Yugen Puppet Company performs to theatres, art centres, community venues, and schools.

Alison Monaghan has over 25 years of puppetry experience and also freelances as a performer, puppeteer, puppet designer, puppet maker, director, and illustrator.

Alison also delivers high quality puppet workshops to schools, communities, and teachers.


From the Zen term, the best translation for 'yugen' is beauty which is felt.

In Japanese Noh Theatre yugen is your essence of being - the core from which an actor performs. It was the feeling of beauty that attracted me to the word. When you look at a sunset or anything of beauty it is the feeling inside that is your 'yugen'.

Photo of Me
Alison Monaghan

I wanted to create quality shows that would feel beautiful to an audience. I wanted to suspend disbelief in good puppet manipulation, create magic in the animated shadow images and tell stories that took the viewer to other worlds.

Over the years I have developed my own unique style of puppet storytelling. I spend a lot of time on the design of each puppet. I like to carve heads and use driftwood for arms and legs. I want each puppet to move as freely as possible. I want my puppets to be of high quality and objects of beauty.

In doing a puppet show you must allow your puppets to do what you cannot do, otherwise why not use actors? The puppet has its own unique aesthetic: it can fly, float, disappear and re-appear, command its place within a space. Puppetry is a wonderful visual theatre.

Living and working in Scotland it seemed only right to dedicate the company to re-telling stories from Scotland's rich heritage of myths, legends and tales.


Click on any of the images below to find out more about our range of shows.
Currently touring is The Fisherman and the Seal.

For more information, including pricing and technical requirements, please contact us.

                  When a young princess is given the chance to find her destiny by opening the back door of a witch's house, she does not hesitate. But when her destiny appears in the form of a fierce and menacing black bull she wishes she hadn't.<p> Told with hand carved puppets, moving shadow scapes, and Scottish music, Yugen Puppet Company re-tells another Scottish fairy tale classic. <p> 'The Black Bull of Norroway', toured schools in Scotland in 1998 and was part of 'The Puppet Animation Festival Scotland', in 2001 and 2008.
In times gone by when fairies and elves were part of every day life, there once was a story about a brownie. Now in Scotland a brownie was a helpful elf, who was always on the look out to do a good turn. Our story takes us to a little farm on the edge of Glen Fern where one day the brownie saved the day. Told with colourful fabric puppets in a quilted fabric set, this simple, gentle story is told with live music, song and audience participation.<br><br>
                  'The Elf of Glen Fern' has been performed to nurseries and playgroups in South Lanarkshire, from 2009 to 2011, and at the Puppet Animation Festival in 2012.<br><br>
                  <p><I>'The children really enjoyed the show. The storyteller was brilliant with the children. It was brilliant.'</I><br>     - Jack and Jill Nursery, South Lanarkshire.
                  <p><I>'How can you improve on perfection?'</I><br>     - Wombles Pre-fives, South Lanarkshire.
The Fisherman and the Seal was created with the support of the Quality Production award from Creative Scotland. Alison Monaghan of Yugen Puppet Company collaborated with Gerry Mulgrew (director), Fabrizio Montecchi (shadow director), Jim Harbourne (music), Peter Graham (designer) and Iain Halket (puppeteer/designer).
                  <p> The show first toured in 2015, and featured in The Puppet Animation Festival Scotland in 2016 and 2017. We also performed it in 2016 at the International Puppet Festival in Izmir, Turkey.
                  <p>This show is suitable for ages 5+ and is a great family show which lasts 45 minutes.
A wicked stepmother, a beautiful princess and an all knowing, all telling magical trout - just the ingredients needed for a fairy tale. This Scottish 'Snow White' is told with hand carved puppets, striking shadow silhouettes and traditional story telling, with a Scottish soundscape accompaniment.<br>
                  'Little Princess Goldtree' toured schools in Scotland in 1997 and was part of the Puppet Animation Festival Scotland 2003. A revamped version toured in 2014 and 2015, using objects from the attic to retell the tale.
When Fingal - the hero of our story - is given a magic horse, his life changes forever.  The horse takes him to a prince, who tells him to fetch a princess, who in turn sends him on a number of quests. But who will marry the princess - Fingal or the prince?
                  <br><br> In this Scottish fairy tale, Yugen uses storytelling with audience involvement. Children become courtiers, mountains and magnificent castles. Puppets move through human forests, fields and snapping crocodile waters. <p>This show uses cloth puppets in a setting of patchwork trees, fields and sky and has an original Scottish soundtrack. <p>'The Magic Horse' was part of the Puppet Animation Festival Scotland in 2002, 2004, 2009, 2013, and 2017. It has also been performed to schools, nurseries and playgroups in South Lanarkshire from 2007 to the present day.
                  <br><br><I>'Another of Yugen's charming adaptations from our rich heritage of Scottish traditional tales'. </I> <br>- Simon Hart, Puppet Animation Scotland.
                  <p><I>'It was brilliant. The children were all completely taken in ... the whole experience was uplifting'.</I><br> - Librarian, Dundee City Council.
When a jealous stepmother changes Katherine's sister into an ugly sheep head. Katherine and her sister set off to find a cure, but in doing so Katherine finds someone else to help as well.
                  <p>Using hand carved puppets, shadow images and traditional music, Yugen Puppet Company re-tells another Scottish tale.
                  <p>Katherine and the Fairy Hill, was part of The Puppet Animation Festival 2005. <P><I>'The tree which opened into the fairy world was lovely and the puppets were beautifully made ... the puppeteer connected well with the audience'.</I> -  Angela Hogg, Scottish Arts Council.
The Loch Ness monster is the most famous icon of Scottish myths and legends and a story that Yugen wanted to explore in a different way.<p>
                  Using traditional Scottish music, Gaelic voice, Pictish inspired shadow and hand carved puppets, the show is set in its Scottish roots. The story explores the loss of a child to the Kelpie and how his parents defeat the beast and find peace in releasing his spirit from the watery depths of the loch. This is the first Yugen production without words.<p>
                  The first production of the 'Kelpie of Loch Ness' was performed during The Puppet Animation Festival 2010 where it was well received by audiences and theatre venues. The show ran for eleven performances at different venues.<p> 
                  <I>'The soundscapes inspired by Gaelic songs were beautiful'... 'The puppets and scenery for this production were very well made and some beautiful imagery was created'...'the lighting was beautiful and the simple use of fire created a magical moment in the production.'</I><br> - Magdalena Schamberger, Scottish Arts Council Evaluation.
                  <br><I><br>'This new production from one of Scotland's leading companies uses soundscapes inspired by Gaelic song, gentle and engaging storytelling, beautifully created puppets and striking animation in this beautiful adaptation'. </I> <br>- Simon Hart, Puppet Animation Scotland. <br>

                  Tamlin thinks there is nothing he cannot do and no one he cannot woo. But he soon learns that life is not that simple. Captured by the fairy queen and taken into the fairy hill to dwell, Tamlin has no hope of escape until he meets Janet. With her help he has one chance to break the spell and return to the real world.
                  This traditional Scottish story is told with simple clarity, using beautiful driftwood puppets, striking shadow images, an original soundtrack of Scottish music and digital animation.
                  <P>'Tamlin' was performed in 'The Puppet Animation Festival', 2006, 2007 and 2011. Tamlin also featured in workshops for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2012.



Over the past twenty years I have had a lot of experience in giant puppet building, willow lantern making, mask and puppet making for pageants, community events, summer school programmes and art installations.

I have worked on projects from Aberdeen to Azerbaijan, and in all parts of the UK.

I have worked with Vision Mechanics on their outdoor installation projects; both 'Giants in the Forest' in 2013, and 'Embrace' in 2014. Most recently I was involved with their DragonQuest Dragon Scarers workshops in 2015.


As well as freelance work and my own productions, I have run many workshops on puppetry for schools and Early Years.

I have worked with The National Theatre of Scotland, East Lothian Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Arts Fife, Inverclyde Council and S.P.E.L.L. in South Lanarkshire, who support nurseries, playgroups and toddler groups.

In 2014 I did a series of shadow puppet workshops for Aberdeenshire Council with S3 pupils to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

I can deliver workshops on puppet making, puppet story telling, manipulation, and puppet performance and production. I also offer CPDs for teachers and have run an introduction to puppetry course for early years play leaders. Making skills include giant willow puppet making and wood carving. My speciality is shadow puppet workshops.


I have made many puppets and props for theatre. I have made puppets for; The Puppet Lab, Macrobert Arts Centre, Cumbernauld Theatre, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, and The National Theatre of Scotland.

I also designed elf puppets for shoemakers Manolo Blahnik's 2016 Christmas advertising campaign.

Puppet prices are dependent on the complexity of design and make.


If you would like to enquire about pricing for a show, workshop, community arts event or a bespoke puppet design then please don't hesitate to email or phone us.

Lanarkshire, Scotland
Phone: 07796136377
Email: yugenpuppetcompany@yahoo.com