2021 Judging Panel!

We scoured the world looking for amazing puppet people to join of judging panel for the Challenge. We are so excited to welcome these talented folk and can not wait to hear what you have to say about the 2021 submissions!

Dik Downey

Dik is director of Opposable Thumb Theatre, founded in Sept 2019, and was formally Co-director of Pickled Image from 2000.


Dik predominantly works with puppets and masks, but in his company roles has his fingers in many pies, including performing, set and costume design and construction, dabbling at light and sound, director, van packing, driver of long distances, illustrator, scenic artist, model maker, sculptor, potter, shite administrator, boss or general dogs body (depending on what’s required) 


Dik usually works at the Royal Welsh College of music & Drama overseeing puppet making & performance for the Design for theatre module’s annual 10 week puppetry project, but not this year as he was busy making his new show Big Boys Don’t Cry, the follow-on from the very successful, Coulrophobia. Big Boys Don’t Cry was a co-production with the Nordland Visual Theatre, Norway and will premiere at The London International Mime Festival in Jan 2022 and then go on tour in UK & Norway that Spring.



Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is a Groundlings' Sunday Co. and Second City Conservatory alumna. She teaches and directs shows at The Groundlings. Her television credits include Selfie, How I Met Your Mother, King of The Hill, No You Shut Up and The Office. Her puppet credits include The Happytime Murders, Rose in The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix. Beti in Earth to Ned on Disney + and Brendar in The Barbarian and the Troll on Nickelodeon. She is a founding member/writer of GLOP (The Glorious Ladies of Puppetry) glop.us


colleensmi.com @colleensmi on Twitter 

@colleenmariesmi on Instagram.

Olivia is a Puppet Maker and Designer, specialised in Film and TV. She has worked on both series of His Dark Materials in the Creature FX Department, bringing to life the Daemons, Bears and much more. Olivia has also attended the Curious School of Puppetry where she was able to nurture her passion for devising and playing.




Kerrin Tatman

Kerrin Tatman is an award-winning creative producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and theatre maker based in Newcastle, with a particular interest in multi-disciplinary collaborations and merging music with the visual arts. They are passionate about bringing artists, participants and audiences together to create meaningful and unusual creative experiences that transform spaces and diversify regional and national arts delivery. Kerrin is the Co-Artistic Director of Beverley Puppet Festival along with Anna Ingleby and has co-delivered two festivals with the organisation in this role, the experience of which led to the co-founding of Newcastle Puppetry Festival and Moving Parts Arts in 2017 with William Steele. Kerrin has Directed three festivals with Moving Parts, winning The Journal Culture Award for 'Best Newcomer' in 2018, and has recently set up the Moving Parts Puppet School to develop and encourage the next generation of puppeteers in the North East of England. Kerrin is also one half of Tatwood Puppets alongside Matthew Wood, a touring company specialising in visual theatre, puppetry and original soundtracks, with work including "Microbodyssey" and "Cabaret of Curiosities".



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