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Our Core Team

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Clare 'Jay' McCarthy

FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

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Clare is an experienced Creative Director/Producer who founded Broken Puppet Theatre as a way to preserve her creative career following an 'acquired' disability in 2012. She has a passion for promoting total inclusivity and adaptability in both professional and community work and loves to find inventive ways of ensuring everyone can experience the creative process. Clare has a particular passion for producing accessible puppetry with children and families who want to explore or share their lived experiences, creatively express themselves or simply create a bit of pure imaginative escapism - believing all these approaches are especially valuable when learning to share your life with chronic illness or disability.

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CO-FOUNDER & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONER

Marie 'Daisy' Rogers

Marie is a support worker who fell into the world of puppetry when Clare roped her in to help with a local schools project...that was 9 years ago, and ever since then Marie has been honing her skills supporting Clare to run the company, working with our emerging artists, designing and making lots marionettes, which are her favourite kind of puppet. Marie loves to see how puppetry arts help people to improve their self-confidence and is on a never-ending quest for knowledge and finding new inclusive ways to share it.

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CO-FOUNDER & EARLY YEARS PUPPETRY

Leah Battershall-Reid

Leah is an Early Years practitioner with multiple qualifications working in childcare and safeguarding. She is also trained in Drama with education and currently working towards a forestry school leadership qualification. Alongside her work as an Animal Therapist, Leah's impressive collection of 'strings to her bow' adds a wealth of experience to Broken Puppet's work with Early Years Audiences and our Workshops for under 11's.

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TREASURER & COMPANY MANAGER

Bekkie Poole

Bekkie is our Company Manager/ Admin support worker and Treasurer. She helps keep the company well organised and supports Clare with all aspects of financial and project management. As a Mum of 3, Bekkie regularly experiences the social difficulties, ignorance and discrimination against those living with invisible disabilities, as her son has a very rare, often misunderstood medical condition; so Bekkie has become a skilled advocate for children, aiming to help challenge stigma and improve attitudes towards neurodiversity and physical difference in all its forms, and nurturing inclusive practice through our company's creative and community focused work. 

Meet Our Extended Team...

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Meet some of our Broken:Live

Emerging Artists

Members of our emerging artists group introduce themselves and their creative work

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Meet some of our Incredible Associate Artists

Some of our experienced Associate Artists introduce themselves and share thoughts on working with us

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Meet our Professional Project Partners

Some of our professional partners share their work and updates on our latest collaborative projects

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Discover our favourite Training Providers

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Find out who works with us to provide the very best local, national, International and online training for our team and emerging artists

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Our Portfolio

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Our core team members, emerging and associate artists can opt-in to our professional development portfolio builder and earn 'rune stones' for every project they are a part of here at Broken Puppet Theatre - so as the company's portfolio develops, their individual portfolio's grow too.

 

It's our way of ensuring we acknowledge and appreciate the many contributions made by everyone who becomes part of our organisation, and it's an effective way to see how our team are collecting new skills, experience and qualifications - but it's also just a fun, artistic way to help us keep track of all the project's we've done so far too! 

That's why you'll see a collection of Rune Stones alongside our biographies and profile pages. Some Stones will even link to a write-up, blog, gallery or video clips featuring more information on the project that we did to collect it, so keep an eye out for these special runes as you explore this website - they look like this:

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KIN/

COMMUNITY

PROJECT

RUNE STONE

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EARTH/

FOUNDATION

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RUNE STONE

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KINETICS

PROJECT

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AIR/

INCLUSION

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TRANSFORM

PROJECT

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CHAOS/

CREATIVE

PRODUCTION

RUNE STONE

PHOTOS: The latest posts from our company's instagram feed - hover over images to view captions, or click to jump to Instagram

Clare 'Jay' McCarthy

Clare is an experienced Creative Director/Producer who began her freelance career as a local filmmaker and graphic designer, opening her first studio when she was just 18. She is a locally qualified Youth and Community worker and later achieved a First class BA (Hons) in Drama with community Practice from UCP Marjon (accredited by Exeter University) going on to work as a freelance theatre practitioner and company manager.

 

In 2012 Clare 'acquired' multiple disabilities following a nasty car accident and subsequently founded Broken Puppet Theatre Company in response to her experience of becoming 'a disabled person', with the hope of creating better opportunities for herself and others living with complex medical needs and to produce artistic work that challenged the negative perceptions and stigmas that came with them.

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HINT: Click on the Rune Stones to see the corresponding portfolios (Opens in a pop up lightbox)

" When I 'acquired' my disability, everything about my previously brilliant relationship with Theatre Arts changed completely. It went from being a defining part of my life to an entirely inaccessible one, and at times even felt alien and hostile to me. Finding it so far out of reach was more soul-destroying than learning to live with the physical difficulties I had been left with, so I vowed to change it - and that's where Broken Puppet Theatre Company came from. " - Clare

Clare's favourite type of puppets to make are Rod Puppets and Palm Puppets because she loves to explore the artistic details and micro-movements that can be achieved in this form. However, her favourite styles of puppetry to perform are interactive 'Walkabout' characters and live hand puppets, because she has so much fun engaging the audience directly with puppetry.

 
 
Marie Rogers

Marie Co-Founded Broken Puppet Theatre Company with Clare in 2012, shortly after they met on a Mental Health Training Course in their home town of Plymouth. "We sat together on the first day and soon became great friends. We teamed up on a few homework projects and before I knew it Clare had roped me into helping her with a puppetry project she was working on for a local primary school, and I was hooked!"

Prior to entering into the world of puppetry, Marie was a highly skilled mental health care assistant, and very experienced alcohol and drug abuse support worker, and brings all of her people skills into her role with Broken Puppet, mostly through our work with adults who have lived experience of chronic health issues, our emerging artist's professional development activities and our community inclusion programmes for children and families living with invisible disabilities. 

Alongside her beautiful artistic work and puppet making, Marie has a passion for lifelong learning and supporting others to access non-traditional education - and has a knack for seeking out the very best providers and mentors for our team and participants too! 

Take a peek at some of Marie's portfolio by clicking on the rune stones below:

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HINT: Click on the Rune Stones to see the corresponding portfolios (Opens in a pop up lightbox)

" I just want to ensure our work continues to provide a creative refuge for anyone who needs one, because since I found it myself I have experienced first hand the impact puppetry and theatre arts can have on restoring a sense of purpose and self-confidence in anyone who has lost access to the careers they loved due to developing a disability. I want Broken Puppet to be a safe place for everyone who needs to know that having a disability doesn't need to end your career or take away the people and things you love." - Marie

Marie's favourite forms of puppetry are stop motion and Marionettes, and she spends a lot of time working alongside Clare and Leah designing and creating new characters and stories, as well as assisting at community events and workshops when she is able to. She has been a key part of the Company since it's formation, also helping to keep Clare sane at times of high stress (usually funding related!) and shows her adventurous side through many R and D road trips that take us all over the UK (and hopefully beyond!).

 
Leah Battershall-Reid

Leah is an Early Years practitioner with multiple qualifications working in childcare and safeguarding. She is also trained in Drama with education and has recently gained her forestry school leadership qualification. Alongside her work as an Animal Therapist, Leah's impressive collection of 'strings to her bow' adds a wealth of experience to Broken Puppet's work with Early Years Audiences and our Workshops for under 11's. Leah is also a Mum of 4 and one of our co-founders, serving on our management board and helping to shape our creative provisions and policies. Leah has a special interest in using natural and found materials within her puppetry work, and integrating sensory learning experiences with the natural world to improve wellbeing and communication, especially with younger audiences, and is keen to take our puppetry work into more childcare and outdoor/unconventional learning settings as we develop further work for these sectors.

" I have always loved working with early years and as a childminder, so puppetry was just a really natural way for me to connect my work and creativity. I met Clare when we were studying for our degrees, and we worked on several applied drama projects together, which is when I really discovered the potential of using shadow theatre, story telling and drama with the children in my care." - Leah

Leah's favourite forms of puppetry are shadow puppets, wooden carved puppets and puppets made from natural materials and found objects - she believes anything can be a puppet in the hands of a child if they are given the freedom to play, explore and use their imaginations. Leah is currently exploring how she can integrate her new found forestry school skills within her puppetry work and creative writing.

 
Bekkie Poole

Bekkie is our Company Manager/ Admin support worker and Treasurer. She helps keep the company well organised and supports Clare with all aspects of financial and project management. As a Mum of 3, Bekkie regularly experiences the social difficulties, ignorance and discrimination against those living with invisible disabilities, as her son has a very rare, often misunderstood medical condition; so Bekkie has become a skilled advocate for children, aiming to help challenge stigma and improve attitudes towards neurodiversity and physical difference in all its forms, and nurturing inclusive practice through our company's creative and community focused work. 

" I joined Broken Puppet Theatre Company initially as a member of the board, as treasurer, to support Clare with funding applications and financial management. However, since having my kids it has become even more apparent to me that we need to do whatever we can to help make a better future for them - it so often becomes a fight for their equality and it shouldn't be." - Bekkie

Bekkie's favourite forms of puppetry are 'any that will keep the kids amused!' - her kids are really the bigger puppet fans in her house, probably because they have grown up around their 'Auntie' Clare, how has always come to stay with a bag full of puppet making stuff or new characters for them to meet! Bekkie is most interested in the puppets capacity to make occupational therapy more fun.