Event: Meet The Puppet Masters – Animation Conference

Date: 5th Nov 2016, 11:30am until 5:00pm
Venue: Waterside Arts Centre Price: £15


Featuring masterclass talks from leading figures in the worlds of animation, puppetry and character design.

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This one day event welcomes Merlin Crossingham, Creative Director for Wallace & Gromit at Aardman Studios, BAFTA-award winning director and animator Brian Cosgrove (co-founder Cosgrove Hall Films), alongside BAFTA & Academy Award-nominated animator Barry Purves and Chris Tichborne, animator and studio director from Factory Create.

Our event host is Ric Michael (freelance producer and former Head of Development at Baby Cow Manchester).

This event is delivered in partnership with Manchester Animation Festival.

Meet The Puppet Masters launches the new Puppet Masters exhibition, featuring work from Aardman Studios, running at Waterside Arts Centre from 5th Nov 2016 to 14th Jan 2017.


About the Speakers

Merlin Crossingham


Creative Director for Wallace & Gromit and Commercials Director, Aardman 

Merlin joined Aardman as an animator in 1996 having completing a degree in Film and Photography at the Newport Film School.

Initially working on commercials before taking the roles of Key Animator on the feature film ‘Chicken Run’, and Second Unit Director on ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were Rabbit’. Merlin then co-directed the Creature Comforts USA series for CBS, for which he gained an Emmy nomination.

He has since specialised in directing Wallace & Gromit at Aardman and in 2009 took on the role of Creative Director for Wallace & Gromit where Merlin directs all aspects of the Wallace and Gromit brand from merchandise and live shows to commercials and short films.

Merlin also directed and voiced the re-launch series of Aardman’s oldest stopmotion character, Morph.

Aardman Studios

Brian Cosgrove


Brian is a BAFTA-winning director, producer, animator, designer and sculptor best known as the creator of the animated children shows Danger Mouse and Count Duckula.

He started his career by producing television graphics at Granada Television before joining Stop Frame Productions, where he worked on many public service films, commercials as well as directing and produced animated shows such as The Magic Ball and Sally And Jake.
With Mark Hall, Brian co-founded the legendary Cosgrove Hall Films which produced some of the most well known animated children’s shows and films in Britain, including Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, The Wind in the Willows, Noddy’s Toyland Adventures, Bill and Ben and Fifi and the Flowertots.
In 1989, Brian directed and produced the animated feature film The BFG, based on the Roald Dahl novel.

Brian Cosgrove at IMDB

Barry Purves


Barry has been writing for, animating and directing stop motion puppets for nearly forty years, on over 250 episodes of various childrens’ series, as well as his own award winning and unique short films. He also had significant roles on Mars Attacks! and King Kong. Barry has written three books about animation and teaches and talks around the world.  Barry also directs and designs for the theatre. The focus of all Barry’s work is performance and innovative visual storytelling.




Chris Tichborne

Chris has an impressive background as both animator and director. His television animation credits include Postman Pat, Roary the Racing Car and Bob The Builder.

Chris is the Studio Director at Factory Create in Altrincham and is one of the co-directors of the award winning new Clangers series, along with Strange Hill High. As well as his TV credits, he has worked as animator on classic films such as Coraline and Fantastic Mr Fox as well as the new series of The Wombles.

Read about Chris on IMDB.com