Corina Bona, puppeteer

 9 October 2012

Corina Bona has designed puppets, costumes and sets for stage plays, tours and a children's TV pilot. Her first job was as set designer for a circus company.

"I'm always looking out for opportunities to use my maker skills in productions where puppets need to be made."


I'm from Bristol.

What job do you do?

I'm a self-employed puppeteer, puppet maker and workshop facillitator.

What previous jobs in theatre have you done?

Throughout my career in theatre, I've had to take on part-time work in other jobs to make ends meet.

My first paid job in theatre was as a set designer at the Harbourside Festival for Cirque Bijou, a Bristol-based circus company.

My first puppet-making role was making and designing for a stage adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'George’s Marvellous Medicine'. It was for a Switzerland-based company called Simply Theatre.

Over the years, I've performed as a puppeteer, and worked as a lighting and sound technician at the University of the West of England. I've also been a set and costume designer.

What qualifications do you have?

I became interested in theatre as a child when I first moved to England from Argentina. I got involved in Stagecoach stage school and in my school productions.

I did a first degree in cultural media studies and drama from the University of the West of England.  

"I'm always looking out for opportunities to use my maker skills in productions where puppets need to be made."

I found myself leaning towards design and backstage work, and friend who was a technician pointed me towards the postgraduate theatre design course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Between my first and postgraduate degrees, I did a six-month apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House in Geneva. I spent a month each in the different departments of carpentry, marketing, wardrobe, wigs and shoes, stage management and prop-making.

I'm now part of a training scheme run by Green Ginger in Bristol. It provides funding to train people involved in puppetry to a higher level.

Through my involvement, I've completed several short courses and workshops in specific styles of puppetry and puppet-making.

What do you do at work?

Where possible, I like to be devising and creating puppetry performances. I use my blog to to let people know about the work I do both as a puppeteer and workshop facilitator.

I'm always looking out for opportunities to use my maker skills in productions where puppets need to be made.

I also run workshops to promote the use of puppetry in education.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Creating characters and narratives that engage with audiences.

And the worst thing about the job?

The uncertainty of the pay. 

How do I get into theatre?

Get involved at a starting level. Maybe get a job as an assistant stage manager in a youth theatre.

This industry is all about who you know, so start getting to know people at a young age.

Also, it's important to get to know your strengths and abilities early on so that you can train up in areas that require specific skillsets.

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