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Report from the Puppet Centre Trust Oct 04 - Director Beccy Smith


A brief report from the hectic offices at PCT this month – in the thick of Visions and with a number of projects in progress there’s barely time to sit at my desk!

First, I’m pleased to announce the arrival of this year’s PCT / ACE Bursary Awards for artists to develop their skills in puppetry. The bursaries are designed to support professional artists to develop their skills in puppetry. The programme will specifically assist artists seeking a period to specialise in a new field or to explore a change of direction in their practice. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a minimum of 2 years professional experience in their artform. We welcome applications from all practitioners who can demonstrate a commitment to puppetry in their work. Application is by submitting a portfolio of work alongside the application form, which can be obtained with guidelines by emailing the Puppet Centre on

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The deadline for application is 10am February 1st 2005.

This year’s bursary award winners have now completed their projects. To whet your appetites for the possibilities of what’s to come, a few words from them:
'I wanted to explore the idea of trying traditional puppetry with new, emerging technology. I also wanted to create first-time dialogues with artists and specialists from various disciplines and culturally diverse backgrounds. I hoped that these dialogues would progress into experimentation and play involving puppetry in some new, interesting ways.

'I feel that the journey of reaching these aims, which the Bursary has propelled me to see through, has had a very positive affect on my development as an artist and puppeteer'.

(Ramon Abad)

‘I’ve come to the end of this period with a much clearer idea of how I’d like to focus my work over the next few years, and a direction and confidence that I’m able to trace very clearly to the time for reflection that the bursary has offered.’
(Mervyn Millar)

I plan on making more detailed reports from both recipients of their work during the Bursary period available online in the next e-dition.
PCT’s professional development programme, Animating the Animators, continues to develop apace, with our first event at Visions 04 a sell-out success. The class, led by internationally acclaimed artistic director and teacher Joao Paulo Seara Cardosa (whose company Marionetas do Port presented Nada Ou O Silencio De Beckett at Visions) focused specifically on using puppetry alongside choreography / movement in the creation of stage images and a meaningful dramaturgy. Participants were introduced to a range of exercises and experiments using puppetry alongside physicality, were able to discuss with Joao Paulo his vision of puppetry’s role in contemporary society, and learnt about the company’s unique way of making and manipulating their bespoke five-rod puppets. A full report will be available in the next e-dition together with a review of the show. Future events are now taking shape, with the next scheduled for the London International Mime Festival in January 2005 and later across the country. Details will be publicised and sent out to all of our mailing lists as each event is finalised. If you wish to have your email details added to the lists contact:


There have been developments too on the home front at PCT. We have recently taken on a new intern Jemma Robinson, who started work in mid-October. Jemma, a theatre graduate from the University of Canterbury in Kent will be focusing her energies on PCT’s marketing campaign and in redeveloping the use of our space in BAC. It’s been a good reason for a reorganisation of the office-corner at the Centre and some of you may be hearing from her very soon. Meanwhile, my role has evolved from project manager to director, from which lofty height I’ll be masterminding all the activities of the PCT.

Locally, PCT has been collaborating with BAC on a week of activities throughout the arts centre focussing on all aspects of performance-making and, of course, puppetry for children as part of Wandsworth Arts Festival. We have worked with Battersea Park Library on a series of workshops using puppetry and storytelling to create a youth performance at the library and we are working alongside various community groups across our local Borough of Wandsworth to develop an INSET training day for community leaders, using puppetry, to be held later this year. We continue to seek volunteers to support the work at the Centre, for both workshop activities and administrative projects: if anyone would like to offer a bit of their time for a project tailored to their skills and commitments please e-mail


It’s been an inspiring month. The calibre and range of work offered at this year’s Visions festival has showcased some of the most exciting talent currently working across the art form and offered an amazing platform to a diverse array of artists both home-grown and from further afield. Our masterclass event was the first of what we hope to be many projects designed to make such work accessible and achievable to artists committed to puppetry and to support the making of such work in a variety of ways as a national development agency for the art form. I look forward to reporting back on more of these initiatives here soon.
In the meantime, all the very best from the Puppet Centre Trust.

Beccy Smith,
Director

 

 

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