Produced by Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker

From Edinburgh, Scotland

Originally co-produced by the Unicorn Theatre, London

The Secret Life of Suitcases
The Secret Life of Suitcases

The Secret Life of Suitcases
The Secret Life of Suitcases

The Secret Life of Suitcases
The Secret Life of Suitcases

The Secret Life of Suitcases
The Secret Life of Suitcases

About the Company

Larry’s got no time for fun, but that’s all about to change... 

 Larry works in an office and he likes it very much. Everything in its place; a place for everything. But one day, a suitcase suddenly appears at his door. And this suitcase has a mission... Larry’s world gets turned upside down as this fantastical flying suitcase takes him further than he ever thought possible, to discover the thrill of adventure and the joy of coming home again. 

The Secret Life of Suitcases is a playful, huge hearted piece for small people with giant imaginations that celebrates a handmade aesthetic in a digital world. This funny and enchanting puppet show is the first ever co-production between Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker, one of Scotland’s leading puppetry companies, and the Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences. 

Best for Grades: 1st + up

Audience Size: Up to 200 Audience Members

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Company Background

Ailie Cohen is a puppeteer, performer, illustrator, designer and puppetry director for among others, National Theatre of Scotland, Grid Iron, TAG, The Citizens and Vanishing Point. Her own shows include I Vant to be Alone, Rumpelstiltskin at the Fairytale Laundry, Jazz Mouse, The New Not New and Cloud Man which was Ailie’s first collaboration with Playwright and Director Lewis Hetherington.


Together they have created Cloud Man and The Secret Life of Suitcases. Their work has travelled to China, Dubai, Japan, America, Australia and extensively throughout the in the UK.

Ailie is an associate artist of Puppet State Theatre Company, with which she collaborated on The Man Who Planted Trees, and has toured worldwide since 2006.

Ailie has also worked for National Theatre of Scotland; Imaginate; and was co-deviser, performer, puppet and props maker for National Theatre London’s Cupboard of Surprises Inside Out Festival 2012 which was part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.


The Secret Life of Suitcases is the first ever co-production between Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker and Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences. The production premiered in March 2014 with a two month Scottish tour followed by a run in Autumn 2014 at the Unicorn itself and had a full Showcase performance at The International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) conference in January 2016.


For more information on Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker, please visit the company’s website:


Artistic Team

By Lewis Hetherington and Ailie Cohen 

Directed by Lewis Hetherington 

Designed by Ailie Cohen
Devised with Rick Conte
Soundtrack by Niroshini Thambar 

More information such as resource materials, artist bios, and links to downloadable high res images

can be found through the SLoS website here: 

Critical Acclaim

Completely Delightful


4 Stars

A fantastical life-changing journey... the sheer craft and invention is a constant stream of delightfully quirky surprises

—The Herald,

4 Stars

A charming, ingenious piece of puppet theatre infused with a spirit of adventure

—The List,

4 Stars

An absorbing transformative journey.

—The Stage,

4 Stars

This serene and beautiful a gentle philosophical piece of children’s theatre with a message for all ages.

—Edinburgh Guide,

4 Stars

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Gallery of Past Productions

Cloud Man
Cloud Man

Cloud Man
Cloud Man

Cloud Man
Cloud Man

Cloud Man
Cloud Man


2016/2017 Dates

See Company Perform in 2016/2017

October 7th – 9th 2016 - The Esplanade, Singapore as part of Octoburst! – A Children’s Festival

October 14th & 15th 2016 - Draiocht, Dublin, Ireland

October 18th – 21st 2016- Baboro Festval, Galway, Ireland

November 1st – 6th 2016- Mount Royal University Conservatory, Calgary, Canada

November 25th 2016- Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh

December 13th – 23rd 2016 - Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, England


Curriculum Connections

  • Fine Arts: Drama, Puppetry, Physical Theater, Design & Technology

  • Language: Understanding, Interpreting and appreciating text and story, different ways to communicate. 

  • Science: Space, Quantum Physics, Quarks & Particles of Matter, Modes of Transportation

  • Emotional/Social Development: Imagination, Curiosity, Relationships, Community, understanding how one person fits into a much bigger global picture.


Minimum Technical Requirements

  • Load In Time: 3 hours

  • Crew Needs: One in-house technician should be available to assist with all activities, in particular they will be expected to rig and focus the LX and assist with sound.

  • Min. Stage Size: 16.5 ft wide x 16.5ft deep x 13 ft ht

  • Sound Needs: in-house sound system; the show requires a stereo feed from stage to the PA. All sound is operated by the performers on-stage after the initial set-up and level checks. 

  • Load Out Time: 1 hour

The production can tour to a range of spaces and venues with ease but must have end-on or straight-ahead audience seating. Audience needs an end-on view, so seats on each side of seating bank may have to be restricted depending on the space. For sightline purposes, the seating bank/audience seating area should be no wider than 23 ft. The back row of seating ideally no more than 35ft from the front of the stage.


Outreach and Workshops

Ailie Cohen and Samuel Jameson can offer puppetry-making workshops that explore some of the techniques and ideas that Ailie uses to make Puppets in her productions. (Presenter must provide materials to be used in workshop. Workshops must be arranged in advance of the engagement.)


Due to the detailed nature of the work the group size would need to be limited: 

  • For children aged four to six  - A maximum of ten children.

  • For children seven and over  - A maximum of thirty, with additional adult supervision required so there is the minimum of one adult to every ten children. 

Sensory Friendly Performances

This performance is available as a “sensory friendly” or “relaxed” performance if arranged with the company in advance and with specific direction as to what adjustments are necessary for your venue.