One Way UK: Puppet Academy Team 2017





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Below are the successful puppeteers who were selected from all over the UK, for the 2017 "Puppet Academy Team". They spent a week in August at the Viking Centre, Claxby, where they learnt a wide variety of new skills whilst working on a set of seven songs which will be presented in the main Friday night showcase at this year's European Puppet and Creative Arts Ministry Festival in Rugby. Well done to all the team for working so hard during the week and a huge thank you to Fliss, Cam, Beckie and Charlie for all your help in making the week run smoothly!


Naomi Holloway:
“This year is my third year of Academy, and it’s amazing, it’s the highlight of my year, even if it is exhausting. The puppetry this year is, of course, fantastic, but you’ll see for yourself at EPMF. Every year at Academy it pushes my puppetry to a new level, and I know that my whole team has benefited from the skills I’ve brought back. 

However, as amazing as all the puppetry is, the thing that really makes Academy special is the people. I know that even though we’re all so exhausted, if something goes wrong, or if I get a bit stressed, the people around me have got my back. Thank you to everyone in Academy and everyone who helped out throughout the week, Academy wouldn’t the same without all of you.”
Charlotte Taylor:
"There’s nowt grim about Grimsby when you’re at Academy! This was my third year at Academy and an extra special year as we celebrated its 10th birthday. The days were long, and sleep in short supply but it was without doubt the best week of my year. As a returning Academy member, I wondered if we could take our puppetry up a notch from last year. How wrong I was!

Whilst my Academy contract strictly prohibits the sharing of confidential information, I can tell you this… new puppets, alternative choreography, epic props, death defying stunts (OK, not quite) and the return of an old favourite! A big thank you to our Head Chef, Fliss for lovingly serving our tasty meals and delightful desserts; to Mick for the best curry in Grimsby; Cam - our talented Chief Prop Officer (CPO) and dinner entertainer, and everyone else who helped over the course of the week. An extra special thank you to Fi and David for providing challenge and encouragement, and helping us munch our way through over 30 bags of sweets! I am immensely excited about the EPMF in October, it’s going to be ‘fit as’ as David would say.

To anyone reading this who is unsure about whether to apply for Academy 2018, go for it! In the words of Mark Bradford’s YMCA parody – Y not 2day? I have made some truly wonderful friends, and developed as a puppeteer - what more could you ask for?”
Bethany Hannaford:
“This was my Second year at Puppet Academy and I didn't think it was possible but I loved it even more than my first year. Puppet Academy is all about learning routines and choreography for the EMPF in October, however during the week in August great friends have been made and I have created long lasting memories. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Puppet Academy this year and can't thank everyone enough for giving me this amazing experience and being so supportive and friendly.

A huge thanks to Fi and David for all the teaching and encouragement and Fliss for all the amazing food throughout the week. Can't wait for the EPMF in October to perform the choreography learnt and to spend time with the amazing people I have met during this week. I would highly recommend the Puppet Academy to everyone.”
Jess Mansfield:
“Academy for me is like home for a week each year. Yes, I've done Academy for 7 years now. Yes, you're probably all bored of seeing my face by now. But if that's not reason enough to give Academy a try, just to see what it is that's got me so hooked, then I don't know how else to convince you. It's an incredible week of fun, food, friendship and fellowship (and of course a heap of puppetry thrown in). Each member of the team feels welcomed from the second they walk in whether they've been part of the team before or not.

Thank you Fi and David for another crazy (but amazing) week! And a massive thank you to our head chef Fliss - we couldn't do it without you! I hope you all enjoy watching the showcase we've put together.”
Jack Corrigan:
“Wow. I don't even know where to begin with this one. This was my first year of Puppet Academy and I genuinely think it's probably the best thing I've ever done. I've met some incredible people, eaten some great food (and likely also my body weight in skittles...) and helped put together an absolutely insane showcase for EPMF 2017 which I genuinely can't wait to show people, like seriously it's AWESOME!

To anyone looking for more in depth view on Academy, I've written a (spoiler free - sorry, it's a secret!) blog which you can find here: and (hopefully) covers a lot more of what I want to say, because I'll be honest, I can't even fit probably a tenth of what I want to say here.

I just want to say an absolutely massive thank you to David and Fi for organising things and keeping us focussed, as well as to Fliss for all the food (and being accommodating of my fussiness, which is not an easy feat) and to Cam and Beckie and everyone else working tirelessly behind the scenes making sure we had everything we might need for every performance. You guys really are the unsung heroes.”

Jacob Eyres:
“Back for a 3rd year, and it was as great as ever. A week full of puppets, good friends and of course, the standard 40 bags of sweets. Yes, it was exhausting, but it is more than worth it, and it was great to finish the week with a late night campfire (3am)! I would like to say a huge thank you to David and Fi for organising the week, Fi for her devotions and Fliss for her lovely meals. I wish I could tell you more, but it’s all under wraps until the EPMF in October.”
Catrin Charmley:
“This was my 3rd year at Academy and I must say that each year it seems to get better than the last (which I never seem to think is possible). I really enjoyed getting to spend time with old friends and getting to make new ones. Academy helps make friendships for life. Our long tireless nights are fuelled by a large amount of skittles and the amount of bags of sweets consumed during the week is probably is the low 50's. I'd like to thank David and Fi for their constant encouragement and support throughout the week. The new skills you learn at Academy are something that I will always take with me. I can't wait to see you all at the festival and I hope you enjoy the performance. It's fit as!"


Elliott Chappell: 
“After taking a year out of Puppet Academy, it was so nice to be welcomed back with open arms as I met up with my old friends from years gone by, and of course a few new ones who signed up while I was away! It’s always such a splendid week, and it would be impossible not to get on with the talented crew behind the curtains and hidden in the dark, certainly when you have to contort yourself into all sorts of shapes and spaces to work round them, or rather, with them.

The routines are bigger and better than ever, and actually, so are some of the puppets! Sometimes it can be easier to focus on the puppets more than the songs that they’re singing, but actually, hidden within these wacky and zany songs are some really pivotal words that I urge you to listen out for. Once again, this was a very encouraging week that I thank Fi and David and the rest of the One Way UK team for, and I hope and pray that some of the spiritual energy the team has rubs off and shines in the performance at the festival and thus onto you the viewer to take back to your own churches and groups in order for it to then say something to them.

Right, I’m off for a cup of tea and a kip. I look shattered! See you at the festival.”

Emma Daniels:
“This was my first year at the Academy, and I can safely say I absolutely loved every second of it. Despite the large quantities of hard work, it was incredibly relaxing for my mind, all thanks to all of the amazing people there. Also, I got to have a go at things I've never done before, like this was my first ever time doing blacklight, and it was truly awesome. I'm looking forward to next year!”


Nathaniel Ingle:
“So this is my 5th year of Academy! I think you understand at this point I'm obsessed, but also I think it's become clear that Puppet Academy is something special to me, and close to my heart. It's allowed me to meet a group of nutters who I can call some of my closest friends. This year we really do have something amazing lined up for you to see, and I'm so excited that I can't wait!

Thanks to David and Fi for being so encouraging and patient (sometimes really patient) throughout, not only this time around, but for 5 YEARS! Hope to see you at Rugby (did I mention it's going to be amazing!?)”

Joshua Macrow:
“I came back! It was lovely to come back to Academy to meet my friends from last year, make some new ones and do some awesome puppetry. After last year I didn't think we could make the showcase any more complicated than walking backwards with a drum on our heads but the team have managed to raise the bar yet again. The puppetry has been much more challenging for me so it was nice to test my skills and see how far I could push myself. Yet again the week was thoroughly enjoyable and I can't wait to show everyone the amazing stuff we have in store for the festival!”


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