A former cleansing department depot in Glasgow is home to a unique organisation that aims to celebrate the art of puppetry and take it forward into the future
I remember as a child settling down each day to watch Button Moon. The kids’ TV programme was a puppet show where all the characters, based on kitchen utensils, set off for adventures in space. Mr Spoon was (you’ve guessed it) fashioned with wooden spoon arms and a margarine tub for a head. His daughter Tina was mostly teaspoon, and an egg cup portrayed her friend Eggbert. Looking back, it was a primitive production, nothing like the kind of thing that children enjoy today. But the underlying appeal of Button Moon was timeless: it told a good story.
More than three decades on, in a small room in north-west Glasgow whose walls are lined with books dedicated to the art of puppetry, I’m sitting across the table from one of the show’s creators. Dr Malcolm Knight, founder of the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, is an actor, teacher, archivist and maker of puppets and masks. Button Moon, he tells me, was his first gig, and the start of a long and eventful career.
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Photography Neale Smith
Art Direction Gillian Welsh
Words Catherine Coyle