About Us

Jacolly Puppet Theatre was formed in 1977 by Jacqueline Ilett and Holly Griffin. Since then we have been based on the edge of Dartmoor, in southwest England, but have toured our shows to theatres, schools and festivals the length and breadth of Britain and much of Canada.

“Their combined talents are formidable: strong acting, craftsmanship, musicality, originality and terrific vitality. Their high ideals show but they are combined with a real feeling for popular entertaining.”
Penny Francis, Animations magazine

Commissions have included shows for Devon County Council, the University of Plymouth and the National Trust.

“..The magic of Jacolly and its menagerie of characters … resulted in a great sense of fun whilst the message was being skillfully
put across … far more successful in saying what needed to be said than hours of speeches. Although this goes somewhat
against the grain in the serious presentation of a national historical monument, we might just forgive you for making so
many visitors happy if you promise to do it again!”

Michael Coxson, The National Trust, Buckland Abbey

Venues performed in have included
Bristol Old Vic, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman
Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre
and the Lyric Hammersmith, Little Angel Theatre & Natural History Museum in London

“A professional team who present their work imaginatively & with verve”
Su Colverd, Cheltenham Everyman

Photo by Derek Adams at the Natural History Museum

We have toured extensively for Canadian arts & education councils
In Britain, tours are regularly sponsored by local authorities to help meet educational remits on
road safety and environmental awareness.

"'Astra and the Waste Monster' has become a central part of our awareness raising activities for 8 to 11 year olds in
Dorset...a powerful and exciting drama that really motivates children to take energy waste seriously."

Mike Petitdemange, Energy Team, Dorset County Council

Funders have included the British Council, Dartmoor National Park, the BBSRC and Arts Council England.

Jack's house (of beanstalk fame)

Past productions have included a fairytale (Jack & the Beanstalk , which toured North America nine times); shows addressing violence (Our Punch Show & The Tale) and saving energy ( Hi Energy ); entertainments demonstrating the basics of puppetry (Puppetorama and Hands Up!); and cabaret (alias Mme Rosa Bottles).

Jacqueline IIett

Jacqueline Ilett

Jac spent her childhood in England and West & East Africa before graduating from Hull University with a degree in German & Drama. But it was in Germany that she discovered the magic of puppetry and so went on to combine acting (in various repertory theatres) with puppeteering for companies that included Polka, DaSilva and the Little Angel Theatre in London. Then, just when she was feeling ready to finally start a puppet company herself, she met Holly ...

Holly Griffin

After three years at Plymouth College of Art & Design, Holly worked in jobs as various as film set design, advertising and teaching people to handle boats. She bought a Tudor house with a shop where she made and sold her own puppets. But then the call of the sea enticed her to sell up and buy a schooner, which her partner and she renovated and sailed to the Mediterranean. It was then that she discovered her true vocation, when she started to perform with some of her puppets that, by chance, had stowed on board!
Holly Griffin