AO 23: summer 2008
News from Puppeteers and Companies
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE
This summer the Little Angel Theatre are running a host of productions and workshops for children and adults. Scholastica and the Creation of the Benedictine Rule, a powerful piece of music-drama exploring the foundation of Western monasticism by the creation of the 'Rule of St Benedict', played in early June, and LAT’s eclectic cabaret night, the Puppet Grinder, returns 19 & 20 July. For children and adults, LAT’s production of the Grimm fairytale The Elves and the Shoemaker (adapted by Violet Philpott, puppets by Lyndie Wright) runs 17 May - 29 June, Wednesday - Sunday. See www.littleangeltheatre.com for full details of these shows and the Angel’s upcoming productions. Or call 020 7226 1787 for the Box Office.
Following on from Little Red Things, Gomito Productions are currently touring The Sun Dragon, the second part of their trilogy for children. The show will be in the UK until the end of 2008 before making way for The Curator’s Apprentice (working title). Wanting to keep many fingers in many pies Gomito are also developing one of their more adult shows Before We Remember which will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2008. More information and listings can be found at www.thesundragon.co.uk
RAY DASILVA BOOKS
Ray DaSilva’s website has recently been completely transformed. There are photos of over 400 books available to puppeteers at reasonable prices, and they can now be purchased online via Paypal (you don’t need a Paypal account to purchase). Click www.puppetbooks.co.uk for a nice surprise.
Mervyn Millar is continuing his work with the National Theatre as Associate on War Horse. He is also working with Kazuko Hohki and Andy Cox, with whom he created the award-winning Evidence for the Existence of Borrowers, on a new show in collaboration with Nordland Visual Theatre in Norway, and is continuing his involvement as puppetry designer with Rae Smith and David McVicar on their productions in Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg. The Horse's Mouth, his book about the making of War Horse, is available from the NT Bookshop, Amazon and some other bookshops.
Following the great success of the Manchester BLUE project, rehearsals have just begun for Oily Cart’s new show Pool Piece, a major development of the company’s highly acclaimed work in hydrotherapy pools. In June 2008 the company will be involved in two weeks of intensive work in the hydropool at Amwell View School in Hertfordshire as part of Apple Cart, a collaboration between THEATRE IS... and Apples & Snakes, England's leading organisation for performance poetry. The residency at Amwell View School will be followed by a five-week project involving a series of repeat visits to three special schools in London: Michael Tippett School, Watergate School and St Ann's School. Throughout the preparation and performance period, Pool Piece will be documented and analysed by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Dundee, who specialises in parent-infant interaction and communication. It is likely that this new relationship will prove highly significant to the company’s future work.
Theatre-Rites is creating a new site-specific show, Salt, for the Ruhr Triennale Festival, Germany. Director Sue Buckmaster will collaborate with designer / co-director Louise Ann Wilson and composer Andy Pink to create a magical journey through a fabulous, derelict salt factory. Performers, puppeteers and musicians will bring the factory to life, exploring themes of earth, water, air and fire, guiding audiences of ninety people around a wonderful installation. Theatre-Rites is the first company commissioned by the Festival to create work aimed specifically at children and family audiences. For audiences aged 8+, performing 31 August - 14 September, 2008.
Details at www.theatre-rites.co.uk
FAERIES AT ROH
Faeries is a show for adults and younger children that will use a combination of puppetry, dance and old-fashioned storytelling to propel audiences into a world of mystery, magic, imps and fairies. Taking the visual world of the 19th century artist and illustrator Arthur Rackham as a starting point the production follows a young girl and her twilight adventures when she finds herself alone late one afternoon in Kensington Park. With choreographed puppets manipulated by dancers who then switch to become the fairies they manipulate, the play between scales and perspectives creates a highly theatrical yet intimate world as reliant on the imagination as any props or scenery. Directed by Will Tuckett; puppets by Blind Summit Theatre. 14-19 July, Clore Studio.
Established in 2003, Crafty Kids make wonderfully original puppet and craft kits for kids! All are designed by BMPTG member and TV puppet-maker and puppeteer Sally Preisig. Each kit comes in a recyclable cardboard spotted tub, complete with full ingredients, instructions, brush, multiple colours of paint and glue, and the puppets have special tags to thread them all together. All the kits are aimed at the school-aged child (4+). Kits available in bulk to trade buyers too - contact Sally for details; or you if you just want one, simply order online! See www.craftykids.co.uk or email email@example.com
LONG NOSE PUPPETS
Long Nose is a Brighton-based puppet company. They create inspiring, inventive and colourful puppet shows for the very young. They are currently touring two shows: Shoe Baby and Flyaway Katie, both adapted from successful children's books by Joyce and Polly Dunbar. Both shows are packed full of characters, colour and sparkly things and are performed to music by Tom Gray of Gomez. As well as touring theatres and festivals, Long Nose are available for school visits and puppet-making workshops. See www.longnosepuppets.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
DYNAMIC NEW ANIMATION
Dynamic New Animation (DNA) are touring Dr Nose Travels Through Time for families and Ball Pond Bobby for early years audiences. For Summer 2008, DNA are headlining the 3-Foot People Festival in Chelmsford - the UK's only four-day festival for under 5s - and the children's area of the Green Man festival with their Puppets A Go Go! touring theatre marquee. Imaginary Leaps - a groundbreaking programme for inspiring and developing creativity through guided play for early years settings - has finished the piloting and evaluation phase and now DNA are offering training sessions and play-kits to early years settings, nurseries and children's centres nationwide. The company is also developing bespoke play-kits and training sessions for EUREKA! Museum for Children Halifax. DNA's versatile puppets for youth projects The Hoodies are in use by The Lancaster Grand's Footlights Youth Theatre on their Animal Farm production as well as URBIS on the We Make Manchester project as part of the year long Portrait of a Nation activities. See www.dynamicnewanimation.co.uk / www.portraitofanation.net or email email@example.com
PUPPET THEATRE BARGE
Footprints in the Wilderness, a new marionette drama, opens in July based on the life of the man who saved the white rhino and his friendship with his Zulu mentor. The production is about the getting of wisdom from indigenous peoples, the animals and the wilderness. Carved marionettes, together with lighting and a specially composed soundscape, voiced by Simon Callow and Ben Onwukwe, make this a unique spectacle. Also at the Puppet Barge: The Flight of Babuscha Baboon, a new presentation of the story of a baboon who wants to fly to the moon in a hot air balloon. She meets an elephant whose life is threatened by ivory hunters. Can the baboon save the elephant? See www.puppetbarge.com
War Horse, based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford, will be revived in the Olivier Theatre from September 2008, directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home. Handspring Puppet Company was founded in Cape Town in 1981 by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler. Several of their productions have toured internationally, including Starbrites, Woyzeck on the Highveld and Ubu and the Truth Commission. Their most recent production, Tall Horse, the story of a captured giraffe, toured to America and Germany in 2005. See www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
NUTMEG AND BEWICK’S BIBLE
Several of Nutmeg's puppets will feature in a new short film by Peter Snowdon – Bewick’s Bible. Filmed on location in April in the beautiful early 19th century Lit. and Phil. Library in Newcastle, it was funded by an award from Northern Film and Media. Peter contacted Meg Amsden after seeing photos of her egret puppets on the PUK website. In the film Thomas Bewick's wonderful engravings of animals and trees (which are held in the library) come to life. A dull librarian and a researcher are attacked by plants, a bear, a panther and a snake, and end up naked in the Garden of Eden as Adam and Eve. Live owls, a hawk and two baby lambs also appear with the puppets. The crew of 30 included two French actors; a Hungarian cinematographer and assistant; Molly Barrett (prop and puppet maker for Nutmeg, and creator of Central School Student Puppet Festival ’07 hit, The Elephant's Child), who stepped in at the last minute as designer; and her friends Kate Eccles (wardrobe mistress) and Verity Quinn (assistant puppeteer to Meg), who all three graduated from Trent University in’07. Newcastle puppeteer Ali McGowan donated a flowery chunk of her allotment to the set. The film will be shown on the NFM website: www.northernmedia.org
FIGURE OF SPEECH
This year Figure of Speech is working with Indian musicians to create a complete performance based on the Hindu cyclical universe. Gods and Demons, an Indian shadow puppet performance, will be accompanied by Sitar and percussion, and is currently looking for tour venues for the autumn. A preview performance can be seen in Bristol on 12 July. ‘It is the end of one great cycle of creation. Believing himself to be blind the Great Lord Brahma creator of the universe searches for a glimmer of light in the ashes of a broken cosmos.’ See www.figureofspeech.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Having returned from six performances of The Elves and the Shoemaker at the International Puppet Festival in Turkey, which took place in four towns in both theatres and schools, Objects Dart continue to tour with four shows: Jabulani and the Hungry Crocodile, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Little Red Riding Hood, and Salt. In addition, Objects Dart is performing its first piece specifically for adults. Commissioned by the Crystal Palace Community Association, Coincidence is an object theatre piece about the journey to Turkey and everything that happened there.
Objects Dart has a newly revamped website - www.objectsdart.info - and details of forthcoming festivals and performances can be found on the news page of the website. Upcoming festivals include Beverley, Buxton and Cape Town, South Africa.
ONE MOMENT IN TIME
One Moment In Time Theatre are currently touring their new project, The Bird Book. Company co-founders Bronia Evers and Gerry Spiller were delighted to receive a grant from Awards For All to develop the project in 2007. Collaborating with director Caroline Thompson and musician Hannah Marshall, One Moment In Time have created a production, workshops and teaching resources based on the theme of a bird’s migratory flight path from Africa to Britain. They will be performing at the Discover Centre in Stratford East on 12 July, and at several festivals, schools and arts venues throughout the summer and autumn. For more details please visit www.OneMomentInTimeTheatre.com
2008 has been a good year so far for Mucky Puppets Films. To start the year the company screened The Tale of Mr. Fox at the Roxy Screen and Candid Arts Projection Room. Fingers was filmed in February and premiered at Flixation Underground Film Club in Bloomsbury. Both Flight and Shadow of Crows were screened on ITV4 as part of their CobraVision Film Competition. Coming soon is The Tarot Terror a compilation of Bunny Marionette films with recently shot new material, and dark fairytale Frau Trude, based on the Brothers Grimm story. See the films at www.muckypuppets.blogspot.com
After a break for artistic development, and having hired another full time performer and worked with the Little Angel, Sooty and Long Nose Puppets over the last year, WishWorks are back to full power! The company have five puppet shows currently available for primary schools and events; old favourites Whispering Smith (shyness), Fynn Dragon (bullying) and Jamie's Dog Dinners (healthy eating) are joined by two new shows. Excalibur Carrot introduces woodland animals, their habitats, habits and hobbies, and finishes with a story that combines The Sword in the Stone with the Enormous Turnip - educational fun! The Terror of the Deep show is an adventure into the sea; it introduces sea life, a beautiful mermaid, fearsome pirates and a brave rabbit, and discovers what they all think is the scariest thing under the sea (humans!). See www.wishworks.co.uk
FIGURENTHEATER DER NATIONEN FESTIVAL
The FIDENA (Figurentheater der Nationen) Festival takes place this year 12-21 September in Bochum, Germany. 2008 will be the festival’s 50th anniversary, with about twenty internationally renowned companies coming from France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Denmark. A particular highlight will be Neville Tranter's world premiere of his new production Cuniculus. The complete programme is available at: www.fidena.de
TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT COURSES AND WORKSHOPS
Each summer Forkbeard Fantasy hold residential courses at their friendly and inspiring creative base in the heart of rural Devon. The week-long courses enable participants to explore the wild and diverse array of techniques, technologies and artforms used in Forkbeard's work, including animation, film, theatre, automata, puppetry and sound. 27 June - 4 July & 11 July - 18 July 2008. For further information contact: Forkbeard Fantasy, PO Box 1241, Bristol, BS99 2TG / www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk / email@example.com / 0117 9309933.
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE
Summer workshops include a one-week professional development carving workshop with John Roberts (14-18 July).
See www.littleangeltheatre.com or call 020 7226 1787
LONDON SCHOOL OF PUPPETRY
Alongside its Professional Puppeteers Diploma and Teacher Training programme, the London School of Puppetry is running a number of shorter summer courses for 2008. See www.londonschoolofpuppetry.com for more details.
PUPPET THEATRE: INTRODUCTION AND EXPLORATION
MONDAY4 - FRIDAY15 AUGUST 2008
Puppet Animation Scotland, in partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, is pleased to announce this exciting opportunity for people with a strong interest in puppet theatre, and a desire to develop their own practical skills and knowledge.
This is an introduction to the wide range of necessary skills and techniques used by successful professionals in the creation of their work.
Students will collaborate with leading Scottish practitioners to present a performance of their own devising, having identified and developed themes and ideas, designed and built puppets, and rehearsed their animation and manipulation. This course will also include a brief exploration of the rich history and heritage of puppet theatre, placing the work created during the two weeks within the context of the art form as well as the broader world of theatre and the arts.
Course leader: Kim Bergsagel (Artistic Director, Puppet Lab)
Tutors: Ian Cameron (Artistic Director, Plutot la Vie)
Symon MacIntyre (Artistic Director, Puppet Lab)
Shona Reppe (Artistic Director, Shona Reppe Puppets)
Summer school fee: £495
For entry information and all further details about the course please contact:
Puppet Animation Scotland
35 Regent Quay
01224 575 743
Please do not contact the RSAMD as they are not co-ordinating the course or booking process. PAS is offering a small number of grants to assist with course fees. Please contact them for further details.