Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)


The award-winning Theatre-Rites pioneers new approaches in theatre for children and adults, creating experiences that families can share together. Since 1995, Theatre-Rites has been stirring the imaginative lives of adults and children, creating touring productions in theatres and site-specific shows in places as diverse as an empty house, an old tidal mill, a dusty cellar, a hospital and a disused corner shop. The company is committed to creating challenging productions that push the boundaries of theatrical form by experimenting to combine different artistic disciplines.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £239,004
  • 2013-2014: £244,501
  • 2014-2015: £250,858

Video feed


Theatre-Rites, Polka Theatre and Theater der Welt London, UK: May 2005 / Stuttgart, Germany: June–July 2005 Funded by the Wellcome Trust. Deep inside an ordinary hospital hides an extraordinary place... Audiences were guided through a series of rooms magically transformed by performance, object puppetry and installation. Drawing on children’s fascination with the game of doctors and nurses, this unique performance turned the hospital environment into a playful and enchanting place.

Sue Buckmaster: The Puppet Whisperer

One puppet whisperer, one puppeteer and a curious collection of puppets… Sue Buckmaster, one of the UK’s leading puppetry practitioners and Artistic Director of Theatre-Rites has created an evening of live un-rehearsed, improvised puppetry. Originally co-produced with The Little Angel Theatre

Recycled Rubbish

Designed for schools and community spaces - Come and join our two excavators as they scuttle through the muck finding treasures hidden amongst a world of rubbish. A magical world where, at the touch of a puppeteer’s hand, the contents of a bin bag can transform before your eyes. Directed by Elgiva Field and Sue Buckmaster, with music by Jessica Dannheisser. It’s a beautiful, silly and inventive world that will engage families with themes of recycling and the environment and introduce them to some amazing puppetry. Recycled Rubbish was inspired by our hugely successful production Rubbish, which toured this year to UK theatres and was also featured on Blue Peter. “it is precious, and profound, and playfully inspiring” Total Theatre “Trash heap puppetry to transfix the kids” The Guardian

Show 21 more videos

The Lost Glove

It’s that time of year when gloves get lost, and found… The short film was inspired by the delightful nimbled fingered puppetry from our London stage show ‘Rubbish’ and tells the adventure of The Lost Glove. (3 mins. 50 secs).

The Lost Glove

Coming soon Theatre-Rites and Lizzie Oxby present The Lost Glove


Commissioned by the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival in July 1998. Directed by Sue Buckmaster and Graeme Miller, designed by Sophia Lovell-Smith. An old tidal mill on Three Mills Island in Bow was the setting for Millworks, which looks at the cycle of life and death through the symbolic imagery of the milling process. Each part of the process is represented by a puppet, from the cutting of the wheat right through to the making of bread. The beautiful old wooden building creates a dream-like landscape where the ghosts from the past re-enact their daily rituals and each puppet is destroyed to signify the transformation of the next part of the process.

Sleep Tight

Created by Sue Buckmaster and Sophia Clist. Imagine a world filled with mattresses, pillows and duvets -- a cosy, soft and intimate environment where a grown-up is on his way to bed. He enters a dream landscape as the bed takes on its own life force and two moon spirits magically transform the pillows into puppets and characters of the night. "Anyone with a small child should make this show a priority, but so should anyone with any kind of interest in the possibilities of theatre. It is a real peach." The Guardian

The Lost and Moated Land

Directed in 1998 by Penny Bernand and Sue Buckmaster, designed by Sophia Clist, The Lost and Moated Land was inspired by Robert Graves' poem "Through Nightmare" and invited under 5's to experience the story of a hero's mythical journey as a child searches for his most precious possession, a star. "This is big theatre for little people" The Guardian

Bank On It 2013

BANK ON IT, a site-specific production for ages 5+ "Theatre-Rites, a company of genuine originality and flair" - The Guardian "Rich in humour and humanity" - The Telegraph "A delightful, stunningly visually inventive show. Worth every penny" - Time Out Bank On It in Autumn 2013 is co-commissioned by Theatre-Rites, Warwick Arts Centre and the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Bank On It was originally co-commissioned by the Barbican and Create London


Imagine a world that celebrates its Rubbish. Touring production for ages 5 plus. Director Sue Buckmaster, Designer Lise Marker, Composer Jessica Dannheisser, Lighting Designer William Reynolds, Puppetry Designers Yvonne Stone and Sue Buckmaster. Performed by Charlotte Duberry, Mohsen Nouri, Simon Palmer and Edward Wren. A Theatre-Rites co-production with Warwick Arts Centre, in association with artsdepot

Final day of rehearsals

What's in the bag?

Rubbish rehearsals

a little snapshot from our rehearsals for Rubbish, accompanied by music from Jessica Dannheisser. Further information on the tour of Rubbish can be found at We open at artsdepot, London on 15th February

Theatre-Rites Immersive and site-specific experiences

Snapshots from all our immersive, site-specific family events; from forests of light to corner houses coming to life, these images have been created by an incredible range of artists.


Music and puppetry show co-produced by Theatre-Rites, the Barbican and the Salzburg Festival. Created in December 2011 for the Barbican by director Sue Buckmaster, choreographer and co-director Arthur Pita, set and lighting designer Peter Mumford and composers and live musicians Adriano Adewale and Leo Altarelli.

Mojo final week of rehearsals

a glimpse of what's in store - Barbican, London 16 to 31 December.

Mojo Rehearsals

some clips from our rehearsals for Mojo - at the Barbican this Christmas 16 to 31 December


Theatre-Rites first immersive, site-specific production directed by Penny Bernand and Sue Buckmaster in 1996, for LIFT.

MOJO accompanied by the sounds of Adriano Adewale

a new family show co-produced by the Barbican, Theatre-Rites & Salzburg Festival. Created by director Sue Buckmaster and choreographer and co-director Arthur Pita - the award winning team who brought you Mischief. A mix of dance, puppetry and live music composed and played live by Adriano Adewale and Leo Altarelli. Mojo will take us on a journey through the magic and mayhem of growing up. Filmed by Zak Ezatti


Paradise :  created by Sue Buckmaster, Jeremy Herbert, Luca Silvestrini, Nick Powell and Anna Watson. An epic, immersive family experience designed and installed in the Mischanlage, part of the Zollverein Kokerei world heritage site. A Theatre-Rites and Ruhrtriennale 2010 production.

Hang On

A co-production between Theatre-Rites, Ockham's Razor and Lyric Hammersmith in association with York Theatre Royal Hang On was directed by Sue Buckmaster, music was composed by Olly Fox, mobile design by Ockham's Razor and object design by Tina Bicat. As a giant mobile tantalizingly appears above the stage, Hang On catapults you into an aerial world of dizzying new thrills where the impossible becomes possible.


promo of Theatre-Rites site-specific production Salt - created in a 4 storey derelict salt factory for the Ruhr Triennale Festival 2008

Lighten Up

Theatre-Rites and Unicorn Theatre co-production


Theatre Rites and Arthur Pita's production of Mischief, music composed and performed by Charlie Winston.

Arts Council England is not responsible for the social media content on this organisation's page

Contact details

Unit EH612, Erlang House, 128
Blackfriars Road

51.498718, -0.10286

  • 51.498718 -0.10286

View all National portfolio organisation and Major partner museums on our interactive map

Seen something out of date?
Tell us