How puppet shows help share the gospel

Laxey Methodist Church from the Methodist Church in the Isle of Man has become famous for its puppet shows. Mixing pop music and the gospel, the shows delight all members of the family regardless of age and attract people from across the island.

28 March 2024

The first bars of a well-known song start playing and the room grows quiet. The first puppet opens its mouth and sings, soon joined by the others to the delight of everyone in the room. Bohemian Rhapsody, Happy and It’s Raining Men have all been adapted to share stories from the Bible differently.

“It's brilliant and unique. I've never seen anything quite like it in any other church. It's another way of telling important stories in an engaging way. The puppets resonate with everyone, from adults to children,” says Rachel who attended several performances with her family.

Fiona Cracknell, a worship leader in Laxey Methodist Church, is the force behind the puppets. She attended a training day a decade ago where she was transfixed by the puppets and their potential. She remembers, “I thought they were brilliant and we should have our own puppet shows.”

And so they did. Starting with four puppets and with help from the Sunday School children, they performed their first show. “It was very basic, with just a little frame covered by a curtain,” explains Fiona, “But it sparked an interest and has grown since.”

Soon, it was not only the children but other members of the congregation who became involved. The success led to more puppets being bought, CDs with new songs, sound equipment, props and costumes. There are Nativity and Easter performances with special songs as well as other shows during the year.


“People come in that wouldn't come in at any other time. They often ask when the next puppet show will be. They allow us to share our message differently and, hopefully, people will go home thinking about what they have seen.”

Fiona Cracknell

The puppet team has eight members involved in bringing the shows to life. Fiona plans the performance as much as possible, “There are a lot of videos online, I use them as inspiration. I send them out to all the team beforehand to show them what we will be doing,” adds Fiona.

The team meets about a week before to have a run-through and discover the songs they will perform. A full dress rehearsal is held on the Saturday before the performance on Sunday. Raven, the newest puppet, joined for the first time for the Nativity in 2023. With her purple hair, she looks a bit like Fiona and is a welcome addition to the puppet family.

It is a tight schedule, but they know some of the songs and know the mechanics of puppetry. “Behind the curtains, we have the stage and there's a lot of mayhem going on there. Especially for the last nativity, when everybody was trying to swap places and climb over each other! It was good fun,” adds Fiona.

A few snippets of Laxey Methodist Church’s puppets can be found on the church’s Facebook page