About Us

Board of Trustees

Interested in joining the Norwich Puppet Theatre Board of Trustees? We are currently looking for new Trustees, especially those with a special interest in our corporate relations with local businesses.  Click here for more details.


 Nic Hopkins, Chair 

A determined and senior business and project management professional with over 30 years experience at the heart of organisational change and service transformation in government. His key strengths throughout that time have involved managing people, budgets, change, programmes and projects.  His core domains of expertise have been ICT, stakeholder, workplace and  programme management.

Since retiring as a full-time senior civil servant with the Office of Government Commerce in HM Treasury in July 2008, he has pursued a mixed portfolio of activities as a voluntary trustee, as a management consultant and on home and family based activities.

As Executive Chair of Norwich Puppet Theatre he has led a programme of artistic renaissance and business change, and this has seen the theatre’s return to developing original productions, touring, and an expanding range of educational services.  This period of business change has also seen an expansion of capacity to undertake our work, with the recruitment and appointment of a Director, and Education and Marketing Officers.

As owner of misternic ltd, and in his role as a management consultant, he has worked as an accredited and experienced High Risk Gateway Review Team Leader. This has involved independent peer review assessments of major high-risk government projects in road and rail transport, international sporting  events, procurement and shared services, business change, financial services and information systems.


picture of Nikki Gray - female board memberNikki Gray, Hon Treasurer

Nikki is a Chartered Accountant, having qualified with Ernst & Young in Ipswich and London in 1995.

Following qualification, she worked in the Lloyd’s insurance market in London and then in the energy sector, but since 2001, has undertaken a variety of roles in Aviva.  Whilst her professional roots remain firmly grounded in Finance, Nikki has significant senior experience leading teams across Sales, Planning and Marketing functions, and is currently building a new digital solution for Aviva’s small business customers.

A people-friendly, pragmatic thinker, Nikki thrives on solving problems for customers and colleagues alike.  Nikki is also a member of the City College Norwich Audit Committee.


 Marion Catlin

Marion has been involved with Norwich Puppet Theatre in some way or another over many years, most recently in her role as cultural development officer for Norwich City Council. She became particularly involved in 2008 when core funding was cut and Norwich Puppet Theatre was in a very difficult situation and needed help from stakeholders to fight their way back.

Since leaving Norwich City Council two years ago, she has become a trustee and continues to offer whatever support she can usually in terms of marketing, relationship building and opportunities for development whilst running her own freelance business. 

Her main attributes are in project management, networking, negotiating and making connections as well as practical skills of graphic design, marketing and social media, and a commitment to developing and promoting Norwich as a city of culture, including all its distinctive assets - which includes Norwich Puppet Theatre.


 Suzie Hanna

Professor Suzie Hanna is Chair of Animation Education at Norwich University of the Arts. She is an animator who collaborates with other academics and artists, and whose research interests include animation, poetry, puppetry and sound design. She has made numerous short films all of which have been selected for international festival screenings, TV broadcast or exhibited in curated or theatrical shows. She contributes to journals, books and conferences, and has led several innovative projects including animated online international student collaborations and digital exhibitions of art and poetry on Europe's largest public HiDef screen. She works as a production consultant and as an international academic examiner, is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, secretary of the Executive of NAHEMI (National Association for Moving Image in Higher Education), a long term member of ASIFA and an active board member of Norwich Puppet Theatre. 



 Debbie-lee Pinching

Norwich born and RADA trained, Debbie-lee began her association with the Norwich Puppet Theatre when she stage managed the 1985 production of Pinocchio. Since then she has worked at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, the Unicorn Children's Theatre, the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, the Palace Theatre, Watford and the RSC.

She is a committee member of Fine Cell Work and has been on the board of the Norwich Puppet Theatre since 2008.


 Mark Pitman

Mark Pitman is co-director of Garlic Theatre. It is a visual theatre company that uses image, puppet animation, movement and live music to create theatre productions.

Mark worked as a model maker before training in mime and movement with Desmond Jones and attending Jacques Lecoq’s school in Paris. He has studied leather mask making with Donato Sartori in Italy.

In 1995 Mark became a part-time tutor for puppetry and manipulation and construction at the Central School for Speech and Drama in London for six years.

During the last 17 years, Garlic Theatre has toured both nationally and internationally. Their puppet productions have been performed in international festivals in 15 countries outside the UK including Brazil, Singapore and Taiwan, winning 5 awards.


Man's head and shoulders Tim Bell

Tim trained as an actor at Webber Douglas. In 2008 he bumped into Harry Long in a rusty old tour bus and with a little help from their friends decided to form Shanty Theatre. Since then he’s appeared in Smugglers, written for Rebel Harbour and Griselda’s Grandad, directed for Salty Socks, A Rat’s Tale, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Story Giant and has made tea for most of the bits in between. Other companies have been foolish enough to let him direct their shows too, most notably the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Wassail.

As an actor, Tim appeared in on film, stage and television. He is developing a one-man show (where he plays a bearded lady) in association with Bristol Old Vic. When he’s not wearing his Shanty hat he’s programmer for Pound Arts in Corsham.

Tim is in the process of moving back to Norfolk, where he hopes to combine his passion for rural arts with his love of his home county.


male head and shoulders picture Sam Whewall

Sam is currently undertaking postgraduate research in the University of East Anglia’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning, with a focus on the involvement of disadvantaged young people in the arts. He relocated to Norwich in the summer of 2015 after leaving his role as an education liaison coordinator for the University of Lincoln and originally hails from Yorkshire. His previous roles have involved marketing, communications and educational outreach.

Sam has worked as a musical director for two theatre charities in Yorkshire, has performed with the Lamproom Theatre’s various companies and is an accomplished pianist and saxophonist, spending several years playing with the Dearne Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Dearne Big Band.


Female face with forest/hills background Lis Jennings

Lis currently works as Head of Communications at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, a role she has been in since late 2013. Prior to this, she worked as Head of Marketing & Sales at the Almeida Theatre in London. 

Lis has over 15 years experience working in marketing and communications within the arts and has worked across a variety of artforms and events including theatre, dance, music, circus, large public events and small scale festivals in producing venues, for touring companies, at an art college and at an arts marketing agency.

Lis studied English & American Literature at UEA, graduating in 1999, and is enjoying settling back in to Norwich.

You can book tickets online for this event via the UEA ticket office*, or by phone through our box office.

  • Book Offline
  • Book Online

*Please note that an additional booking fee will be added to the ticket price