The World Through Wooden Eyes
Hidden inside a public library in Glasgow is a gem of a puppet museum and resource centre. John M Blundall tells of his pride and joy
Since opening its doors two years ago (2005) in The Mitchell Library, Glasgow, The World Through Wooden Eyes and its ‘Ideas Store’ is now recognised as one of the top attractions of the library. It has attracted vast numbers of professional practitioners, in all aspects of the expressive arts, students, and the casually interested, from the UK and many parts of the world. All have made use of this unique research resource, as well as the human practical resources of John M. Blundall and Stephen Foster. We have 60 years of continuous practice and theory in puppet and mask theatre.
We provide an ongoing resource for research, development and mentoring in all aspects of creative, multimedia puppet theatre, in all of its forms and combinations. Film and animation are two areas of particular interest for individuals from Germany and China. Bunraku, Kuruma Ningyo and Noh masks are a specialty of ours.
The venue has regular, and changing, exhibitions of puppets ancient and modern: Punch and Judy, Toy Theatre, designs, and general ephemera. There are in excess of six thousand books dealing with all aspects of puppet theatre and masks, also popular performing arts, theatre design, theatre techniques and history, children’s literature, folklore and mythology, prints, engraving and original works on paper. Then, there are the international puppet theatre posters; the special collection of Japanese material related to Noh Theatre and Bunraku. The collection of Noh masks is of special interest and importance, particularly those of Ujiharu Nagasawa, Suzuki’s Master, Hisao Suzuki and his pupils, and the Noh masks of John M Blundall and Stephen Foster.
This year we were able to arrange special events in Scotland for the last pupil of the great Noh mask master Suzuki, Baku Adachi, who will return to study with us and undertake talks and demonstrations in 2008. The traditional Shamisen specialist, Yumiko Tanaka has many years of teaching music, and collaborating with performance groups, including puppeteers. Yumiko, former student of the late Bunraku Shamisen master, Kinshi Nozawa, is intending to visit in 2008.
We have established a new performance group to develop new work and ideas, and we welcome individuals with a range of creative skills and disciplines who have an interest in, and a serious desire to extend their skills in, creative puppet theatre in all of its forms.
The Mitchell Library can be found at 201 North St Glasgow, G3 7DN. See www.theworldthroughwoodeneyes.co.uk