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photos: Horse & Bamboo, Kazzum & Movingstage

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Movingstage in Pakistan
On 15 November Movingstage departed for Pakistan for their World Performing & Visual Arts Festival which took place from 17-27 November. Movingstage first toured Pakistan in 1982, travelling from Karachi to Lahore by steam train and then on to Islamabad and Rawalpindi giving 27 performances in 30 days that included, at one point, moving the stage and puppets by ox cart. Faizaan and twin Sadaan Peerzada got the puppet bug and since then have toured worldwide, established UNIMA in Pakistan, built a puppet museum and mounted 11 international festivals with participation from more than 60 countries in which 355 groups with more than 3000 artists performed. These performances have brought a wealth of experience from the cultures of the world to Pakistan and vice versa.

Norwich Puppet Theatre Xmas Treats
Norwich Puppet Theatre's Christmas season sees two productions on show – firstly, from Belgium, the internationally-acclaimed Theater Taptoe's production of Scrooge (17-27 December) which takes Dicken's Christmas Carol story and gives it a new twist. With humanette, rod and shadow puppetry all played in a magnificent wooden set that fills the Puppet Theatre stage. The Norwich Puppet Theatre's own production of Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine runs from 30th December-3rd January. George uses a range of rod puppets - including the incredible growing Granny - to tell the tale of a boy who is picked on by his mean grandmother until he makes up a special medicine with some surprising effects. Meanwhile, the NPT production of Pinocchio will be playing in December at Centro Cultural de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal. After the New Year, the theatre takes a well earned rest before kicking off the Spring season with Bryan Clarke's Punch & Judy, Patrick Lynch's Watch the Birdie and Garlic Theatre's George & the Dragon. Information in the next e-dition of Animations on events to tie in with the Norfolk & Norwich Festival in May, and Norwich City Council's Openstages Festival of Theatre in Summer 2006!
Contact details: Norwich Puppet Theatre, St James, Whitefriars, Norwich NR3 1TN. Tel: 01603 615564

Little Angel Theatre New Territories
The Board of Trustees of The Little Angel Theatre are delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Glanville as Artistic Director of The Little Angel Theatre. Peter is founder and Artistic Director of Kazzum Arts Project and has directed over 40 productions for the company including The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Romeo and Juliet. Installations include Diving For Pearls At BAC And Cushions And Clouds at The Bull. Peter will start full time at The Little Angel from 16 Jan 2006.
This autumn (October 2005) saw a triumphant visit to New York for the Little Angel, with the Mouse Queen. New York critic Richard Hinojosa had this to say on ‘The Mouse Queen is a story of big dreams, big egos, and the big city...The ensemble is a sight to see, working as musicians, actors, and puppeteers…. Peter O’Rourke’s set and puppet designs are quite remarkable in their combination of simplicity and extraordinary detail…Director Steve Tiplady’s staging is charming. He never forgets who his audience is’. They hope to return to the Big Apple with Jabberwocky in 2006.

Kazzum at Artsdepot
Kazzum is presenting its second co-production with Artsdepot, ‘The Little Mermaid’. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale by Siân Jones and directed by Peter Glanville, The Little Mermaid runs from 8 – 31 December. The family show promises to visually astound with its use of UV puppetry, designed by Daemon Hoskin. Nautical and aquatic inspired sets are designed by Jason Denvir. The Little Mermaid follows Kazzum’s success in December 2004 with Pinocchio, also co-produced with Artsdepot. In April 2006, Kazzum will present The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, their Vietnamese Water Puppetry influenced show in association with The Little Angel, for three weeks.

Mary Speaght and Joyce Wren - RIP
Peter Charlton writes: November 2005 will remain in the memories of many puppeteers for some time as the month when we lost two great ladies from our world. On November 13, Mary Speaight, wife of theatre historian and toy theatre performer George Speaight, died at the age of 93. Mary was seen at many puppetry events accompanying George, and on one memorable occasion, at Pollocks Toy Museum, took part in one of George’s shows. I had always assumed that she came to puppetry because of George, but it was revealed at her funeral that she began using puppets (glove puppets) when she was a teacher in the Isle of Dogs and it was through her interest in puppetry that she met George. Mary was also an accomplished artist and calligrapher and leaves behind her many wonderful examples of her talent. Four days later, on November 17, Joyce Wren, puppeteer, voice teacher and friend of many puppeteers also died. Once a member of Barry Smith’s Theatre of Puppets, Joyce channelled her great enthusiasm for our artform as a puppeteer, director and latterly voice teacher to the great benefit of all. The Little Angel Theatre has dedicated its current ‘Angelo’ season to Joyce’s memory.
Penny Francis adds: Joyce was a superb and original puppet-maker, as evidenced in the figures she made for The Sorcerer's Apprentice, produced by Barry Smith's Theatre of Puppets. However, so modest was she about this aspect of her numerous skills, that few people were aware of it.
From Francis Wright: Joyce was an astonishing powerhouse of enthusiasm, endlessly encouraging and patient, her friendship a thing to be treasured… Perhaps her own abilities as a puppeteer were not allowed to develop as much as they might have done… If anything, she suffered from being pigeon-holed as ‘Joyce the Voice’ – a specialist in an effective and idiosyncratic style of vocal delivery. This style was perfectly suited to the recorded soundtracks of The Little Angel Theatre’s plays of which she became so much a part.
Tributes to Joyce Wren, including the full text of Francis Wright’s appreciation, amongst many others, can be found in the News section of Puppeteers UK (PUK) website:

Beka Haigh- an emerging artist to watch
Having graduated from a theatre design degree at Nottingham
Trent University in 2004, Beka sent off many CVs and gained a couple of interviews. David Wheeler and Richard Sobey at IOU Theatre (Halifax) gave her a fantastic opportunity - a pilot project to support and fund an emerging artist in a chosen field (hers being puppetry). In the time that she spent at IOU, she developed a site specific show for the woods; a promenade piece in which the audience walk around the woods and are confronted with various creatures that inhabit the space, inspired by characters found in local folklore stories. She also recently received Arts Council funding to develop this show further (for an invited audience) and to carry on her own professional development. Contact details: email

Abalino Dance Theatre at Resolution! Festival
Abalino Dance Theatre uses innovative and experimental puppetry techniques that combine the expressive qualities of dance and physical theatre with the magic of puppetry. Drawing on principles from Bunraku theatre, the circus, and ideas of illusions and transformations, it aims to develop a blend of wordless movement and puppet theatre. The performer is part-dancer, part-puppeteer and part-puppet. The result is illusive and touching. Director Alice Cade attempts to develop and push the boundaries of puppetry for adult audiences, dealing with the dark and ambiguous aspects of human nature. After their 2005 success with Bobroshkov’s Dream, Abalino will next present Weave, which premieres at The Place, London WC1 on 27 January 2006 as part of the Resolution! Festival. Book online at clicking on the red star on the home page.

Theatre-rites – New Developments

Theatre-rites announces new appointments following a strategic review and restructure during its tenth anniversary year. Claire Templeton is Executive Producer, having previously been Theatre Officer at Arts Council London. Also joining the company from Arts Council London is Jo Stendall who is Administrator, taking over from Jill Shelley who becomes Project Manager. Sue Buckmaster continues as Artistic Director. The award-winning theatre-rites pioneers imaginative new approaches in theatre for children and adults, creating a memorable shared experience. The company draws on a rich and often unexpected fusion of performance, installation art, puppetry, movement, video, music and sound to create touring shows, site-specific pieces, installations and exhibitions. Theatre-rites receives revenue funding from Arts Council England.
Contact details: Theatre-rites, The Warehouse, 12 Ravensbury Terrace, London SW18 4RL.
t: +44 (0)20 8946 2236 f: +44 (0)20 8946 0965
e: w:

Sketty Productions with Imogen at the Oval
Sketty Productions' Imogen is described as a piece of ‘lyrical physical theatre’ (in Three Weeks, on their Edinburgh Fringe 2005 run). It follows the emotional torment of Leonardo, a father whose life has been crushed by the untimely death of his eight-year-old daughter. His mind resurrects his child (played by a puppet) in a desperate attempt to avoid facing up to his now rootless existence. The piece encompasses loss, pain and hope shown through a powerful combination puppetry, physical and visual theatre.
Appearing at Winchester College on 13 Jan 2006, before a run at the Oval House, London from 23 Jan – 11 Feb. Contact details: email Toby Clarke on, tel 07779 391165, see

Babbling Vagabonds Lonely Giant
Following their success at the Trafalgar Day celebrations, Babbling Vagabonds will be performing their new show The Lonely Giant in Bakewell in the run up to Christmas. For further information, email


Puppet Planet
Come to Puppet Planet for kitsch and culture! You will find century-old wayang kulit and vintage carved hand puppets alongside contemporary pop-up and finger puppets. Punch and Judy rub shoulders with characters from Thunderbirds, classic Pelham, Hazelle, traditional African and Indian marionettes. The puppet theme is found on hankies and jewellery, cards and stationery – plenty of stocking fillers and seasonal gifts to animate your Christmas! Visit 787 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 or
Tel /Fax: 020 7627 0111

Archie dummy sells for £34,000
A private collector has paid £34,000 for the original Archie Andrews dummy used by ventriloquist Peter Brough in the 1950s radio show, Educating Archie. The show had a fan club of 250,000 and attracted 15m listeners at its peak. The dummy sold for more than double the £15,000 estimate at Taunton auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt on Tuesday, where it was sold by Brough's family.
For full details of the story, see

Puppet Trailer For Sale
Eye-catching red and yellow box trailer resembling a miniature Gypsy Caravan offered. Traditional carved and painted features, curved green roof with fixed skylight, fold-down front flap, rear double door with clown face handle and lock. Tow bar, working electrics, new tyres, rear reflectors. 8'6" long (including towbar), 5' wide and 5'9" high. Also included: awning and puppet show rig. Located West London. Cost: £1,000. Contact details: email or call 0773 670 2207 for further details or to arrange viewing. Can arrange shipment/delivery.


Puppetry Short Course at CSSD
Catherine Connolly will be leading the Puppetry Short Course at Central School Of Speech & Drama 2006. The course is an introduction to the basic skills and history of puppetry & object manipulation. Spring term runs from 9 Jan 2006- 1 Mar 2006 inc, Mon and Weds evenings 7:30pm - 9:00pm, Intensive day 1:00pm- 6:00pm, 18th Feb. Contact details for further information: email Cath on

Horse+Bamboo 2006 Training and Workshop Programme Courses:

The Secret Life of Objects -
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th February 2006
This weekend workshop will focus on the ‘building blocks’ of various different styles of puppetry, such as focus, grounding and breath. Participants will be given the opportunity to explore different puppetry techniques and styles using a range of unusual objects and materials.
Trainer: Mark Whitaker (Norwich Puppet Theatre)
Course Cost Per Person: £115.00

Playing In The Trees -
Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th February 2006
Using the recent Horse + Bamboo Theatre production of In the Shadow of Trees as a starting point, this course will explore the way in which sound and music can create a narrative for wordless storytelling. Using masks and puppets from the production, we will explore the ways in which rhythm and music can affect the physicality and movement of characters themselves. Chris is the Musical Director for In the Shadow of Trees, and Morag is both a musician and mask performer.
Trainers: Chris Davies & Morag Cross
Course Cost Per Person: £125.00

The Lempen Method -

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th February 2006
Lempen Puppet Theatre is one of the most respected puppet companies in the UK. Using their new show, The am-A-zing Thing, as a starting block, the Lempen duo will explore with you their process of creating a visual, contemporary and original piece of puppet theatre. Then - starting with the seed of an idea, brain-storming with the puppets in mind, storyboarding, and finally, with hands-on playing and devising, using Lempen’s own puppets - create your own mini-drama!
Trainers: Lempen Puppet Theatre (Liz and Daniel Lempen)
Course Cost Per Person: £125.00

The Show's The Thing -
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th March 2006
The ever-popular Dynamic New Animation return with a new course! Spend a weekend with DNA creating your own short adult cabaret act, come with an idea and we will bring it to life! Create instant puppets, use those everyday objects lying about the house and flex your creative muscles! We will develop basic techniques, build confidence & ability, play with the imagination and push the boundaries of puppetry.
Trainer: Rachel Riggs—DNA
Course Cost Per Person: £115.00

Masks Inside & Out -
Monday 24th to Friday 28th July 2006
This course will cover two of the elements which make Horse + Bamboo’s work so distinctive – the making and the performance of helmet masks. With Alison Duddle, participants will design and create a full helmet mask, using some of the same stimulus and limitations we use in creating masks for our touring shows. With Victoria Lee, participants will firstly explore some of the techniques and skills used in mask performance using Horse + Bamboo masks, and then by the end of the week, create a performed sequence using their own mask.
Trainers: Alison Duddle (AD of Horse+Bamboo) & Victoria Lee
Course Cost Per Person: £250.00

Rhythm of the Mask -
Monday 31st July to Friday 4th August 2006
Through the course of its work Horse + Bamboo has developed a close link between masked performance and music. This is a week-long course in bringing the mask alive and unfolding storytelling through musicality. We will use the recent touring show A Strange (and Unexpected!) Event as a model, working on some of the scenes and showing some of the principles about how the performance was built up. Although this is a workshop involving music, it is performance based so no musical skills are required - just an ability to open your ears to new influences!
Trainers: Loz Kaye & Victoria Lee
Course Cost Per Person: £250.00
For further details on all the above, or to book a place, contact Horse+Bamboo on 01706 220241 or see


A Call for Papers – Metaphors of Puppets
Contributions are invited to a panel convened by Matthew Isaac Cohen (Royal Holloway, University of London) and John Bell (Emerson College) at Performance Studies Institution 12, which will be held at Queen Mary, University of London, 15-18 June 2006.
Metaphors of puppets—puppet dictators, politicians who pull the strings, marionette courts—suffuse the discourses of political justice and human rights. In nearly all instances, these puppet metaphors denote the effacement of agency and the disguise of corrupt interests. But the radical nature of the puppet theatre — its potential to ventriloquate counter-hegemonic voices and speak truths that are not bound by ordinary strictures of social accountability — offers unique possibilities of critique and protest and the seeds of revolution and insurrection. The king’s head can be chopped off in a rough street puppet play with greater ease and conviction than in a published broadside or play with human actors.
This panel examines the performance of power and resistance in the struggle for human rights in terms of the metaphor of ‘the puppet’ and the performance of actual puppets. Contributions might deal, for example, with the use of puppets to assert and create new human rights; the use of puppets to deprive humans of fundamental rights; the ways that people are figured as puppets in human rights discourse, its instruments, conventions and declarations; relations between anti-puppet discrimination and violations of human rights; the paradoxical ways that puppets help shape understandings and experiences of what it is to be human. Presentations can take the form of academic papers, video lectures or lo-tech/hi-theory puppet shows. Proposals for presentations can be sent to John Bell by email to: or Matthew Cohen to:

Devoted and Disgruntled - Improbable’s Open Space Event

Devoted and Disgruntled - What are we going to do about theatre?
Facilitated by Phelim McDermott, a two-day event, 7th and 8th January 2006, 10am – 7pm
National Youth Theatre, 443-445 Holloway Road, London, N7 6LW
This Event hopes to support some creative ideas and actions around the issues you might feel devoted and disgruntled about. It will address the things you care about and maybe wish could be different in any aspect of our profession. The things which you feel are important or unaddressed in our community. It will be the first time Improbable has hosted an event like this and Improbable invite you to join us in this new adventure of trying to make change happen, or even if you are just curious about a new way of working with groups in a self organising way.
‘Open Space’ has been used all over the world with predictable results. This will be an exciting open-ended event that enables a self-organising group to use its collective imagination to deal with complex issues and it will achieve this in an incredibly short space of time. By the end of the event the following will have occurred: Every issue of concern to anybody will have been raised, if they took responsibility for doing that. All issues will have received full discussion, to the extent desired. A full report of issues and discussions will be in the hands of all participants. And YOU will have taken part in making it happen. A strong point of Open Space is its ability to unite groups of enormous diversity, to that end we are encouraging all participants. Cost: £15/person. Facilitator: Phelim McDermott, Co-Artistic Director, Improbable.
All proceeds are to cover direct costs of this event including the hire of the space, refreshments and equipment hires.
For further information, e-mail to: whatarewegoingtodoabouttheatre

Teaching Puppetry in Higher Education - A PALATINE workshop

Royal Holloway, 11 Bedford Square, London WC1
Friday, 28 April 2006, 9 am to 5 pm
Keynote speaker: Professor Henryk Jurkowski

This one-day workshop will be an initial attempt to bring together scholars, practitioners, curators and others concerned with the discipline of puppetry working in higher education (HE) and allied areas. Under investigation will be how the discipline of puppetry, with its distinctive characteristics and ways of creating meaning, is taught and learned in higher educational settings. Among the areas to be considered are how practices, theories and histories puppetry are defined and debated; how IT and digital technologies are integrated with teaching and learning puppetry; what roles museums have to play in relation to puppetry in HE. Many of the questions at this point will be preliminary. What expectations do students have of puppetry? How are canons of puppetry constructed or challenged in HE? How are theories of puppetry introduced and debated? How are practices of puppetry taught? What special resources are needed for teaching puppetry in HE?
Participants will be encouraged to circulate course materials (e.g., syllabi, course documents) in advance of the event. Emphasis will be on discussion, comparison and devising new approaches to teaching and learning.
If interested in attending, please contact Dr Matthew Isaac Cohen, Department of Drama & Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, Fax: 01784 431018, e-mail:
For more on PALATINE (Performing Arts Learning and Teaching Innovation Network), the national Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music that supports and enhances learning and teaching in higher education, see:


Puppet Notebook

The next issue of Puppet Notebook, a print publication produced by British UNIMA, includes: Poh Sim Plowright on puppetry in Rajasthan; Chris Abbot on virtual puppeteers in schools in Britain and Japan; Dispatches from Seville, Korea and Hungary; reviews of Jim Henson's philosophy, Midsummer Night's Dream at the RSC and Schubert's Winterreise. All the news and listings of puppet events in Britain and abroad, plus a seasonal treat - a copy of Grandmother's Footsteps, a designer flickbook to cut out and keep.
See for subscription details and stockists or email

We Want Muffin – Muffin the Mule on DVD

To coincide with the new TV animation comes a nicely-packaged two-disc box set of Muffin as was. This 60th anniversary collectors’ edition DVD is the most comprehensive selection of original Muffin the Mule footage ever released. All 20 of the original episodes in all their black-and-white glory, plus three unique extras: footage of the Hogarth Puppets world tour with Muffin; a film of Muffin meeting Sooty (a bizarre and wondrous gem from the BBC archives, featuring fag-in-hand Children’s TV Personality of the Year Humphrey Lestocq); and a special colour film animation called Muffin and the Reluctant Carrot, directed by Jan Bussell. Also included is a souvenir booklet on the history of Muffin, with photos of the clattering Mule himself, Annette Mills (who writes the songs) and Ann Hogarth (who pulls the strings).
Produced by Maverick. Can be ordered via Amazon or see Sales enquiries:

Ed Hartwell’s Finger Kingdom

Ed Hartwell Presents: Finger Kingdom - six tales of quests, contests, ghosts and sausages. Told with finger puppets, Finger Kingdom is set in days of old when knights rode giraffes, dragons lived in the forest, and shopping for underpants was not only dangerous, but potentially confusing as well. To find out more, visit the website:
To download all the episodes in real media format (files each between 3 and 6MB) link to:

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