Islington puppet theatre founder honoured

The founder of a puppet theatre is among the long list of gifted Islington residents awarded New Year’s Honours by the Queen.

Lyndie Wright, 74, has been made an MBE for her services to the craft of puppetry, following in the footsteps of her late husband John with whom she set up the Little Angel Theatre in Dagmar Passage, Islington, in 1961, in a derelict temperance hall.

The award for Mrs Wright came at the end of a milestone 50th anniversary year for the magical theatre – now a charitable trust – where she remains an integral part of everyday life, working harder than ever crafting the intricate hand-made puppets.

She said: “It is a wonderful thing and I just feel amazingly grateful to still be able to work. In so many jobs people have to retire and can’t go on. It always feels important, when you get to my age, to teach other people because someone else has got to follow the work.

“Maybe one of our greatest contributions at the Little Angel has been to set standards for people. My husband was a wonderful craftsman and this is for him too.”

Mrs Wright, who still lives next to the theatre, continued: “I think a lot of people have probably been influenced by us over the years.

“All the time we are getting letters from people who saw shows as children and have become actors, directors and puppeteers after being so excited by that first introduction.

Most Read

“Had it not been for us I’m sure puppetry would still be doing well, but a lot of the things that are happening in the industry are through the Little Angel. So many of the puppeteers in the big shows have trained with us over the years.”

Mr Wright worked until the age of 84 and Mrs Wright said she is showing no signs of stopping either.

Peter Glanville, artistic director of Little Angel, said: “We are all thrilled at Lyndie’s achievement in receiving this prestigious award. Working with her on THE TEMPEST and many other shows has been a high point of my six years at Little Angel.”

Theatre manager Lynette Shanbury added: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Lyndie has received this recognition. 50 years ago she and her husband set up the Little Angel Theatre and it is still going strong.

“She is still designing and making extraordinary puppets and mentoring the new puppet makers of tomorrow. She thoroughly deserves this honour.”