John Dudley Illustration by Peter Peasgood 1998






Bishops Stortford Marionette Club 1949
Bishops Stortford Marionette
Club 1949
Bishops Stortford Marionettes Flyer
Bishops Stortford Marionettes

John aged 16 as Clown Dodo
John aged 16 as
Clown Dodo

1st December 1951
Dear Sir
In reply to your advertisement, could you do a little commission for me?
I should like to know what your charges are for sawing my husband in half.
Yours faithfully
PS:  I trust your advance bookings are not very heavy, as it is urgent.
Early Advertisement
The Caravan Theatre
"The Caravan Theatre is entirely self-contained with own power and amplification system"
The Caravan Theatre
The Caravan Theatre
Haunted Graveyard Scene
Haunted Graveyard Scene - Caravan Theatre

Over 30,000 see Marionette Shows in Swansea Parks

A RECORD crowd of over 30,000 people, mainly children, have seen and enjoyed with wonderment, the novel and entertaining shows presented by John Dudley with his Dudley Marionette Company during the past five weeks in Swansea Parks and Gardens.

The hour-long show is presented from an unusual caravan theatre.  Not only can this bright and colourful show be presented within ten minutes of arriving on site, but conversion to a living van, with hardly a trace of a marionette theatre, is effected within a matter of minutes.

The programme comprises a veritable fantasy on strings with Knights on horseback, a Dutch Scene, singers and dancers, an amusing haunted graveyard scene with dissecting skeletons, the play of "Red Riding Hood" for the younger children and a full Puppet Circus with clowns, seals, acrobats, horses, dogs and a traditional "Grand Turk" who breaks into six smaller puppets.

A first class attraction.
- The Swansea Voice

Drapers Gardens Advertisement
Drapers Gardens Poster
Backstage Drapers Gardens
Backstage Drapers Gardens 1962
Eastbourne Winter Gardens Advert
Winter Gardens Eastbourne Advert
Telegram from Buster Stavordale
Well Wishes from Buster Stavordale
Neptune's Realm
Neptune's Realm

KING NEPTUNE holds court among the fish, an inquisitive dog turns into a link of sausages and skeletons perform a Danse Macabre when John Dudley twitches the strings of his marionette show which opened on Monday at the Winter Gardens Pavilion.  John Dudley and his Assistant, Muriel Shutt, have to cope with 50 puppets and 500 strings in each programme and they make their puppets perform the most delicious and entrancing antics..."

1980s Publicity
1980s Publicity
Colwyn Bay Puppet Festival 1996
John & Cynthia - Colwyn Bay Puppet Festival 1996
Puppet Stamps of the World

Up To Date
Now retired from performing, John occasionally lectures on the history of World Puppetry and exhibits his specialist multi-award-winning stamp collection "Masks, Myths, Mimes and the Evolution of Puppets."


Photographs Courtesy of John Dudley