Our Team


Leading the No Strings team in the UK, Ireland, and USA: Johnie McGlade, Kathy Mullen, Rosie Waller and Heather Asch, with puppets from The Tales of Disasters. Below, reknown puppet artist and No Strings co-founder Michael Frith on the Kibing! shoot

Leading the No Strings team in the UK and USA: Johnie McGlade, Kathy Mullen, Rosie Waller and Heather Asch, with puppets from The Tales of Disasters. Below, celebrated puppet artist and No Strings co-founder Michael Frith on the Kibing! shoot


No Strings has two arms: No Strings International directs overall programme development and is based in the UK, while No Strings Inc is home to our creative team in the USA where our films are made.

What matters is that the two arms work together on the same programmes, reaching the same beneficiaries, as part of the same No Strings family.



No Strings International guides the direction of the organisation as a whole, building relationships and making decisions on programme and partnership development, overseeing delivery, and ensuring that we target the highest-need groups in the most effective ways. All workshops, training and delivery methodologies, dubbing and evaluations are the responsibility of this office. The core team and trustees are as follows:


Johnie McGlade, Founder / Director

As emergency coordinator and field director with the Irish aid organisation GOAL and then Head of Emergencies at War Child, Johnie accumulated 14 years’ humanitarian aid experience in conflict and post-disaster zones in countries such as Angola, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kosovo, and East Timor. Johnie (a proud Irishman) is the founder of No Strings, and directs the field and programme development work for No Strings from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne office in the UK.


Rosie Waller, Programmes Manager

Before moving into development aid work, Rosie worked as a journalist on regional and national UK newspapers, magazines, and the BBC. She lectured in journalism on numerous training and university courses, and taught extensively in the UK and France. After joining No Strings, Rosie undertook an MSc in development and disaster studies, and oversees various aspects of programme delivery, in-country training of trainers workshops and local partner relationships.


Els Coolen, Programmes Development Officer 

Originally from Belgium, Els is now based in Northern Ireland, having worked extensively in Indonesia for the NGO Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), and previously Nigeria. Els helps deliver workshops alongside Rosie and our puppet trainers, and plays an ongoing role in the assessment of programme effectiveness.



Jane Pikett, Chair

Former assistant editor of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Jane now runs her own publishing and PR companies

Gary Ramsay

A magazine publisher and media executive, Gary Ramsay brings exceptional business skills to his role on the No Strings board.

Phil Veal

Phil is MD of his own new media and digital consultancy, a business mentor, and is involved with numerous overseas charitable endeavors.





Michael drawing


Our creative team is made up of some of the finest TV and film puppeteers in the world, and headed by Kathy Mullen, Michael Frith and Heather Asch.

Their job is to turn a series of key messages from experts in the field into captivating puppet films that young people will love and take into their lives. They work with No Strings International on research, and then get going with the script writing, design, set and puppet making, shoot and post production. For the real magic to happen, they need to assemble a team of the best for each new production we work on. It’s an honour to say that because of their incredible standing in the puppet world, this has never been a problem.

KathyMichael (pictured above) and Heather’s profiles appear in the Puppets & Puppeteers section.