Theatre-Rites are regarded as pioneers in the field of object-led and site-specific performance, creating ground-breaking work for family audiences since 1995. This book marks the company’s 25th anniversary, offering the first in-depth exploration of artistic director Sue Buckmaster’s visionary practice, in which anything can be animated.

This book draws on original research, including five years of in-depth interviews between its authors, images from Theatre-Rites’ archive and Buckmaster’s private collection, detailed observations from the company’s professional training workshops and personal reflections on past productions. A timely and compelling advocacy for the importance of high-quality experimental arts provision for young audiences is made, distilling learning from decades of the company’s professional activities to motivate and empower the next generation of object-led theatre-makers.

Theatre-Rites: Animating Puppets, Objects and Sites is an invaluable resource for any puppeteer, actor, dancer, visual artist, poet or student interested in expanding their understanding of how to incorporate puppetry and/or symbolic objects as metaphors in their work.

chapter 1|11 pages


chapter 2|12 pages

The birth of Theatre-Rites

chapter 3|16 pages

Puppet whispering and object-led play

chapter 4|15 pages

Puppetry and actors

The extension of the ego

chapter 5|15 pages

Puppetry and child development

Making child-friendly performances

chapter 6|13 pages

Dance and puppetry

The place for abstraction

chapter 7|20 pages

Site-specific theatre for families

chapter 9|15 pages

Puppetry and death

chapter 10|19 pages

Cross-artform collaborations

Playing across artforms

chapter 11|16 pages

Interdisciplinarity in object-theatre

Playing across different fields

chapter 12|13 pages

Sue Buckmaster’s theatrical ancestry

chapter |10 pages

Practical exercises

Theatre-Rites’ two-day professional training

chapter |1 pages

The final gift

chapter |9 pages


chapter |8 pages


Show timeline/online video clips

chapter |2 pages

Further online resources