Playboard Puppets was founded in 1971, when two young puppeteers, John Thirtle and Ian Allen, decided to join forces. It grew from small scale productions in libraries and parks to spectacular large scale theatre shows, making Playboard Puppets the leading touring puppet theatre in the country.

Playboard was the first puppet company to be awarded an annual grant by Arts Council England. From 1982 to 1994 the company toured with Button Moon the live show. A brand new show based on the popular ITV children’s series was produced every year. They all featured the Spoon family who fly to Button Moon where they have adventures with other puppet characters – all made from plastic bottles, wooden spoons and even plastic bananas!

Playboard Puppets have made frequent appearances on other TV programmes and commercials including:

TV contributions include: Playschool, Rainbow, T-Bag, Are you Awake Yet, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Who Dares Wins, Morecambe and Wise Show, That’s Life, Spitting Image and the award winning Drop the Dead Donkey.

Film contributions include: The Muppets, Dark Crystal and The Muppets Christmas Carol.


The Button Moon Trust now holds Creative Puppet Training Courses at the Black Barn in Norfolk. the courses are designed for anyone who wants to explore the amazing world of puppetry, while you are surrounded by some of the UK’s most memorable puppet characters.

Courses are also held to aid people living with Autism or associated disorders. Please contact us if you would like to know more or have thoughts on a specific course. We are here to help.

The Button Moon Trust is a registered charity (Charity No. 1167152) and is managed by a Board of Trustees.

LIVE at the Palace Theatre Tibenham

The Spoon Family
Sleeping princess
The Snoring Princess