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News from Puppeteers
and Companies


a puppeteer wearing a surreal maskAbalino Dance Theatre, recent winners of the Best of the Fest award at Buxton Fringe Festival, are about to embark upon a spring tour of their show Is that what you see?. The company uses innovative large-scale puppetry and dance to create exciting visual theatre. The tour is funded by Arts Council England, and is comprised of performances at Norwich Puppet Theatre (28 April, 2.30pm), Nottinghamshire STAGES programme (30 April & 1 May, 7.30pm), and Uppingham Theatre (18 May). The company is also involved in a community project in Cromer and North Norfolk, holding workshops and street performances (funded by Awards For All). For more details see or email


The Adventures of Tom Thumb, winner of a Fringe First Award at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival, is Blue Scream Theatre’s modern retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale. Tom is an old man dreaming of escaping his nursing home for one last adventure with the fairy queen, but as he relives stories of hidden treasures, hungry giants and a jealous king, his family start to question the reality of his fairytale past. The show can be seen for one day only at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio on 13 April, Komedia Theatre Brighton on 20 May, or the Trinity Theatre Kent on 27 May. Blue Scream Theatre are also seeking a writer/adviser/collaborator for their next production About Face (working title). Interests might include A.I., psychology, puppetry, masks, minotaurs and mirrors. Email:


DNA have been previewing Ball Pond Bobby, an interactive performance for pre-school children. Incorporating a nearby play ball pond, as well as drawing activities, material play and movement, the project explores the early-years development theory of ‘schema’ or themes of play. DNA are also engaged in a three year project, Imaginary Leaps, which aims to develop a methodology for providing performing-arts-based play activities to early years groups in the settings where pre-school children assemble, e.g. nurseries, play centres and children’s centres. Working in partnership with Surestart schemes in Preston and Lancashire County Council, DNA are currently seeking funders for year two pilot projects. DNA’s summer touring to festivals and events in 2007 currently includes Glastonbury, Ireland, Wales, Denmark, and various regions of the UK. Email or see 


Faulty Optic’s new show Dead Wedding premieres at the Library Theatre Manchester, 5-7 July (8pm), and will tour in the autumn. Ripped apart by the fickle Bacchae, Orpheus has found most of his strewn body parts except his legs. All that remains is for Eurydice to remarry him but she is desperately trying to wash something terrible away. As Pluto counts his legal tender, the ferryman churns up the filthy waters sending ripples throughout the whole of the Underworld. Extreme Olympian rituals are played out, ad infinitum, in a place with no night or day. See:


Invisible Bonfires is the new stage show from Forkbeard, scheduled to tour in the spring of 2007 and the autumn and winter of 2007/8. It is based on Forkbeard’s RSC Complete Works commission Rough Magyck and supported by the Climate Challenge Fund. For further information: Deborah Harrison, Administrator, Forkbeard Fantasy, PO Box 1241, Bristol, BS99 2TG, 0117 930 9933,,


2 puppets of skelatonesFollowing a successful tour of The Man Who Discovered That Women Lay Eggs in autumn 2006, Full Beam Visual Theatre is now launching its new website, where readers can find lots of information on the company and upcoming projects, plus pictures of their work. There is a large section on The Man Who, including information about the inspiration and designs for the show, the science behind the ideas, and further resources. Full Beam’s education section includes outlines for puppetry workshops and facilitated science discussions. The website also has some film clips from shows, and a
discussion board will shortly go live. See:


On a bitterly cold evening, a little match seller is unable to sell her matches. She tries warming herself by lighting them; in their light she sees a succession of visions, each disappearing as the matches go out. By the light of the last match she sees her grandmother. Hoping to keep the love of her grandmother, she quickly lights all of her matches... R&D on The Little Matchstick Girl has finished, with rehearsals beginning in March. The production opens at The Hackney Empire, London in May, and will tour the UK and Europe starting in the spring. For further information email or see


Horse + Bamboo Theatre has received a £60,000 Grant for the Arts award from the Arts Council England to modernise its rehearsal and performance space. The company will use the grant to install modern lighting and sound systems to enable it to develop its own work and that of associate companies and local community groups. Work on fitting the new technical equipment will begin at the end of March and will be completed in time for the annual Horse + Bamboo Puppet Festival in June and rehearsals for the company’s autumn tour of Veil, a collaboration with the Duke’s Theatre, Lancaster. See:


Indigo Moon have been granted £12,500 by ACE to produce their next show, Alice and The White Rabbit. This mediaeval-style adaptation will be inspired by local church carvings in Beverley and will use shadow theatre and marionettes. £1000 has also been pledged by Hull City Council for half-price school show subsidies during the show’s development. The company plan to eventually have shorter edits of the show – as a version for under-fives, and for use as a stimulus for shadow theatre students during training sessions. The team will begin devising in mid-April, performing and developing the show in schools from June onwards, hoping to tour theatres anytime from late 2007. Meanwhile The Worm that Squirmed and The Lost Forest continue to tour with no plans to stop. Public (non-school) dates are or will be posted on or for more info contact:


Director Phelim McDermott and designer Julian Crouch, two of the three co-artistic directors of Improbable, have been working in collaboration with the ENO on an adaptation of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, which will premiere at the London Coliseum on 5 April. The show runs until 1 May and is the second in Philip Glass’s famous ‘portrait’ trilogy of operas about men who have changed the world. Satyagraha is a co-production between ENO and the Metropolitan Opera New York. The Met will present Satyagraha in April 2008. See:


female puppetVenus and Adonis, The Little Angel’s acclaimed collaboration with the RSC, is back for another run in March and April. The show is based on a Shakespearean poem combining comedy, tragedy and beautiful poetry, its characters including the Goddess of Love in her chariot drawn by her doves, Adonis and his frisky stallion, a terrifying wild boar, and ugly Death himself. Also in March and April, Little Angel will also be performing Go Noah Go!, John Agard’s Caribbean adaptation of the timeless flood story, for ages 4+. Room in the Ark! is a special version for children aged between 2 and 5 years. For full listings see:


a man and women wearing masks standing on the beechLong Nose Puppets is now touring its first show, Shoe Baby. It is based on the successful children’s book by Joyce Dunbar, and is a 30 minute show for ages 2+ in which a baby takes to the air, sea and zoo, all in a shoe. The show is bursting with music, colour, movement and surprises, with over twenty puppets of varying scales acting the story. The show is set to a soundtrack which features eight original songs composed for the show by Tom Gray of Gomez. Reviewed in this edition of Animations Online! See for tour dates and news.


lost and found theatreMandy Travis continues to tour with Hannah Marshall in Lost & Found Theatre’s production The Lost Moon. It can be seen 3 March at Norwich Puppet Theatre and 9 April at the Egg Theatre as part of the Bath International Puppet Festival. It will be touring again in September and October. Meanwhile Mandy is developing a new show, Orpheus and The Underworld, to be performed at the Little Angel 23-27 July as part of their Incubate Season. She will work with Michael Fowkes, Simon Plumridge, Kath Boddy and Pete Flood. The ‘work-in-progress’ can be seen by anyone interested on Fri 27 July. Time to be confirmed nearer the date. See:


a man with a puppet snakeThe Two Bum Bun is a wickedly enchanting story, written by Peter Wynne Willson, for children aged 4+ and their families. When a dragon falls ill in a kingdom under the sea, the only thing that can save him is a rabbit’s liver. His underwater friends duly come to the rescue and produce a rabbit, but the discovery of its secret second bum means things don’t go quite to plan. In trademark flamboyant Moby Duck style, the show blends storytelling, dance, puppetry and live music with wild, exotic humour. Playing the Hull Truck Theatre, Saturday 31st March, 2pm. See:


movingstageThe Joseph Conrad Society has invited Movingstage to present their production Out of the Heart of Darkness to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Conrad’s birth. The show is a dramatic marionette spectacle that explores and reflects on the corruption, decadence and greed of the powerful Europeans and Africans contributing to the debilitating situation in Africa today. The production will be presented on the Puppet Theatre Barge at Little Venice, London, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30 June and 4-7 July, 7.30pm. Box office: 020 7249 6876. 


objects dartObjects Dart are currently involved in a very successful tour of South Africa with their largely object-based new show Jabulani and the Hungry Crocodile. The show is being performed at Unima in Cape Town, and has already received an invitation to be performed at the Voorkamer Festival in Darling in September 2007. Other upcoming plans include a new production of The Elves and the Shoemaker, another object theatre piece, due for a tryout at the Scratch Nights during the festival in Bath, 10 & 11 April. Jabulani and the Hungry Crocodile is at Lauderdale House, Highgate on 31 March. Pictures of the show (and samples of the music) are available at  


Oily Cart have released a DVD to celebrate 25 years of multi-sensory theatre for young children and those with complex disabilities. It features excerpts from early Oily shows, such as A Peck of Pickled Pepper, right through to their current touring shows, If all the World were Paper and Big Balloon. The DVD is accompanied by an illustrated booklet featuring a foreword by Lyn Gardner, and retails at £10. The DVD will be officially launched at the Let’s Pretend Early Years Creative Forum at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 20 April 2007, or you can reserve a copy by contacting Sarah Crompton, Oily Cart’s Administrator, on 020 8672 6329 or


Pandora’s Daughter (Storytelling and Puppetry) have just returned from Mali where they performed a shadow puppet myth, about how music was created in Mali, at the Festival of the Niger. They are currently working at Wakefield Art Gallery in conjunction with The Wagging Tongues Exhibition in February/March. Mary is working on a new project for Early Years, called Away with the Fairies, available from May, while Ken has a new Roman Day project for schools. They continue to be very busy in schools and libraries, and One World Many Voices, their project on childhood around the world, has been going well. See:


Lots going on at the SMPC this spring, with shows including Clydebuilt’s Red Riding Hood’s Silk Purse (28 April), Sokobauno Theatre’s Marionette Cabaret (2 June), and a performance by visiting Russian company Theatre Tut I Tam of Little Hunchback Horse (9 June), winner of the Best Performance award at the 2002 Yekaterinburg Puppet Festival. For more details on all the Centre’s shows and workshops, see  or email

Festivals and Events


dynamics 2007Dynamics 07, England’s largest biennial international puppet festival, presents everything from the uproarious nonsense of Mr Punch to mischievous Balinese clown masks and sophisticated Picasso-inspired shadowplay, all suitable for family audiences. Alongside shows from established UK puppet companies, Dynamics 07 will present the puppetry skills and traditional stories of artists from Hungary, Russia, Turkey and Pakistan. The festival takes place during May and June and is produced by PuppetLink in conjunction with promoters and venues from across the region, with productions taking place in theatres, art centres, village halls, libraries, parks, museums and schools. See: and 


man in goggles, leaves, a seagull with a top hat and  baloon powered air-shipThe 2007 Puppet Animation Festival began on 12 March and will continue until 22 April. This year’s Festival features sixteen Scottish puppetry and animation companies, eight English puppetry companies and two puppetry companies from Germany. The programme is the biggest ever, with over 300 events in over 150 venues across 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. There is also a wide variety of animation being shown at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, including two packages of Lotte Reiniger silhouette animation. The annual Puppeteer’s Weekend will be held once again at Gilmorehill, G12, in Glasgow. There will be four puppetry productions, an animated film, a workshop on accents, a seminar and discussion on adult puppetry, and a chance to network with professional puppeteers, puppetry enthusiasts and arts promoters from across the UK. For more information and to download a brochure, see:

Training and Professional
Development Opportunities


ronnie burkett with a puppet on his shoulderRoyal Holloway, University of London, The Puppet Centre Trust and London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise present Puppetry in Progress – a series of illuminating talks delivered by puppetry’s leading lights.

Between April and June 2007 The Puppet Centre will play host to a series of talks commissioned by Royal Holloway, University of London to inform and encourage critical debate about puppetry in all its forms. Each of the speakers has had a significant impact on the way in which puppetry is viewed and over the course of the series their combined experience will serve to paint a picture of puppetry’s progress to date and cast a light upon the paths that lie ahead.

22nd April:         Ronnie Burkett – Text in Performance.

Canada’s foremost puppetry artist Ronnie Burkett has been credited with creating some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppet theatre. Best known for combining beautifully crafted and manipulated marionettes with equally beautifully crafted scripts Ronnie will offer an insight into the creation and interpretation of text for puppetry. This event coincides with Ronnie Burkett’s Theatre of Marionette’s new show 10 Days on Earth at the Barbican from 18th April to 5th May.

23rd May:         Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams.
In assembling this extraordinary collection of short puppet films by independent artists Heather Henson aimed to showcase a new generation of puppeteers who embrace film as a medium for their individual expressions. One of those artists, London-based director Simon A. Brown, will be present for questions and answers on his featured short Project Huxley.

30th May:         Julian Crouch – Work in Progress.
Julian Crouch is a director, designer, writer, teacher mask and puppetmaker whose career has spanned Theatre, Opera, Film and Television. A co-founder of Improbable Theatre, Julian has achieved international acclaim with shows including Shockheaded Peter and The Theft of Sita and is currently working with English National Opera on the London stage premiere of Phillip Glass’s Satyagraha. Find out more about Julian’s current work with puppets, and without.

7th June:         Lyn Gardner – Reviewing Puppets
“There is nothing in British theatre more likely to fill critics and audiences with despair than a show involving puppetry” says Lyn Gardner, renowned theatre reviewer for The Guardian. Here she will speak about her experience of reviewing plays with puppets and challenging critical attitudes towards puppetry.

13th June: Nigel Plaskitt – Puppets, Muppets and Robots in Film and TV
With a CV spanning TV (Pipkins, Spitting Image), film (Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Muppet Christmas Carol) and theatre (Doctor Doolittle, Avenue Q) Nigel Plaskitt is synonymous with popular puppetry in the UK. His years of experience in creating animated characters for stage and screen will inform what promises to be a fascinating lecture

Tickets are free but extremely limited so advance booking is essential. To book your tickets please email with your name and contact details noting which talks you would like to attend and how many tickets you require. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

All talks begin at 7pm and last for approximately 90 minutes including a question and answer session except for Nigel Plaskitt – Puppets, Muppets and Robots in TV and film which will start at 8pm and Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams which will start at 7pm and finish at 10.30pm.

The series will be hosted at The Puppet Centre, BAC, Lavender Hill, London. SW11 5TN.
For further information email  or call 020 7228 5335.


The company will be running two Summer Schools in 2007, 29 June – 6 July & 13 July – 20 July. The six-day residential courses are held in the heart of rural Devon and give participants the opportunity to explore the diverse artforms used in Forkbeard’s multi-media shows, films and exhibitions. Cost: £600 (includes accommodation and all meals). For further information: Deborah Harrison, Administrator, Forkbeard Fantasy, PO Box 1241, Bristol, BS99 2TG, 0117 930 9933,,


A unique professional development opportunity for all interested in large-scale open air celebratory and processional performance. The International Workshop Festival is bringing the Australian company Snuff Puppets ( to London this September for an intensive professional practice exchange. Working in collaboration with the South Bank Centre and the Thames Festival, the IWF will be hosting three weeks exploring ways to make big and spectacular work in a community setting. There are a number of places available for young and emergent artists to work alongside Snuff Puppets and leading British practitioners in a rare examination of process. For more information contact IWF on 0207 091 966


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