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PUPPETEERS AND COMPANY NEWS
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GARLIC THEATRE


In October Mark Pitman directed Tineola’s production of Around the World in a Tea Kettle, a celebration of Edward’s Lear’s world of nonsense, which has premiered at the Grasshopper Theatre in Berlin. Currently Garlic Theatre is touring a new folk glove puppet show for 3-7 years called Old Mother Hubbard, directed by Steve Tiplady and designed by Prague-based Michaela Bartonova. As well as touring the UK, the company is researching and developing an adult show about the Burmese war. Garlic Theatre will later be collaborating with Shaun Myatt and working with the Andersen Theatre in Lublin, Poland to direct a production of Sindbad for September 2009.

See www.garlictheatre.org.uk or email garlic.10@ntlworld.com


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MERVYN MILLAR

Mervyn Millar is designing and directing puppetry for Will Tuckett's The Thief of Baghdad at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, and for Siegfried, directed by David McVicar at Opera National du Rhin, Strasbourg. He will write and direct a new site-specific piece for Hampton Court Palace in the summer and is developing a new show with Kazuko Hohki and Andy Cox in Arctic Norway. He is also appearing in War Horse at the National Theatre till March, on which he was Associate and wrote the book The Horse's Mouth: Staging Morpurgo's War Horse.

See www.roh.org.uk/whatson/production.aspx?pid=7146 or www.onr.fr or www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/warhorse

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PÚCA PUPPETS

Púca Puppets opened their new shadow show in September. Written by poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill it had original music and soundscapes by Slavek Kwi and Colm Ó Snodaigh of Kíla. Inspired by Seal people or Selkie stories, Róisín agus an Rón (Róisín and the Seal), and its aftershow discussion, was enjoyed by over 2000 children and their parents. Further touring is planned for 2009. Meanwhile two new shows are in preparation alongside workshops and residencies in schools and other venues.

See Púca’s page under Production Companies at www.irishtheatreonline.com or contact pucapuppets@eircom.net

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OILY CART


Oily Cart will be touring How Long is a Piece of String? their new show for 2-6 year olds until 14 February 2009. After a Christmas run at the Unicorn in London the show will visit Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Macrobert Arts Centre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Malvern Theatres and Warwick Arts Centre. The company then go into rehearsals for their new show for young people with complex disabilities, Something in the Air, which will be a collaboration with the aerialist company Ockham's Razor.

For more information about Oily Cart see www.oilycart.org.uk or email oilies@oilycart.org.uk

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OBJECTS DART


After a triumphant run of performances at Out The Box in Cape Town this year, yet again the Christmas season has sold out this year for Objects Dart, with performances of Little Red Riding Hood (recently seen at Stratford Circus), Salt (seen at Out The Box in South Africa), The Elves and the Shoemaker (Blue Elephant Theatre), and, by public demand, A Special Child (a sweet and funny nativity play that premiered in 2006).

In addition, the company’s newest show Tom Tit Tot is now touring – this is an English version of Rumplestiltskin, contributed by Mrs A. Walter Thomas to the Ipswich Journal (number 15) in 1878 (she had heard the story from her old west Suffolk nurse). The run of shows continues into 2009 with a string of performances to celebrate National Storytelling Week, 31 January – 7 February. Public events include a performance of Jabulani and the Hungry Crocodile on 7 February at the Churchill theatre, and a performance of Tom Tit Tot on 9 February at the Upper Norwood Library.


See www.objectsdart.info

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BLUNDERBUS

Grandpa Joe has flown away to join the angels, and Molly misses him terribly. Then, one day a mysterious parcel arrives on the doorstep; inside, a magician’s cloak and hat. Molly has a brilliant idea – she's going to put on the most spectacular magic show, and invite everyone along. Grandpa Joe's Magic Show is the story of a little girl who finds magic in the smallest of things. This enchanting, magical tale features a unique and enchanting musical score and a host of vibrant puppets joining Molly Moon on her adventure to make people smile again! Waggy Dog, Anastasia the Cat and Molly Moon enact a beautiful,  heart-warming story for 4-7 year olds and their families! Touring from Nov 2008 - Jul 2009.
See www.blunderbus.co.uk

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MIMIKA THEATRE


After an enforced hiatus of over two years Mimika Theatre are pleased to announce that they are back. The new show, small worlds, begins touring Yorkshire schools in January 2009. The first public presentation will be at the Children First Festival in Singapore during March (www.childrenfirst.com.sg). Small worlds is the latest project to be housed in Mimika's dome-shaped canvas tent. Fusing computer-generated animations with miniature landscapes and puppets, the one hour non-verbal performance explores the events of a single day as seen through the eyes of six very different creatures.

See web.mac.com/mimikatheatre or email mimikatheatre@mac.com

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BLIND SUMMIT

Blind Summit Theatre are collaborating with Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company and West Yorkshire Playhouse to design, make and direct the puppets on a new large-scale production of His Dark Materials. Based on the trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman, Nicholas Wright's adapted stage version of His Dark Materials was a triumph when it premiered at the National Theatre in 2004. This new production will be directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Ruari Murchison, with puppetry by Blind Summit Theatre. It opens in Birmingham on 13 March 2009 for four weeks before touring the UK. Blind Summit are also collaborating with Complicite on their new show inspired by the work of one of the most important Japanese writers of the twentieth century, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. Shun-kin tells a tale of devotion, passion and power, where beauty is unforgiving and love is blinding. Shun-kin is at the Barbican 30 January – 21 February.

See www.blindsummit.com or email info@blindsummit.com

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DNA

Recently DNA have been touring the far east, working with the Tate Liverpool to create a community puppet show in collaboration with a group of Chinese artists called The Xijing Men; they have also been starring in Charlie and Lola Live in Manchester. The company is currently working on Imaginary Leaps – a new programme of training and activities to stimulate creativity and creative learning in early years children. Available for schools reception classes and children’s centres, Jolly Phonics Live is a synthetic phonics education event using the characters and methods of learning from Jolly Learning. DNA are also developing Thurtinkle’s World – a character-led engagement with creativity through storytelling for 4-11 year olds. New for 2009 is Terry Jones Fairy Tales – a small scale performance for theatres, festivals and events. Touring nationally from February 2009.

See www.dynamicnewanimation.co.uk

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VENUES AND OTHER ARTS ORGANISATIONS

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PUPPET ANIMATION SCOTLAND / THE PUPPET LAB

March-August 2009 Puppet Animation Scotland and The Puppet Lab are collaborating to create the biggest puppetry event ever to happen in Scotland. Big Man Walking is a giant Marionette eight metres high that will walk across Scotland. In each community he visits there will be huge outdoor performance events to welcome him. The Big Man is coming to see who we are and what we are doing in our communities right now…. The project has been awarded 450k from the SAC Inspire award and a further 150k from participating local authorities. Puppet Lab will be putting together teams of builders and puppeteers to create and manipulate the giant. There will be training opportunities, with student placements for puppeteers, visual arts students and performers. There will be fantastical street theatre happenings in each place the Big Man visits.

For more information see www.bigmanwalking.com or email info@puppet-lab.com
or call 0131 554 8923

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PUPPET THEATRE BARGE

This season the Puppet Theatre Barge has two new productions. In Scrooge, shadow puppets and writing combine with special effects, dramatic settings, lighting and specially composed music to make an exciting and magical experience. The show is adapted from Dickens’ story and presented with marionettes designed and made by Athena Vassilakis, a young artist with extraordinary perception who is paired with Juliet Rogers, veteran marionettist and maker. The Barge’s other production, The Town Mouse and Country Mouse, is a rod puppet show for 3-7 years. The Town Mouse, Mazda, pays a visit to her country cousin Myrtle and meets some strange creatures. Not long after, Myrtle, the Country Mouse, pays a visit to the city where she has much trouble falling asleep. She has a strange dream about ten green bottles and Wee Willie Winkie and other adventures. Performances throughout winter 2009.

For dates see www.puppetbarge.com or call 020 7249 6876 or email puppet@movingstage.co.uk

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LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL 2009

As usual, a strong puppet showing in the Mimefest programme. This year: FigurenTheater Tübingen’s Salto.Lamento, a reflection on the artistic tradition of the Dance of the Dead that works at the intersection of puppetry, object theatre and live art; Buchinger's Boot Marionettes’ The Armature of the Absolute, a celebration of the ground-breaking ideas of French writer Alfred Jarry – creator of one of literature’s most outrageous characters, the murderous King Ubu (already sold out); Sharmanka’s Gothic Circus, a 30 minute show about life and death, cruelty and beauty, enacted by kinetic sculptures – carved figures, junk-metal constructions and ancient household machinery; and work by Faulty Optic and Akhe at Shunt Vaults. 10-25 January2009 at a variety of locations.

See www.mimefest.co.uk. See also the > preview feature in > this edition of Animations Online.
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MANIPULATE FESTIVAL OF VISUAL THEATRE

Puppet Animation Scotland, in partnership with The Traverse Theatre, presents the annual celebration of exciting and powerful visual performance for eye and ear - puppet theatre and animation of the highest award-winning quality for consenting adults! Highlights include Tabola Rassa from Spain with The Miser; Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, 1927’s lovely mix of live performance and animation; Paper Cinema and Kora; a masterclass in The Language
of the Shadow from Norbert Goetz (Germany); performances/presentations from Paul Zaloom (USA) plus screenings, cabaret and other treats.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh: Tue 3- Sat 7 February 2009


The festival will soon have its own website;
in the meantime visit > www.puppetanimation.org and follow the links

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TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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TOAST'S READY!

In 2008,Bristol-based company Green Ginger was in receipt of an award from The Leverhulme Trust towards Toast in the Machine, a programme of Professional Development for six puppeteers. This generous funding has enabled the company to continue their tradition of developing the practice of young puppeteers but significantly, to deliver it within a more formal framework. Under this new format, the participants are learning new skills and enhancing existing ones under the guidance of highly experienced theatre professionals whilst developing their personal projects in our studio with supervision at hand when needed.

The programme, which officially launches in January 2009 with its first batch of supported puppeteers, is participant-led, allowing them to design their own placements which last between six and eighteen months. Specialist training is provided in the design and fabrication of puppets, props and mechanical sets, the manipulation of puppets and inanimate objects in performance, devising and scriptwriting for stage and screen and sound & light design.
Toast in the Machine will encourage a passion for one's craft, a thirst for further knowledge and the confidence to dare to fail whilst acquiring new skills.

For further details on the project, see www.geenginger.net 

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FORKBEARD FANTASY

Forkbeard Fantasy’s annual Summer Schools are running 26 June – 3 July and 10-17 July in 2009. These residential courses are held at the company’s inspiring creative base in rural Devon. Set in delightful surroundings, the facilities are fully equipped for film, animation, digital post-production, prop, puppet and automata construction, sound, lighting and hybrids of all these techniques.
There are twenty places on each course. The price is £750, which includes accommodation, meals and refreshments. Contact:

Deborah Harrison,
Forkbeard Fantasy,
PO Box 1241,
Bristol, BS99 2TG.

See www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk 
or call 0117 930 9933
or email ff@forkbeardfantasy.co.uk

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