Animatronic Supervisor Puppeteer

The Empire Strikes Back
The Dark Crystal
Return of the Jedi
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Jim Henson's Labyrinth
Little Shop of Horrors
Cats and Dogs
The Muppets
Snow Dogs
Fraggle Rock
Lost In Space
Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
Looney Tunes Back In Action
Where the Wild Things Are
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and many more...

Dave Barclay has been at the cutting edge of animatronic puppetery since 1979.

He is a Master Puppeteer, Animatronic Designer and Supervisor, a CG key frame Animator, and Director and Producer of animatronic and animation projects for film and television.

Dave was born to actor parents Mike and Ann Barclay. At around age 4, Dave's parents formed Pex Puppet Theatre, focusing their acting talents on live puppetry.

You can check out their website at:

As a child, Dave performed marionettes, glove and rod puppets with his parents. At age 7, Dave performed traditional Punch and Judy at the British Puppet Guild, for documentary cameras.

Throughout his childhood, Dave designed built and performed dozens of his own puppets and continued performing Punch and Judy into his late teens.

He worked for other live puppet companies, Jactito, directors James and Joan Barton, and Cap and Bells, director Violet Philpott. His first work in front of camera was a brief appearance as a large dog in the British classic comedy series The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. This was in 1978 for Thames TV.

In July 1979 he was offered the position of make up assistant working for Stuart Freeborn on The Empire Strikes Back. The main challenge was a state-of-the-art hand puppet named YODA, and Dave assisted building duplicate parts, seaming the foam latex head skins, etc, but when Wendy Midener Froud became allergic to something on the set, Dave was drafted in as a puppeteer. Dave performed the cable controlled facial movements for Muppet master Frank Oz, the chief puppeteer.

When Frank had to return to New York to shoot Sesame Street, as the production had ran over, Frank nominated Dave to take over as chief puppeteer for Yoda.

Dave was then invited to become the first British puppet maker on a new adventurous project by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, The Dark Crystal. In November of 1979, Dave joined a handful of Henson's American puppet makers, to develop puppets that would finally become the entire cast of the movie. And so started the long term relationship and desire to push the envelope in animatronic performance art.

Contact Dave Barclay via email :

Dave at British Puppet Guild at age 7
Dave's marionette Michael Jackson age 13
60 feet up, cherub puppet for Terry Gilliam
invisible puppeteering with Dave Chapman
The marionette that started it all...
Labyrinth's riding goblin...
Labyrinth again, marionettes again...
Dave's first glove puppet - age 6
Assistant Yoda Puppeteer 1979
The real and the unreal...