Project information

The Hetty Feather Puppet Show

We would like to harness the affection children have for Hetty Feather with two child-size puppets - Hetty and Gideon - giving families an immersive Museum experience by lantern light to create a way into the 18th-century story of the Hospital and to the art, artefacts and manuscripts on display.

Our intention is to run the show during half terms and holidays from Autumn 2015 for the foreseeable future

Charity information: The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum logo
  • Need


    The majority of children visiting the Museum come because of their love of the Hetty Feather books. However, Hetty is a nineteenth-century foundling and the majority of the Museum's Collections and the origins of the Hospital are eighteenth-century. Furthermore, Hetty appeals particularly to girls, but when families visit they often include brothers who are less familiar with Hetty.


    By having both Hetty and her foster brother Gideon show families around, we can engage both sexes with the art, manuscripts and artefacts on display. Hetty and Gideon can also 'meet' famous people from the Hospital's story like Coram, Hogarth, Handel and Dickens. This will bring the individuals and the stories behind the art and music alive. Much of the fabric of the Museum is original to the eighteenth-century Hospital, the children will be literally walking in the footsteps of the foundlings.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Engage children with the eighteenth-century history and art of the Foundling Hospital.


    » We will stage a high-quality Promenade Bunraku puppet show that will provide provide a thrilling and immersive theatrical experience.

    Through the finished performance, audience feedback in our guest book, online comments and ticket sales statistics.

  • Impact


    The Hetty Feather Puppet Show will provide the museum with a permanent resource for engaging children and families. Wilson continues to write sequels to Hetty Feather which will lead to more generations of children visiting the Museum as the 'home of Hetty Feather'.


    One risk is that we will not achieve further funding from the HLF to enable us to produce the show in time. We hope to mitigate this risk by planning the project well in advance and seeking alternative sources of extra funding in good time.


    We will aim to send out newsletters during the rehearsal process along with photographs of the various stages of production. We will aim to offer significant donors tickets to see the production during it's run.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Production team fees fees for choreographers, light and sound technicians etc.
      £12,600 Performer fees fees for the six performers involved
      £4,000 Making puppets cost of producing two puppets
      £13,000 Lighting, costumes, props etc collecting and making various production materials
      £7,000 Education programme holding special performances for schools with related talks and workshops
      £3,400 Contingency Contingency
  • Background


    The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. Established by Thomas Coram in London in 1739, the Foundling Hospital was supported by artist William Hogarth who encouraged leading artists to donate work, and the composer Handel who gave benefit concerts of the Messiah. The museum continues the legacy of creative philanthropy established by Hogarth and Handel at the Foundling Hospital.


    Comprising almost 22 square kilometres in the heart of London, Camden is a borough of diversity and contrasts and home to the Foundling Museum. Specifically, the Museum is located in the ward of King’s Cross.The mix of social and economic conditions in Camden is like nowhere else in the UK. Camden wards are described as metropolitan, either ‘prospering’ or ‘multicultural’.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Foundling Museum is the home of social engaged artists. We take pride in our ability to enable artists of different disciplines, from authors to puppeteers, to continue the dialogue between children and art. As the birth-place of Hetty Feather, the Foundling Museum is the best place to carry out this project, with a growing audience of children and parents inspired to learn about the history behind Jacqueline Wilson’s book.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Will Tuckett

    Will is an Olivier Award-winning theatrical director and will take the helm of The Hetty Feather Puppet Show.

    Alasdair Middleton

    Alasdair is a librettist and playwright who will write the show.

    Paul Englishby

    Paul is an Emmy Award-winning composer who will write the music to accompany the show.

    Toby Olié

    Having previously worked on the National Theatre's smash hit War Horse, Toby will create the Hetty and Gideon puppets.