Throughout Spring 2022 we worked with Puppets with Guts to deliver an exciting participatory and immersive theatrical experience that connected audiences with the Darent Valley landscape and the artwork of Samuel Palmer.

This journey began with Gnomus, the keeper of landscapes and caretaker of the Darent Valley. The story is that ‘Gnomus used to walk with Samuel Palmer to help him choose which landscapes to paint’…

Beginning in Autumn 2021, communities and schools in the Darent Valley were invited to explore, reveal and celebrate stories of the valley landscape from Dartford to Sevenoaks. In total the project engaged over 4,500 local residents and school children.

In 2021 Puppets with Guts worked with Key Stage 2 school children in the valley to creatively and collaboratively think about their immediate landscape, green spaces and their relationship to nature.

Collaborating with Puppets with Guts, in 2022 communities were invited to discover their local landscape’s colour palette in free workshops. Both adult and inter-generational groups learnt from professional artists how to ReFRAME their environment and create their very own Darent Valley picture frames.

The project culminated in two celebration events, comprising art workshops and Gnomus puppetry performances, at Otford Village Fete on Saturday May 28th and at Dartford Borough Council’s Great Big Platinum Jubilee Party (for kids) on Saturday May 29th 2022. Have a look at the photo gallery below.

  • Community and schools engagement through art workshops 2021-22
  • Puppetry and performance project with celebratory performances Spring 2022


To find out more about this project you can read Puppets with Guts Final Animated Landscapes Report.

This is the second in a series of Inspired Palmer Landscapes project. Phase one, saw a series of silk painting, creative writing and story gathering workshops which engaged over 300 local residents and school children. These were led by creative arts organisation, Kinetika, using these specific art forms to explore individual connections to the landscape and generate stories and themes to inform phase 2 of the project. Have a look through the gallery below to see Kinetika’s workshops in action.

If you would like more information on the Animated Landscapes project or you, your organisation or school may wish to be involved in workshops, please contact

Extra large puppet being moved by three people in front of people sitting on deckchairs
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Extra large puppet with three people underneath moving it
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Large giant puppet being moved by four people in a field
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Person stood on stool talking to a large group of adults and children sat on the floor in a park
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Girl holding up painted hand made frame
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Hand painted pink and green frame over flowers
© Copyright Puppets With Guts
One adult and two children sat on floor colouring in cardboard frame
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Silver airstream caravan on pavement next to Kent Downs gazebo
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Silver airstream caravan parked next to purple gazebo with people in front sat at tables and chairs painting frames
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
View from door with pavement and bunting
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Hand painted cardbard frame hanging up
© Copyright Paul Burgess photography
Clipboard with hand painting a tree on paper
Workbook with writing and a sketch of a tree
Colourful silk painting of horses walking across field
Silk painting of a water wheel
Colourful painting
Hand drawing a tree on paper
Hand colouring in leaves of large tree on black and white sketch
Crayons and paper on a desk
Colour sketch of flowers in foreground and green hills behind
Two boys sketching in books outdoors
Hand painting landscape design onto silk
Group of people sat around tables in hall
Words on paper about trees with a hand writing
Rough sketch of trees and landscape
Colourful silk painting of leaf design
Leaves and paper with people drawing
Hands sketching landscape and nature
Brightly coloured silk painting of leaves
Child sketching trees
Six children kneeling down looking at their drawings of landscape

Co-financed by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund