Pif-Paf is a wildly ambitious theatre company creating top notch performance and sculpture and taking it to the places it doesn’t normally reach. Our work is presented outdoors and in non-traditional spaces and we are keenly involved in the development of outdoor arts. We are based in Sheffield working around the UK and beyond delivering small and mid-scale touring shows and commissions all with a unique visual, high-quality and accessible style.
The company is based around the collaboration of joint artistic directors Pete Gunson and Eleanor Hooper supported an amazing crew of freelance performers, makers and musicians.
Pete Gunson, joint artistic director, producer, engineer
Pete formed Pif-Paf in 2003 in Manchester inspired by an engineering background and the companies he had worked for (Spacecadets and I.O.U) and work that was popping up all over the city in the early 2000’s as part of Streets Ahead. He has aimed to make visually arresting, joyous shows that open the doors to aspects of our lives that we take for granted, yet have potential for effecting great change.
After graduating in ’98 from Manchester University with an MEng in Civil Engineering (with French) the next few years were spent between fine furniture making, public art, sustainability campaigning and participatory arts as well as living and travelling around the nooks and crannies of Europe and West and North Africa.
Pete never leaves home without a leatherman and a note book.
Eleanor Hooper, Joint artistic director, lead artist
Eleanor Hooper trained as a fine artist specialising in portraiture, mask making and performance art, writing a dissertation in the Origins of performance and contemporary street theatre practice. She then trained in acrobatics and physical theatre with Greentop Circus, Marcello dos Ramos, Antonio Fava in Reggio Emilia Italy, Song of The Goat and in 2014/15 completed LISPA’s physical theatre training. Eleanor worked in an acrobatic duo for five years performing and teaching in across Europe.
Since 2008 she has been co-artistic director with Pete directing, writing, making and performing in all of our work.
- Stewart Gibb-Lodge – Valerian/Captain Calypso (The Flycycle & Submercycle) and Artist (Action Painting)
- Caroline Hallam – Performer – Pearl (The Flycycle & Submercycle), Borage (Bee Cart) & Artist (Action Painting)
- Naomi Rothwell – Performer – Borage (Bee Cart), Pearl (The Flycycle & Submercycle) Artist (Action Painting) – normally busy with her company Lunabug
- Lawrence Speck – Performer – Bombus (Bee Cart) and Captain Calypso/Bigshot (The Flycycle & Submercycle) – runs his own projects here
- Nixi Cole – Performer – Borage (The Bee Cart) and Pearl (Flycycle and Submercycle)
- Kathleen Yore – Captain Calypso (The Submercycle) & Borage (Bee Cart)
- Jonny Dixon – Performer – Borage (Bee Cart), Captain Bigshot (Flycycle) and The Artist (Action Painting)
Freelance Administration and Tour Management
Current Administrator and Tour Manager is Alison Povey, who has lived in the Outdoor Arts world since at least 2010, because thats when we met her in Liverpool when we were performing HONEY, she joins us in 2019
- Marianne Bolton – company administrator – since 2012 Marianne has managed bookings, performers, finance, promotion and supported everywhere else that’s needed, including packing hundreds of envelopes of Wild Flower seeds for the Bee Cart show. Currently on whatever the freelance version of Maternity leave is.
This role has also been filled with great skill by Tracey Doxey, Kate Stott, Zelda Hannay, Stacey Sampson and Sonya Moorhead
Credit where its due – lots of folk have worked with us along the way forming our work and vision:
Pif-Paf was co-founded with visual artist Fi Smith in Salford where her and Pete made large structures and puppets for the outdoor arts, festival and participatory worlds.
Pete Finnegan – Captain Bigshot – (Flycycle),
Jake England Johns – Captain Calypso (Submercycle),
Will Lenton – musician Musician for Planetary, Something To Hold, HANUMAN and TRUNK 2010 on Saxophones, guitar and keys. Will is now touring the world with Mr Wilson’s Secondliners, a New Orleans street band playing club classics, it sounds good, it is good.
Sonya Moorhead and Tess Hills were the original crew for the Extinct Animal Troupe back in the mid 2000’s
Daniel Weaver – Musician Daniel was part of Pif-Paf since before it was Pif-Paf, with endless sound gadgets from subtle to monstrous he transports us to sonic heaven. His vast experience with companies from Ra-Ra zoo to Desperate Men to IOU and currently Corali helped him bring more than the music.
Ralph Skrimshire – sculptor/technician, Carpenter, technician, tree surgeon. Ralp took part in the FLycycle, Submercycle and Planetary Builds – he made the Hats!!
Tim Mileusenic – maker for a few years – Tim now runs his company Motley Makers
Ed Cartledge – Film Maker, Sort Of Films, Ed has created all of our recent videos (the ones that look professional, the other ones Pete has knocked up on imovie)
Porl Medlock – photographer Porl has taken many of the images that fill this site since 2008 – 2012
Thanks for past support go to Jamima Latimer at Space Cadets, Lisa Gort, Chris Squire at Impossible Theatre, I.O.U, MIA, John Egan, Emily Dennison, Tim Warren, Louise Oliver and Richard Sobey.