Puppetry Director and Puppet Co-Designer
National Theatre – 2017


“The puppetry is ingenious. The fable of the puppet who wants to be human has been delightfully reanimated.”

The Guardian


“Brilliantly, Geppetto the puppetmaker is himself a gigantic puppet. Meanwhile, his creation, Pinocchio, slowly unbends from the wooden block in which he is carved, not as a mannequin but a human. Flesh and fabric, original and imitation are beautifully, disconcertingly entangled.”

The Observer


“I love the idea that Jiminy Cricket is female and that she’s a worrier about hygiene. A diminutive green puppet adorably worked and voiced by Audrey Brisson, the gangly insect bounds around in protective pursuit of our hero, fretting about the bacterial challenges posed by the places he winds up in.

The Independent


“The puppets are fantastical affairs, their huge balloon-like heads controlled by actors plus a team of puppeteers. The most adored puppet, and I speak for the youngsters in the audience too, was the smallest. Jiminy Cricket is a green worry-wort with an obsessive fear of bacterial infection. She is an absolute hoot.”

The Times


“The adult human characters, including Pinocchio’s kindly puppetmaker-father Geppetto, are represented on stage by gargantuan constructs that loom over the little hero. Although they’re voiced by the human actors who stand at the centre of the puppet teams, it’s not the living faces we’re drawn to, it’s the artificial ones: sad, ancient Geppetto; satanic Stromboli; the brutish Coachman. They are huge and otherworldly, an uncanny Valley of the Kings.”

Time Out


Peter Pan

Puppetry Designer and Director
National Theatre – 2016


“It’s Toby Olie’s horrifying mechanical crocodile puppet that will snap up the kids’ attention.”

Time Out


“There are some wonderfully theatrical moments here. A green sheet ingeniously transforms into Peter’s missing shadow, a corrugated crocodile with gleaming red eyes stalks the stage.”

The Stage


“A celebration of the ingenuity of invention and the joy of storytelling. There can be few who don’t shiver at the approach of the crocodile, composed as he is of bits of corrugated iron and a saw for a tail.”

Financial Times


“The crocodile is enormous, a thing of wonder made of old sheet metal and pipes…and bits of puppetry elsewhere have the inventive joyfulness which sends children home to play properly in imitation.”

Theatre Cat


“An inventive playfulness and a visible, nothing-up-your-sleeve magic. When the Darling family fly off with Peter, black-and-white cards evoke the London rooftops, coloured globes become planets and rippling ribbons suggest the sea.”

The Guardian



The Elephantom

Co-Director and Puppetry Designer
National Theatre – 2013
New London Theatre – 2014


“Soaring inventiveness.”
Sunday Times


“A big heart and an even bigger imagination. Full of wit, cheek and farts.”
The Guardian


“It mixes the everyday with the cheerfully macabre with unforgettable skill.”
The Times


“An hour of near-wordless, puppet-permeated enchantment. Crafted to delight all ages.”
The Telegraph


“Wordless, silly, and somewhat knowing. A wonderfully anarchic hour that should appeal to anybody, of any age, with any sense of fun, or a pulse.”
Time Out


The Light Princess

Puppetry Designer
National Theatre – 2013


“Swoon-inducing puppetry.”
Evening Standard


“A magical and ravishingly distinctive fusion of the theatrical arts.”
The Independent


“Toby Olié’s vivid puppet creations a pure delight – it’s simply a joy to drink in the visuals of this realm.”
Time Out


“Forest and kitschy glimmering lake are saved from cliché by Toby Olié’s puppets: an emotional orange mouse, innumerable birds, skeleton pterodactyls, flamingos, frogs and fish.”
The Times

War Horse

Puppeteer and Associate Puppetry Director
National Theatre – 2007
New London Theatre – 2009


“Transcendent puppeteering.”

The Observer


“The puppetry is nothing short of miraculous. The creature is manipulated with wondrous precision and delicacy.”
The Times


“How delightful to see a single horse act more than 20 performers off the stage!
Craig Leo, Tommy Luther and Toby Olié whinny, stamp, rear up and back off to the manner born.”

Evening Standard


“Astonishingly lifelike puppets, whose movements and sounds are so meticulously caught by their operatives, that they can withstand the weight of emotion played upon them.”
The Telegraph


“Joey is brought to life by puppeteers, their skill is something special and on opening night it was rewarded with a spontaneous burst of applause at Joey’s first big moment.
It is an astonishingly complete performance.”

Daily Mail