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Welcome to the Autumn 2010 edition of Animations Online!

In the editorial of our last edition, I raised the question of what the ‘related arts’ part of our remit to cover ‘puppetry and related arts’ might mean. One form that is without doubt a close artistic relative of puppetry is mask – although the exact nature of that relationship is a hotly disputed subject.

In another fascinating adapted excerpt from her forthcoming book, Penny Francis clarifies the relationship and offers us many wonderful insights into the world of the mask.

Mask is also the subject of another of our autumn edition articles: I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend a month in Bali earlier this year, and to witness first-hand a culture where both mask and puppetry are at the heart not only of artistic practice, but also of daily life and religious/spiritual observance. In the second part of my reflection on Balinese performing arts, Of Kings and Clowns, featured in this edition, I report on the tradition of topeng, which is part of the integrated arts practice of Bali, in which puppetry, mask, dance-drama, and music are seen as interrelated forms, each mastered to some degree by most Balinese performing arts practitioners.

Although in our culture, mask and puppetry tend to be kept away from public spaces and confined to the theatre, there are some exceptions – most notably the large-scale puppets, masks, and animated structures that are a familiar element of street arts festivals, carnivals, and other festive outdoor events. In October, the Puppet Centre Trust is collaborating with the Independent Street Arts Network and the Carnival Arts Centre in Luton in the creation of the Big Ideas conference – an opportunity for artists, producers and other interested parties to spend two days learning and sharing information on large-scale work for outdoor events. See our special news item for further details. This will, of course, be reported on fully in the next edition!

In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy this Autumn edition of Animations Online – and if you have any proposals for future editions, we are always pleased to receive them.

Dorothy Max Prior


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