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NEWS AND NOTICEBOARD

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summer 2009
> PUPPETEERS AND COMPANY NEWS

> FESTIVALS & EXHIBITIONS
> TRAINING

PUPPETEER AND COMPANY UPDATES
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WHALLEY RANGE ALL STARS
Brain Wave is a new show by the Whalley Range All Stars for audiences of 200-300 people. It takes a look at the act of thinking – ideas that flow through the mind, thinking outside of the box, making a clean sweep of things, brain storms, sudden flashes of inspiration, day-dreaming, mental blocks, blue sky thinking, the mind drifting, lateral thinking, and thinking inside the box. The centrepiece of the show will be an oversized garden shed which opens to reveal a big head. The eyes blink, the mouth twitches and eventually it drifts off to sleep. The forehead opens up and reveals a stage which presents the dreams and idle fancies that pass through the mind. Original music has been composed by Clive Bell. Sound design is by Matt Wand. For more info and tour dates (including a Watch This Space performance outside the National Theatre on 12 August) see www.wras.org.uk

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SHONA REPPE PUPPETS
Throughout July and August Shona Reppe Puppets is rehearsing Potato Needs a Bath (good clean fun for the very very young), a new show for 2-4 year olds featuring a potato and co-directed by Andy Manley with original music by Dave Trouton. It will tour throughout Scotland in October/November 2009. See shonareppepuppets.co.uk

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CRAFTY KIDS
All 25 Crafty Kids puppet designs are now available from www.englishpostbox.com or some designs are now available in Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, Covent Garden. These are great gifts or projects for those rainy days on holiday or at home, as they come complete with all parts, a brush, paints and glue, so wherever you are you can complete the puppet ... and then play with it too! Each puppet kit comes in a spotted cardboard tub and all the cardboard and paper in each kit is from post-consumer wastepaper pulp – so it’s all eco-friendly. RRP £12. See www.craftykids.co.uk for the full range of designs, or if you are interested in stocking call Sally on 01329 661161 or email her at info@craftykids.co.uk

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PUPPET THEATRE BARGE
Returning to the Puppet Barge in June/July this summer are The Three Pigs and the Wolf – a witty rendering of the popular tale where the pigs have an air of mischief and the wolf a hint of a wry smile – and Captain Grimey, the story of a dirty, miserable one-legged sea captain who only changes his ways when he meets a golden dolphin. Then between August and October there’s A Child’s Garden of Verse, a kaleidoscope of poetry and rhyme inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, marionettes and shadow puppets combining with specially composed music and lighting effects. Email puppet@movingstage.co.uk or see www.puppetbarge.com / www.movingstage.co.uk for full listings.

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ED HARTWELL

Ed Hartwell has recently completed a short animation called The Day the Robots Woke Up. It features 1:6 scale robot puppets made from shower hose, wood and beads. The puppets were shot in real sets and against blue screen so they could interact with CG characters. The film won the audience award for best short film 2009 at Sci-Fi London and can be seen online at www.edhartwell.co.uk/robots

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BLIND SUMMIT THEATRE
..Blind Summit are currently working in collaboration with the award-winning Pentabus Theatre on Origins, an inspirational comedy about Charles Darwin's early life. Warm your heart and fire your imagination as they consider burning questions concerning bugs, big bangs and body-snatchers. Edinburgh Pleasance Dome 5-29 August 2009; Shrewsbury Theatre Severn 5-12 September 2009.  In another collaboration Blind Summit are working with film-maker Philip Haas on Arhat Taming the Dragon – a film installation inspired by a fourteenth century Chinese scroll of the same name. Blind Summit collaborated on the film to make a puppet dragon, a hawk and some fish. The film will be projected onto a giant scroll hung in a specially constructed Chinese Pavilion made for the film. 19 July - 25 October, Kimbell Art Gallery, Fort Worth, Texas. For more info email info@blindsummit.com or see www.blindsummit.com

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UNDER THE ARABIAN MOON
Under the Arabian Moon is a new show by Leon Conrad which takes the famous Arabian Nights stories and retells them in a unique combination of poetic storytelling, live music and shadow theatre. Previews at The Miller, 96 Snowfields Road, London,13 & 20 July; performance at Milton Studio, St Paul’s School, London, 1 August; and official premiere 3 & 4 August, The Roundhouse Studio. For more info email conradvoiceconsultancy@yahoo.co.uk or see www.myspace.com/leonthepoet

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GAVIN SKERRITT
Gavin Skerritt is beginning a period of Research and Development for his forthcoming production collaborating with Jonathan Watkins of The Royal Ballet. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the R&D will focus on experimentation with materials, aesthetics and design to create a life-sized object/puppet forming the centrepiece of a new work. The research will also include a two-day workshop taking place this autumn at the Broadway Theatre in East London, giving young people aged 8-19 a rare opportunity of handling and operating one of Gavin's newly constructed life-sized puppets. After experiencing this, they will then be asked to create their own moving object/puppet, which, with Gavin's guidance, they will learn to bring ‘life’ to, looking at movement and manipulation and how dance and choreography can be applied to a moving object/puppet. Email info@gavinskerritt.com or see www.gavinskerritt.com  

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MATTHEW ISAAC COHEN RECEIVES ROYAL TITLE
Dr Matthew Isaac Cohen, senior lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway University and Contributing Editor for Animations Online, received the award of a royal title from Sultan Abdul Gani Natadiningrat, sultan of the royal palace of Kraton Kacirebonan in Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia, on 20 June 2009. This title, Ki Ngabehi, is the equivalent of a knighthood. It was offered for his research, performance and promotion of the arts and culture of Cirebon, and specifically the region’s tradition of shadow puppetry (wayang kulit). Dr Cohen has written extensively about shadow puppetry and related arts of Indonesia, and also performs as a puppeteer. He was also given a professional puppeteer name, Kanda Buana, literally ‘He Who Tells Stories about the World’. Following the presentation of the award, Dr Cohen performed an all-night wayang kulit play titled Arjuna Sasrabau in the local dialect of Javanese, accompanied by a full gamelan musical ensemble. The puppets and gamelan employed were the sacred heirlooms of the royal court, and as is customary for palace performances the source of illumination was an open-flame oil lamp.

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FESTIVALS AND EXHIBITIONS
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EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE
Another year, another Edinburgh. The ’09 Fringe runs 7-31 August and as always includes a healthy dose of puppetry and object animation. Little Angel Theatre’s adults-only Puppet Grinder Cabaret travels to Assembly @ George Street for a long run, 6-31 August (not showing 17 or 24); Puppet State Theatre Company will be up for the fourth year running with their incredibly successful and Total Theatre Award-winning show The Man Who Planted Trees (18-31, Scottish Storytelling Centre); and mime/pianist Patrice Thibaud’s show Cocorico, incorporating shadowplay,is at New Town Theatre 5-16 & 18-30. Children’s productions include Theater Terra’s puppet musical Frog (Pleasance Courtyard, 5-18 & 21-31 August), Unpacked’s new show Jumping Mouse (Pleasance Courtyard 5-16 & 18-31), and The Paper Cinema and Kieron Maguire’s live animation of a Conan Doyle story Lost World (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 12-17, 19-24, 26-31). For the full listings see www.edfringe.com 

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EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
South African puppet company Handsprin, who have enjoyed great success in London with the National Theatre’s War Horse, have joined forces with Philippe Pierlot and his Belgium-based ensemble the Ricercar Consort, and with visual artist and director William Kentridge, renowned for his video animations of charcoal drawings, to present Il Ritorno – The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland by Claudio Monteverdi, at King’s Theatre 23–26 August. Puppeteers will be Busi Zokufa, Adrian Kohler,
Basil Jones, Jason Potgieter, Luc de Wit. Adrian Kohler is puppet director, and costume/set designer.
See www.eif.co.uk/handspring

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BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF PUPPETRY

Puppet Place is planning Bristol’s first ever festival dedicated to puppetry in all its forms – from socks to latex and street theatre to celluloid. The festival offers something for everyone with performances, workshops, films and exhibitions featuring the best of local, national and international talent, including the UK premiere of Hunger from Nordland Visual Theatre/TinkerTing and performances from Stephen Mottram, Green Ginger and Pickled Image. 28 August - 6 September, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol. Puppet Place is a resource agency for puppeteers, theatre practitioners, students and the general public on puppetry and animated theatre. Originally formed in Bristol in 1984, the organisation was re-established in 2008 by Full Beam Visual Theatre, Green Ginger and Pickled Image. See www.puppetplace.org or email info@puppetplace.org

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THE WORLD THROUGH WOODEN EYES
The World Through Wooden Eyes are involved in two exhibitions over this summer. Pierrots, Puppets and Pictures – 13 June - 17 October 2009, North Ayrshire Museum, Saltcoats – is a look at the travelling shows of cinema, variety and puppet theatre on the west coast. As part of the exhibition there will be a number of nineteenth century marionettes, mainly from the Tiller-Clowes troupe, as well as Punch and Judy, playbills and posters. Demonstrations and workshops on 10, 24 & 31 July. The second exhibition, Peddlers of Pleasure – Mr Punch and his International Cousins, is in conjunction with the Open Museum to launch the new Springburn Exhibition Space at Springburn Leisure Centre. Running June 2009 - June 2010, the exhibition presents Punch, the ‘immortal villain’, and his international cousins along with dozens of objects that have been produced bearing his image over hundreds of years. Workshops and talks on 7, 14, 21 & 28 July and 6 August. See www.theworldthroughwoodeneyes.co.uk

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CABARET MECHANICAL THEATRE
Mechanics Alive is a touring exhibition of automata presented by Mechanical Cabaret. The Exhibition has just finished a tour of Australia and is visiting Scotland Street School, Glasgow 26 June - 28 September as its only Scottish venue. Free family events will be run throughout the duration of the exhibition. See www.cabaret.co.uk

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SUSPENSE
Suspense London Puppetry Festival '09, running 30 October - 8 November, is the first festival of puppetry to take place in London for over 25 years. All the work programmed is for adults. Over ten days a range of performances, masterclasses and symposia will take place at seven venues across the capital. Suspense will showcase a diverse range of contemporary work from UK and international practitioners, including work by Faulty Optic, Indefinite Articles and Horse+Bamboo.

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SKIPTON FESTIVAL
The third International Skipton Puppet Festival will take place 27–29 September 2009 International companies presenting work include Mikropodium, Tabula Rasa, Fundus-Marionetten and Scopitone. British companies include Mimika, Storybox, Stephen Mottram, and Clydebuilt. For further information see www.skiptonpuppetfestival.co.uk

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TRAINING
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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 be hosting three workshops on puppetry/object theatre: 30 & 31 October, Ephemeral Animation is a two-day workshop run by Nenagh Watson (Barking Dog Theatre and Creative Fellow at CSSD) that kicks off from an appreciation of the animation of discarded objects by natural elements and enters into an exploration of Kantor’s fascination of objects and ‘puppetry without ego’; also on 30 & 31 October, painter and filmmaker Maria Dominguez Alba will lead a workshop focusing practically and theoretically on the relationship between the object and new technology, covering virtual reality, fiction, the idea of presence, the concept of real time, tele-presence, and the fragility of the technological medium and interaction; finally, 2-5 November, there’s an opportunity to join a four-day masterclass with Philippe Genty Company 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

 

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