In 1961 a troupe of enthusiastic puppeteers under the leadership of South African master, John Wright, found a derelict temperance hall in Islington and transformed it into a magical little theatre, specially designed for children and for the presentation of marionette shows. It opened on Saturday 24th November 1961.
Over the next 30 years, The Little Angel company created and performed over 30 full-scale shows. They toured all over the UK and abroad, absorbed new styles by participating in International puppet festivals (including Europe, USA and the Far East), collaborated with musicians (including Daniel Barenboim and Robert Zeilger) on large-scale productions for the South Bank and Barbican Centres, and provided a constant source of inspiration and training for a new generation of puppeteers and performers. Those in the know still find their way to Dagmar Passage from all over the world.
After John Wright died in 1991, the work of the theatre continued apace under the direction of Lyndie Wright and Christopher Leith, a renowned puppeteer who had learned his craft at The Little Angel. They encouraged new collaborations with writers, directors and musicians, including John Agard, Ken Campbell, Howard Gayton and Henk Shut, to produce a succession of innovative and highly acclaimed shows.
The Little Angel Theatre entered the new millennium with Loretta Howells as its new Artistic Producer, and as of January 2004, Steve Tiplady took over as the company's new Artistic Director. The company continues to be respected both throughout the UK and abroad for the artistic quality of its productions, whether
at its home base or on tour, nationally and internationally, to schools, community centres and arts venues, and loved by children and adults alike.
Our productions now use every type of puppet and draw their themes, styles and stories from a wide range of cultural traditions. We also programme a wide variety of visiting puppet companies into our theatre, giving London audiences a marvellous opportunity to experience the diversity of our art form.
Our lively and imaginative Education Programme works with schools, youth groups and Education Authorities; it is a strategic plank in the theatre's ongoing work with children and young people. Last year we gave 579 performances to a total audience of over 63,000 children and adults.