Meet Isabel Nellie Walters, a young advocate of puppetry.
I started learning puppetry seven years ago, when I was eleven, taking part in a short summer course (Islington Summerversity) where we made a rod puppet and created a short film. From this I joined the Little Angel Youth Theatre. The group and I worked with amazing directors to devise scripts, create puppets and gain valuable experience as puppeteers. We have performed in original productions of Punch and Judy, Metamorphosis, Macbeth The One Half World, Jabberwocky, Gargantua and various summer festivals.
At seventeen I moved on from the Little Angel Youth Theatre and jumped into their adult courses. I also did my work experience at Little Angel Theatre and I was privileged to work with Ronnie Le Drew and Sue Dacre on a Marionette Summer Course in 2015. Last autumn I delved into the world of Shadow Puppetry with Matthew Robbins and I have just recently assisted John Roberts in the workshop for the Summer Marionette Carving Course.
Overall, Little Angel Theatre has provided me with the space to create and explore an art form that still, after seven years, gives me goose bumps.
It is a place where you can shut the door and escape. Conversations are interesting after periods of deep concentration, fuelled with fascination. Little worlds are being formed for the bigger world to see. And there is so much skill. Everywhere you look masters of puppetry are creating and making beautiful characters.
The Little Angel Youth Theatre is full of open, warm-hearted and non-judgemental young people who are encouraged to explore their imaginations in a way that I have not found anywhere else. To feel that anything is possible in such a positive creative atmosphere is incredibly important for young people and having this kind of support has enhanced my development in many ways.
I have never been turned away by anyone at Little Angel Theatre, whether I have wanted to find work experience or simply just ask a question. Everyone does whatever they can to support, encourage or pass on their experience of working with puppets and this has enthused in me the will to create my own puppetry, which I continue to do.
This is a rare and beautiful place, packed with inspiring and welcoming people and I urge any young person to run as fast as you can towards this world of wonderment.
Isabel Nellie Walters
Words by Isabel Nellie Walters.