This scheme enabled a doctoral student or early career academic researcher to do a short-term work placement with a company from within London’s Creative Economy. Below are examples of placements that Creativeworks London has funded. More information about the scheme can be found here.

PHD-In-Residence Scheme

Movingstage Marionette Company and Nenagh Watson from The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama

SME Partner

Stanley Middleton, Movingstage Marionette Company

PhD Student/Early Career Researcher

Nenagh Watson, The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama


Dr Andrew Redford, The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama

Project Name

Out of the Shoe Box

Project Description

Out of the Shoe Box started as an examination of the Movingstage Marionette Company’s archive, a collection which was literally donated to them in a shoe box. Working with the archive, once owned by the influential theatre designer, director and actor, Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), Nenagh Watson looked to assess the collection, explore potential for its translation into an exhibition and whether it could be used to raise the profile of the Movingstage Marionette Company and The Puppet Theatre Barge, placing them on the heritage and tourism map.

The residency consisted of two main activities. On the 14th of October 2014 the residency hosted Creative Banter, in front of a live audience twelve puppets from Edward Gordon Craig’s collection were shown to internationally recognised experts who attempted to discern their origin. The event was a considerable success helping the Movingstage Marionette Company develop an understanding of their archive, whilst establishing new relationships between The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and important figures. Lasting connections have been made with Paolo Parmiggiani of the Ferrari Museum, John McCormick of Trinity College Dublin and Michael Dixon, archivist of The British Puppetry and Model Theatre Guild.

Alongside the Creative Banter event Watson conducted a series of audience surveys at three events, one at the Creative Banter event, another at the Sir Gavin family performance, and the third at an annual invite only ‘scratch’ performance evening called Argy Bargy. The survey has provided an invaluable evaluation tool with the potential to guide future planning and will serve as an evidence base for future funding bids.

Thanks to the residency the Movingstage Marionette Company has been about to establish contact with the Hackney Museum, who have expressed interest in staging and exhibition, and made contact with Catherine Haill, a curator in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Theatre & Performance Department. The Movingstage Marionette Company has been approached by the British Union International de la Marionette Association to host a book launch event.

Thanks to Watson’s work the Movingstage Marionette Company has been able to update their business plan to include the archive as a valuable asset. The residency partnership has also expressed interest in working together again and developing the Creative Banter event model.


Picture credit: Paul Hayes

Queen Mary - University of London
Arts & Humanities Research Council
European Union
London Fusion

Creativeworks London is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.