El Premio Gorgorito es un galardón que entrega UNIMA Madrid con el apoyo de la Consejería de Cultura y Deporte de la Comunidad de Madrid y la colaboración de UNIMA Federación España a la trayectoria de una persona en el campo del teatro de títeres.

Penny Francis (United Kingdom)

Biography in summary:

Penny Francis M.B.E. (1931 - ) trained as an actor, and worked as such 1950-1956. 1954 married Derek Francis, actor: two daughters. From 1961 became involved with puppetry and puppeteers, recognising the artistry of several young practitioners in a profession then disregarded by the arts world. Co-founded the Puppet Centre Trust in 1974, and as its manager and General Secretary initiated a wide-ranging programme of events, projects, publications and P.R. designed to raise the profile and status of the art form and to attract statutory funding to innovative professional work. Edited the magazine Animations for sixteen years. Awarded M.B.E. for services to puppetry 1998. Tutor in puppetry at the Central School of Speech and Drama since 1992.

Curriculum Vitae: Penny Francis M.B.E.
Lecturer and international consultant in puppetry


2003 – 2010 Puppetry tutor and international consultant to Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London)

2008 – member of UNIMA’s Cooperation Commission

2003 – 2010 Honorary Secretary, Puppet Centre Trust

2000-2002 Chair, Puppet Centre Trust

2000-2004 - President of Publications and Communications Commission, UNIMA international. Editor; UNIMA International Newsletter

2000-2004 - member of Executive Committee of international UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette)

1995-2003, co-designer of M.A. and B.A. Theatre Practice courses with puppetry option, and staff tutor for Central School’s M.A. in Advanced Theatre Practice.

1992-1995 Central School of Speech and Drama, London, designer and Tutor of Puppetry Advanced Postgraduate Diploma

1996 - 2010 : Councillor, UNIMA

1992 - 2010 Board Member, Puppet Centre Trust

1985 - 1991 - Board member, Polka Theatre, Wimbledon

1974-1992 - co-founder, fundraiser and General Secretary, Puppet Centre Trust (based in Battersea Arts Centre), a promotion and development agency for the arts of puppetry

1979 & 1984 - organiser of two major international festivals staged in sixteen London theatres and exhibition venues, with regional tours.

1975 -1992 - Editor, Animations magazine

1972 co-organiser of first festival of British contemporary puppet theatre throughout the borough of Camden, London

1970 – 2010: member of UNIMA and then Committee of British Centre of UNIMA, now Vice-Chair

Academic work

“Puppetry” a Reader and sourcebook commissioned by Palgrave Macmillan due to be published early 2011

Theatre and puppetry researcher, lecturer, essayist: articles in various periodicals in several countries (Brazil, Czech republic, France, Poland)

Essay ‘Lorca and the Curse of the Butterfly’ in ‘Symbolism and the Marionette Theatre’ publ’d 2003, Ed. Mellen Press, USA.

Editor of British entries for UNIMA’s proposed World Encyclopaedia of Puppetry Arts (EMAM, the French edition to be published 2006) Linguistic Editor of the sequential English edition (no date for publication).

October, 2002 - Keynote speaker at Puppetry and Animatronics Summit, Melbourne, Australia

2000 - contributor (Essay: A Brief Overview of Contemporary Practice) and Linguistic Editor of “The Worldwide Art of Puppetry: UNIMA 2000”, I.I.M. Publications, France

1999 public lecture at Munich Stadtmuseum: “Puppetry in the Essential Lorca”.

1999 article: “The Obraztsov Influence” published in “Puppetry International” USA.

1996 and 1998 - Collaborating Editor: “A History of European Puppetry” Vols. I and II by Henryk Jurkowski. Edwin Mellen Press, N.Y.

1998 - open lecture, London, published by British Centre of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette): “The Rise of the Puppeteer”.

1998 - Chair: Critical Practice open debate No.4 produced by Total Theatre: “Animation - Object, Puppetry, Mask, Body”. BAC (Battersea Arts Centre), London

1996 - paper given at Conference on The Marionette in the Symbolist Era held at the Anna Akhmatova Museum in St.Petersburg: Lorca and The Curse of the Butterfly. Published 2003, see above.

1988 - Collaborating Editor: Aspects of Puppet Theatre, a collection of essays by Henryk Jurkowski. Puppet Centre Trust, London.

Various articles and essays, also papers given at international and national conferences and symposia.

Has travelled very widely to observe, review and comment on puppetry.


Born 1931, educated privately in India and England, including Cheltenham Ladies College; cut short degree studies in Spanish and French at Kings College London to become an actor. Married Derek Francis, actor, (1923-1984).
Main interests: theatre, puppetry, reading, linguistics, people, international affairs