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PUPPETEER AND COMPANY UPDATES
Forkbeard Fantasy’s latest show The Colour of Nonsense is a comedy thriller about a priceless Invisible Artwork… and its theft. With Forkbeard’s famed mix of visual trickery and film, and nods at Edward Lear and The Emperor’s New Clothes, this new production is about the highs and lows of creativity and the paralysis of indecision. Currently touring nationally.
See www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk for details.
Mark Pitman is currently in Lublin, Poland, co-directing a new version of Sindbad The Sailor with Shaun Myatt. The premiere was at the Andersen Theatre on 26 September; it drew from designs for the previous production, but used four puppeteers and two musicians and an extended text. (Take a look at www.en.teatrandersena.pl) In October Garlic Theatre started rehearsals for a new family show, Little Red Robin Hood,directed by Steve Tiplady, and then for Christmas the company are touring their hugely successful show OldMother Hubbard. Garlic Theatre have moved premises so catch up with the new address on the website –
www.garlictheatre.org.uk – and note the new email address: email@example.com
Oily Cart return to the Lyric Hammersmith this Christmas with a new multi-sensory and interactive show for 3-6 year olds. Christmas Baking Time will be performed in the studio at the Lyric Hammersmith 27 November 2009 – 3 January 2010. Two playful bakers battle through flour snowstorms, forests of breadstick trees and jagged mountains of crust. Meet marvelous dough characters as the aroma of Christmas baking fills the room. For tickets and information book online at www.lyric.co.uk or contact the box office at the Lyric Hammersmith on 0871 22 117 22.
ON THE OTHER HAND
This autumn On the Other Hand Puppet Theatre Company will be playing their show The Marvelous Magical Coat at Longparish Community Assocation, Hants (22 November) and Somborne Community Hall (12 December). Tales of the Washing Line will be at Gosbecks Primary School, Colchester (17 November) and Chase Lane Primary School, Chingford (24 November). The Henry VIII Show will visit The Tower of London 31 October – 1 November.
Crafty Kids Ltd make wonderfully original puppet and craft kits… for kids! All kits have been designed by BMPTG member, TV puppet-maker and puppeteer Sally Preisig. Each kit comes in a recyclable cardboard spotted tub, complete with full ingredients, instructions, brush, glue and multiple colours of paint. The puppets have special tags to thread them all together. All the kits are aimed at the school-aged child (4+). Kits are available to trade buyers as well as specially made half kits for teachers, party planners and workshop leaders. Sally offers any BMPTG or Puppeteers UK listed member a 10% discount if you contact her directly with an order of any size. Quote code: BMPTGX09. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01329 661161.
Sally’s whole range of kits can be seen at www.craftykids.co.uk
Plunge into a universe of galaxies, mysterious women, Greek Gods and layer cakes... Horse+Bamboo’s Deep Time Cabaret is a humorous anarchic production that mixes theatre, Eastern European absurdism, folk songs and dances with film and animation to create a visually evocative and powerful story. Written, directed and designed by Bob Frith; music by Loz Kaye; puppet design and direction by Alison Duddle; film and animation coordination by Steff Lee. Playing 28 November at the Boo, Deep Time Cabaret digs into local myths and stories, using cabaret to remind us of the wholeness and interdependence of everything on the planet. Also at the Boo this season are Freehand Theatre with Who’s Been Sitting in My Chair? (13 December).
For more info see www.horseandbamboo.org
BLIND SUMMIT THEATRE
In post-revolutionary London, under the watchful eyes of the Thought Police, Julia and Winston begin a clandestine romance... With its predictions of globalisation, surveillance paranoia and control through language, George Orwell’s classic futuristic tale is acutely relevant for our time. This startling new production by Blind Summit Theatre combines physical theatre, puppetry and music to create a cutting-edge and thought-provoking piece of theatre this autumn. Touring: Royal and Derngate, Northampton (17-21 November); The Point, Eastleigh (24 & 25 November); Corn Exchange, Newbury (27 November); BAC, London (2 December – 9 January).
Objects Dart are working on a long-term project, Stories on a Shoestring, which incorporates elements of style from previous performances, but, as the title implies, seeks to simplify and extract the essence of each story. Well known stories and stories from around the world are being examined, stripped of extraneous details and performed in ways that maximise the capabilities of the object-puppets created. Beautifully simple shadow imagery, clever manipulation techniques, specially created music and storytelling are all being used as tools for communication. Stories on a Shoestring also has an element of free play which will change and adapt to each different audience.
Púca’s new show for children 5-10yrs or family audiences, Stone Soup had a rough previewing in August. A collaboration with clowns/actors Amy Conroy and Joe Moylan it’s a tabletop show devised from a traditional fable. With very positive and constructive feedback, work has now begun on the final set and puppets. Due to funding and production challenges the opening has rescheduled for May/June 2010. Fan’s of Púca’s 2001 show Mary Mary’s Last Dance may be pleased to hear that its star is making a reappearance, albeit a virtual one. As part of Niamh Lawlor’s participation in a co-mentorship project, a short film Mary Mary Calling Earth has been completed and can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/6533126 – it is Mary Mary’s plea from ‘limbo’ asking for help imagining heaven. It is hoped that the responses may inform a further piece of work from this puppet who over the years has proved popular in Púca’s workshop programmes. The film will form part of workshops to facilitate responses to the piece.
For more info email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 00353 1 8944922
In Hanging by a Thread the audience is slowly guided into a wordless story. The two characters are a mother and daughter who create and are consumed by a bed that has developed a life of its own. Using objects, puppetry, physical performance and original music to depict obscure worlds and shadowy emotions, Hanging by a Thread stirs and delights its audiences. Devised and performed by Amelia Pimlott and Hannah Marshall of The Ding Foundation, with puppet direction by Steve Tiplady and lighting by Jack Knowles. At Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead 27 November.
FESTIVALS AND EXHIBITIONS
PRIZES FOR PUPPETRY, EDINBURGH
The big puppetry winner at this year’s Fringe was The River People’s Lilly Through the Dark, which won the Total Theatre Award for an Emerging Artist/Company as well as one of just three Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prizes awarded for ’09. Kristin Fredricksson scooped a Total Theatre Award for Devised Performance for her puppet-inclusive show Everything Must Go (Or the Voluntary Attempt to Overcome Unnecessary Obstacles), and Improbable Theatre were given a Total Theatre Award for a Significant Contribution to Theatre Making.
The Amazing Chang: The Magic of Whittington-Wickes
Treasure Trove Puppet Company have been invited to perform their latest production of A Chinese Tale, The Story of Willow Pattern Plate at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum. Willow Pattern Plate is to form part of the museum’s The Amazing Chang: The Magic of Whittington-Wickes, an exhibition about the notable early 20th century magician The Amazing Chang, open now and running until 10 January 2010. Chang performed in New York and Paris and toured the UK with his magic acts. He was known for his ‘Chinese Fantasy’ based on the story of The Willow Pattern Plate, performing tricks such as producing doves from a seemingly empty chest of draws and catching a bullet with his teeth. Entry for the exhibition is free but places are limited.
The Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival is a five-day international festival that draws together a challenging, entertaining and inspiring programme encompassing puppetry, visual and physical theatre and animation. The Festival is produced in association with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – a natural home for Manipulate as it is a theatre that embraces challenging work and has at its helm an artistic director who is a supporter of the artform of puppetry for both children and adults. Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2010 will take place 2-6 February.
When finalised the programme will be put up on the Festival website: www.manipulatefestival.org
11th INTERNATIONAL STUDENT PUPPET THEATRE FESTIVAL, TEHRAN
The 11th International Student Puppet Theatre Festival, sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is intended to promote the knowledge of students of theatre in Iran by inviting selected overseas performers to present work alongside domestic companies/artists. The Festival runs 28 November – 5 December.
The Suspense festival, the first puppetry-specific festival in London for 25 years, runs 30 October to 8 November 2009. Hosted by Islington’s Little Angel Theatre, with shows and events at seven different venues across London, the festival embraces twenty-four companies, with performances, lectures and masterclasses from UK and International practitioners. Highlights include performances from UK companies Green Ginger and Horse and Bamboo, US company Inkfish and TAMTAM Objektentheater from the Netherlands, plus an exciting programme at The Pleasance of new work by UK companies, including Touched Theatre(pictured at top), Unpacked, and Pangolin’s Teatime. See the In Suspense feature in this edition by director Peter Glanville. Full details at www.suspensefestival.com
TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
CSSD SUSPENSE TRAINING: TWO-DAY WORKSHOPS
AND PHILIPPE GENTY MASTERCLASS
As part of the new Suspense Festival, the Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre and the Puppetry course at The Central School of Speech and Drama will has been hosting workshops on puppetry/object theatre. The last of these, running 2-5 November, is an opportunity to join a four-day masterclass with Philippe Genty Company (workshop led by Eric de Sarria and Simon Rann) and concentrating on two tools central to the artistic process of the Genty company: the manipulation of materials nourished by personal memory. On 6 November Central School of Speech and Drama and Little Angel Theatre will also jointly hold a one-day symposium, Objects in Performance, which will include talks and presentations by object theatre practitioners, researchers and performers at Suspense. For more information and for workshop application/fees see www.cssd.ac.uk or email cariad.astles.ac.uk
For other workshops at Suspense Festival, see www.suspensefestival.com
NORWICH PUPPET THEATRE
New for the autumn at Norwich Puppet Theatre is Out of the Shadows, a series of masterclasses and talks lead by Steve Tiplady, Peter O’Rourke, Mark Whitaker and Tim Hunkin, aimed at puppeteers, students and adults with an interest in puppetry. Full details of all events are available on
www.puppettheatre.co.uk – or call Ian Woods on 01603 629921.
The company is opening early booking for its two Summer Schools, 2-9 July and 16-23 July 2010, and its February short courses. See www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk for details. See also the feature article on Summer School 2009 in this edition of Animations Online!
SCOTTISH MASK AND PUPPET CENTRE
Among the dozen or so puppet shows visiting the SMPC this season are Folding Theatre Company’s Brier Rose, a puppet interpretation of the Brothers Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty (14 November); Yugen Puppet’s The Magic Horse, the story of a magical steed that can take its owner anywhere in the world (28 November); and for Christmas Sokobauno Theatre’s Christmas at Hotel Marionette, where audiences can meet juggling marionettes, a pianist with a twist up his grand piano, and a clown who can’t keep his head on (12 December). For full listings and info on SMPC classes and workshops see www.scottishmaskandpuppetcentre.co.uk or email email@example.com
THE UNICORN THEATRE
Once upon a stormy night, while the wind and the rain were howling outside, the Royals were all tucked up warm in bed. Suddenly there came a knock at the door and a very wet, very untidy girl was brought inside. Banyan Theatre’s Princess and the Pea (previously at the Polka Theatre) is getting a run at the Unicorn. A quirky and inventive adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s bedtime tale played out among sheets and blankets with puppets, objects and dreamlike projections, Princess and the Pea is for ages 2-5yrs and is open now, running until 1 November.
PUPPET THEATRE BARGE
As part of the Suspense festival, the Puppet Barge are bringing back their critically-lauded show Out of the Heart of Darkness, a dramatic marionette spectacle that takes an imaginative look at Africa today and how diamonds still create tension, greed, darkness, and dishonesty. The hand-carved string figures are worked from above and are made specifically for the production. The action moves dramatically from the River Thames to a river in Africa and is supported by exciting music complete with a tribal ceremony giving the viewer a powerful experience of Africa. Out of the Heart of Darkness plays 1-8 November. The Puppet Barge also have three productions – Brer Rabbit Visits Africa, Mr Rabbit meet Brer Santa, and Joey’s Fireworks – running various dates November to March.
For full listings see www.puppetbarge.com
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE
In November, and as part of the Suspense festival, the Little Angel present Compagnie Papierthéâtre’s Romeo and Juliet, a puppet-scripted paper theatre version of the Shakespeare classic (5 November); TAMTAM Objektentheater’s To Have or Not to Have?, a rusty fairytale full of beautiful images with elements of the spaghetti-western, a shot of Shakespeare and a generous dose of subtle humour (6 November); and Inkfish’s The Brain, an experiment in puppet theatre exploring the life and science of Albert Einstein (7 & 8 November). For Christmas Little Angel are putting on two in-house productions: Petrushka, inspired by the music of Stravinski and written by the celebrated poet John Agard; and a revival of Splish Splash!, the story of a little fish on an unexpected adventure in the big wide world.
For more see: www.littleangeltheatre.com/lat
NORWICH PUPPET THEATRE
The autumn season marks the beginning of exciting developments at the Puppet Theatre with new productions in the pipeline for 2010 and beyond. New for the autumn at Norwich Puppet Theatre: The NPT Puppet Course and Puppet Club restarted in September and the Little Angel Theatre will be in residence for Christmas with their presentation of Lyndie Wright’s production of Cindermouse, and NPT will also be presenting Snow White. Full details of all events are available on www.puppettheatre.co.uk – or call Ian Woods on 01603 629921.
CAMDEN PEOPLE’S THEATRE
Applications are now being accepted for Sprint 2010, which will take place in London next March. CPT are happy to accept proposals for imagined or existing works from emerging or established companies and individuals working in theatre, performance and live art. Previous participants include: Unlimited, Cartoon de Salvo, Fevered Sleep, Shunt, Wishbone, Chris Goode, The Paper Birds and Mamoru Iriguchi, with work encompassing one-on-one performances, boat trips, durational performances, puppetry… the list goes on.
For more information or to apply (deadline 30 November ’09) download an application form at www.cptheatre.co.uk
This Christmas the Roundhouse presents Little Angel Theatre’s Jelly Bean Jack, an exciting new version of Jack and the Beanstalk that combines tabletop and shadow puppetry, bringing to life the story of the brave little boy who climbs a magic beanstalk and overcomes a fearful giant (5 December – 3 January; ages 3+). Also playing over the Christmas period, Tall Stories and Network of Stuff’s Them With Frozen Tails follows up previous successes The Gruffalo and The Pickled King with another masterclass in storytelling (15 December – 3 January).
Highgate’s Lauderdale House has two puppetry shows for the autumn/winter: Barking Dog Theatre’s Cinderella and the Stinky Slipper, a quirky reinterpretation of the classic fairytale with rousing music, puppets and plenty of audience participation (28 November; ages 3-8); and A Thousand Cranes’ The Milky Way, a beautiful tale of friendship set amongst the stars, retold using traditional Kamishibai or Japanese paper theatre (12 December).
ROYAL NORTHERN COLLEGE OF MUSIC
Saturday 28 November, 10pm – midnight, the South Bank Gamelan Players occupy the informal surroundings of the RNCM Café Bar for a Wayang kulit performance with puppeteer Matthew Isaac Cohen. This exciting English language performance of traditional Javanese shadow puppetry, accompanied by full gamelan, will fill the night with ancient wisdom and topical humour.