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Lyric life

Meet the Father Christmas Company – Toby Manley

For our  production of Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas we worked with some amazing freelance artists who brought the story to life so we could stream it online.

Many of the characters from the show are puppets, operated by our two talented puppeteers and we spoke to one of them Toby Mabley to learn more –


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

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


2) How did you first get into puppetry?

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!


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

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


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

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!


5) What are you asking Father Christmas for this year?

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


6) How is prep for filming Father Christmas going?

It’s going great! It’s very exciting to be working on this show to make it the best it can be for everyone watching!


7) How do you think the show will be different this year?

Well, filming the show comes with some brilliant benefits. So, even if you’ve seen the show in the theatre previously – this time the audience will have new perspectives like never before!


8) What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

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.


Book your ticket to see Toby in Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas here