Meet the new director pulling the strings at city theatre

Peter Beck see's a bright future for Norwich Puppet Theatre ahead of 2022

Peter Beck is the new director of Norwich Puppet Theatre in Whitefriars - Credit: Peter Beck

The man behind a city theatre is hoping that a new Broadway trend will put the art form centre stage. 

Peter Beck, who has taken over the reins at the Norwich Puppet Theatre, says a new generation are fans of puppets courtesy of shows like War Horse. 

Mr Beck has taken over from Colette Garrigan who steered the site through a difficult period for the Whitefriars-based company at the height of the Covid pandemic.

Mr Beck, who has been a board member at the theatre for five years, said: "The theatre has something very special to offer in terms of art and culture in the region.

"Puppetry is a very particular art form. It's very creative and a very hands-on medium.

"The building itself is unique, I believe there's only three or four buildings like this in the country being used for puppetry and we need to embrace that."

Red Riding Hood production at Norwich Puppet Theatre

A production of Red Riding Hood at Norwich Puppet Theatre in NR3. - Credit: Andy Catlin

As well as War House Mr Beck said the hit that Broadway saw with King Kong can also be capitalised on.

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He said: "I see enormous potential for what the theatre can do and how we can engage with people in the future.

"We want to be more ambitious with the shows we create as you're now starting to see more innovation in puppetry, with more digital content being created and using puppets in different art forms.

"One way we can do this is through the venue itself - planning refurbishments and making it more fit for purpose - while continuing to engage with local artists to help hatch ideas for new shows."

Classic production Pinocchio is still popular as well as War Horse and King Kong

Classic productions such as Pinocchio (pictured) are still popular, as well War Horse and King Kong, making their way into the mainstream - Credit: Andi Sapey

During lockdown, the theatre celebrated it's 40th anniversary and the plan for Peter is to keep entertaining fans of puppetry, old and new, for another 40 years.

He added: "Theatre will be alive once again with a whole new variety of different shows for different ages.

"We're going to tell inspiring stories and take people on magical journeys, seeing things they won't see anywhere else.

"We want to bring object and characters to life, outside of what a human actor can portray and offer people some light relief in response to recent world events."