Welcome to the world of

Puppet Tree!

Puppet Tree makes story, play, dance, excitement, mystery, laughter and wonder a part of everyone’s experiences!

Puppet Tree is here for individuals, schools, groups & communities who want to find a new direction, a new confidence or a new story to tell.

Puppet Tree is for people like you...

Puppet Tree is Ian Craigan, an experienced storyteller, community artist, educator and musician. Please take a look around the website - you'll find current activities on the Recipe Book page. If you have any comments or questions, get in touch through the "contact us" page.

Recent activity

St George saves the day!

Puppet Tree was delighted to be invited back again to perform the One Man Mummers Play 'George & the Dragon' at St George's Park, Kidderminster for their St George's Fun Day. And on the day itself went all the way to Aylesbury to help the Town Council celebrations go off with a 'Roar!'

Thanks to loads of audience participation (and a very dodgy doctor) St George was able to vanquish wicked Dragon Scorch and rescue Maid Marion... every time!

St George and the dragon in Aylesbury (courtesy Aylesbury Town Council)

Enthusiastic performers in Kidderminster

"Ian really helped make the event – he was outstanding with the children and grown-up’s alike, each and every performance had lots of people taking part!"

Mighty Merlin

Even on holiday Ian can't stop telling stories! He was at the wonderful Dance Camp Wales having fun and they asked him to help start off Fire Night with some shadow puppets and the story of how young Merlin helped Vortigern build Caer Myrthyn. Have a look at what happened:

Merlin movie

Ian story telling to begin Fire Night at magical Dance Camp Wales 2016. For more info about Ian's story telling activities visit www.puppettree.co.uk

Anansi visits Rubery

Once a term Ian spends a day at Rubery Nursery school sharing stories with all his friends there.

Where's that Spider gone?      

Crick Crack Story Sack

A workshop to unlock your storytelling potential! Games, tricks, secrets and props that will help any group develop as storytellers and writers; ideal for schools who want to encourage children's creativity and confidence. Year 4 Pupils at Oasis Academy Warndon are making Story Sacks to share with KS1 at the end of term. Ian's Crick Crack session kickstarted their project - the class teachers said, "Thank you again for your visit. You were great and the children thoroughly enjoyed it!"

Story props for the Crick Crack Story Sack workshop

A Midsummer Night's Dream

To help schools celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Ian is presenting a lively telling of the Bard's most popular comedy. With costumes, puppets and lots of silly hats, Ian brings to life the different groups gathering in the 

woods to discover love and adventure: young Athenians, quarreling fairies and rustic actors! Specially devised for KS1, the show can be adapted for all ages. It can also be combined with workshops in Puck's Magic Hat making, Fairy Spell casting, Shadow Puppets and Rude Machanical Acting.

"An excellent workshop, well delivered and very engaging for the pupils. Thank you so much!" Yr 1 teacher, Perry Hall School

"Engaging and age appropriate. Very interactive, allowing the children to participate throughout." Reception teacher

Vive La France

Ian had a tres bon day with students at Pitcheroak Special School in Redditch, sharing escargot and traditional French folk tales.

Then he started clowning around when they had a wonderful Circus Day in June...

Solstice celebrations

Ian was pleased to support The Friends of Fort Royal Park with their 4th winter solstice event. Lantern making workshops in the historic Commandery were bustling with eager makers who then enjoyed a glorious sunset over the Cathedral before taking part in the celestial struggle of Sun and Moon! The beautiful Candle Labyrinth helped the Sun and Moon on the path to the solstice fires where Dry Leaf wishes were cast into the flames.

Pitcheroak Pirates

Ooooh Aaaar!

What a wild day on the ocean waves at Pitcheroak Special School in Redditch. congratulations to every teacher and pupil for their fantastic outfits. Ian had a grand day, recruiting his new crew for the good ship Puppet Tree. Every pupil passed the tests with flying colours - or should I say Jolly Rogers! Sadly, the parrot isn't so clever...

"Great resources, engaging and enthusiastic story teller, pupils had a great experience during Pirate Day!" Jo M, Pitcheroak

Dinosaur drama

The Year 3 project at Highters Heath was a trip back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the earth! Using their imaginations (and a handy Time Portal) year 3 delved into the past to find brand new monsters - and rap about them! After their exciting assembly, year 3 wrote some fantastic letters to Ian:

  • "When I digged with soil it was really interesting because the thing at the bottom was the oldest thing there was."
  • "My favourite part of the project was when we all made shadow puppets because I used coloured paper."
  • "I liked the dinosaur rap because S... said 'he was too big, he looked like a pig!'"
  • "The best thing was doing the drama because we had to do freeze picture frames!"
  • "My favourite part was the assembly and I loved working with you."

Anansi & Turtle

Key Stage 1 at Our Lady and St Kenelm's in Halesowen are really into Minibeasts - so what better than to enjoy a few Anansi stories! After singing and laughing together we set about retelling the story of how clever Turtle got his own back on greedy Anansi with some really colourful puppets - and the children used brilliant character voices too!

Back to Top Toy Island!

When children are asleep where do their favourite toys go? Top Toy Island is the answer!

Over a single week with the class of 30, Ian helps them to create puppets representing their cuddly toys; a maze depicting scenes from the island's town, jungle and seaside; recordings of music and stories. The work is celebrated in a half hour assembly where the children take parents and other pupils on a guided tour of Top Toy Island's sights and sounds.

Would your school like to discover the delights of the Island? Get in touch!

Listen to recordings made by Nursery children at Highters Heath Primary:


recorded using Garage Band



Gong Hay Fat Choy!

Celebrate Chinese New Year in style! 2019 will be the year of the Pig! Our Chinese New Year story and craft sessions are getting more and more popular - If you'd like to book Puppet Tree for 2019 then click the Fu for Luck!

Church Lench Primary dancing their Dragon!

"Ian was a true professional. Great for reception- he made the session very visual, used actions to support his talking and had a great relationship with the children! The children loved it!!!!" Scargill Infants

"The kids, and adults, loved it! One boy in my class said you were amazing and he wished you could come home with him to tell him stories!" Church Lench PS

"Fantastic session - children were directly involved in all activities and had lots of fun. Great energy and lots of cross curricular links were made. The children loved it!" Streetsbrook Infants

Mystery Detectives

Designed to boost literacy and spoken word confidence, this adventurous project has Super Sleuth Ian helping the class to investigate a mystery. Why is the playground littered with metal junk? Why do things keep disappearing from round the school? Who are the strange new staff - Mrs Mars, Mr Mercury, Venus Orbit and Neptune Comet - and why do they all look similar? Working in Detective Teams the children gather evidence, interview suspects, make video appeals, act out scenarios, compile evidence books, form theories and in their end of term assembly reveal their startling conclusions to the whole school!

Contact Ian to discuss how your school could benefit!

"Puppet Tree were excellent at working with the objectives requested. They provided the children with an excellent basis for stimulating writing later on in the week’s literacy lessons." Yr 3 Teacher, Highter's Heath

"Ian, thank you for coming and doing stuff I hope you can come again very soon. We are nicking your song!" Year 3 pupil

African Adventures

As a child Ian lived in Ghana and Nigeria, and visited Tanzania & Botswana - so he's delighted to be sharing stories, dance and drumming from the various cultures of West and East Africa in schools workshops throughout the West Midlands. With so many schools developing links with African schools, there's no better way to enthuse pupils than to enjoy the vibrant tales and sounds of the continent. Bring your world into fun focus and contact Ian today.

Goso the teacher - a tale from Tanzania

Digging for dinosaurs

We're having a dinosaur picnic - but can't remember what they eat! Does Dippy the Diplodocus like meat? Is Trixie the Triceratops a picky eater? And what does Terry T. rex like to nibble? Ian's dinosaur workshop starts off with a dilemma for the children to help solve and the action never stops; Brontosaurus stomping songs, creating Raptor Raps and finally excavating a whole baby T Rex skeleton keep everybody learning to love these amazing reptiles. Discover dinosaurs today!

Digging for bones at Worcester Home Educator Group

Story & Puppet making

Ian is always delighted to be invited back again! For St Kenelm's ArtsWeek Year 1 learnt the Australian aborigine story 'How the birds got their colours' and made wonderful puppets to retell it for each other - all in just 90 minutes! Reception had fun with The Three Lilltle Pigs and produced some wonderful straw, stick and brick pigs!

"We had a brilliant day!"

Puppet Tree is taking folk dancing & drama into primary schools and giving children (& staff!) a day to remember. Traditional dance, drama and folk music add real value to your focus on British Culture & British Values, giving every child from nursery to Year 6 the chance to experience folk dance and learn about the music and traditions associated with it. As an experienced Morris dancer and ceilidh caller, Ian provides a rich and varied insight into our nation's dancing heritage. Get dancing today!

"Every child in the school, from nursery to Year 6, had a fantastic experience. A great chance for the children to experience live music and dance together.""

In the shadows - for good!

"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house..." A brand new presentation of the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore entertained visitors at Worcester Victorian Fayre - ideal for outdoor events throughout the winter.

I am Ra!

Bring ancient Egyptian creation myths to life, telling tales of Ra, Osiris, Thoth, Sekhmet and Nut using masks, music, shadow puppets and drama & present the stories to other classes to tremendous applause!


The Destiny Project links to school's emphasis on British Values by encouraging pupils to think about what makes different cultures and countries tick. Working in groups children invent a whole new continent with three very different countries in it. How are they govenrned? What do they eat? What strange sports do they play, who are their heroes and what's on TV? How will the citizens react when they are hit by a challenge like natural disaster or a man-made accident? The final performance can include dance, drama and readings from the children's Destiny Diaries.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Ian spent an amazing three days at Moons Moat First School sharing the story and helping all three KS1 classes to make puppets. They then used the 'bare bones' of the story to create their own tales of adventure, involving witches, bulls, genies and magic stew!