderson

Video Documentation
Zia Trench 2016

Commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Further developed with support from Wandsworth Grants Fund and ENABLE Leisure and Culture.

Special thanks to Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Latitude Festival, Blind Summit Theatre, Stephanie Hay, Artem, Significant Object, Kate Anderson, Nick Barnes, Cornish Tiger, November Films, RCSSD, Byrony Kimmings, Nathan Curry, NT Warhorse, Hornsey Town Hall (HTH) and Southlands Arts Centre.

Puppets with GUTS has been funded by Wandsworth Council’s Grant Fund to deliver a new physical theatre and puppet engagement programme called Kids Create. Through working with Enable Leisure and Culture’s Arts Team, The Pump House Gallery, The Rose Community Centre, The Yvonne Carr Children’s Centre, Carey Gardens, Patmore Estate, St George Primary, Griffin Primary and Heathbrook Primary all in Wandsworth, we have had a fantastic response. Puppets with GUTS is part of Wandsworth Fringe Festival which is funded by Wandsworth Council and delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture on behalf of Wandsworth Council.