Q&A: The Puppeteers from Father Christmas

    Q&A: The Puppeteers from Father Christmas

    Peyvand Sadeghian and Toby Manley are the highly skilled puppeteers in Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, co-produced by the Lyric Hammersmith and Bristol’s Pins and Needles and brought to you in digital partnership with us, here at Tobacco Factory Theatres.

    From the magic of puppetry to Brussel sprout farts, here’s a little more from Peyvand and Toby!

    If you could choose a favourite puppet in the show, which one would you choose and why? 

    Peyvand: I really like lil Raymond who spots Father Christmas from the window! He’s SO EXCITED and that will be a memory for life (that no one else will believe).

    Toby: Well, I know I’m biased but my favourite puppet is the dog. He’s so playful, energetic, fun….and a little bit naughty!

    How did you first get into puppetry?

    Peyvand: I’ve always enjoyed watching puppetry but it never occurred to me that as an actor I could also be a puppeteer. I did a show where I had to learn a bit of it and afterwards wanted to do more. I was living near the Little Angel Theatre at the time and started learning through them.

    Toby: As a child I often played with my toys whilst making characterful voices, and I loved watching anything by Jim Henson on the TV. As an adult my first puppeteering job (many years ago now!) was to puppeteer ‘Charlie’ in Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play at the Polka Theatre. Which was a great experience!

    What’s the one thing you wish people knew about puppetry?

    Peyvand: It’s not just for kids! And that’s not the way the rest of the world sees puppetry either. It’s for anyone with an imagination.

    Toby: How happy it makes us puppeteers to see the joy puppets bring to people and especially to children.

    Without giving away too much – what is the most magical moment in the show?

    Peyvand:  When it’s the dead of night on Christmas Eve….

    Toby: For me, it’s undoubtedly Father Christmas’ mode of transportation which is the most magical moment. So, you’ll have to watch, wait, and see!

    What are you asking Father Christmas for this year?

    Peyvand: I’ll be asking him to leave a present for my cats as well and not to step on them when he visits.  They’re two black cats that have a habit of tripping you up in the dark!

    Toby: I’ll be happy with whatever Father Christmas might gift me….assuming I’m not on the naughty list!

    What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

    Peyvand: All the smells ! (Apart from Brussel sprout farts)

    Toby: Honestly, I love all of it. All. Of. It! However, if I had to choose then spending time with my family is definitely my favourite part.

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