A BIRD IN THE HAND THEATRE   is a puppet and mask theatre company based in West Yorkshire. We make beautiful, quirky, gentle shows, installations and walkabouts for outdoor and theatre audiences. Much of our work is aimed at family audiences, and has love and wonder for the natural world at its heart.

The company was formed in 2017 by artist and director Alison Duddle and performer Mark Whitaker.

Alison is a freelance artist, puppet and mask maker and director. She likes making big things for parades and carnivals as well as tiny puppets for performance. She was previously joint artistic director for Horse + Bamboo Theatre.

Mark has been a puppeteer since 1989. His performance work spans theatre, street work and film, including recently spending time in a galaxy far, far away for the latest Star Wars movies.


Before starting A Bird in the Hand Theatre, Alison and Mark had previously worked together on many shows for Horse + Bamboo Theatre, both for adult and young audiences. As the company has developed, they have been joined in the company by a stalwart, talented and rather nice team of performers and musicians including Frances Merriman, Jonny Quick, Chris Davies, Aya Nakamura, Nix Wood, Rowan Taylor and Amy Hegarty.

Alison Duddle
Mark Whitaker

 MARK WHITAKER is the company's core performer and puppetry  expert. He performs in solo shows Special Delivery and Midnight, and also tours with a Sweep of Swallows, and the Bewonderment Machine.

Click on the photo for a link to Mark's website: www.markwhitakerpuppetry.co.uk


FRANCES MERRIMAN is a bicycle powereed performer who tours regularly with The Bewonderment Machine and a Sweep of Swallows


JONNY QUICK is a performer, artist and technician and longtime collaborator. He tours with a Sweep of Swallows, the Bewonderment Machine and the woodland lanterns


AYA NAKAMURA is a puppeteer based in London who performs a Sweep of Swallows and the Bewonderment Machine. www.ayanakamura.com


NIX WOOD is a Brighton-based puppeteer who performs a Sweep of Swallows (especially when they fly south..)


CHRIS DAVIES is our wonderful musical director, who created the music for the Bewonderment Machine and Midnight  https://musichris.co.uk


ROWAN TAYLOR is a Bewonderment machine performer and swallow puppeteer

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Elizabeth Gomm, Ian Hodgson, Ian TIlton, Alison Duddle, Joe Prince, Bob Frith