Choreographer and voice coach join us for July’s Monkey rehearsals

July’s rehearsals for Monkey!, which begins touring in September 2014, have helped to fine-tune our production, helped in no small measure by our wonderful choreographer Belinda Chapman (who has worked with the amazing Matthew Bourne company) and voice coach Joe Richard.

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Choreographer Belinda Chapman

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Training session with voice coach Joe Richard

Belinda and Joe have been working with us to get our movements and voice work just right for the complex show, which features string puppets, shadow puppets and live music. As you can imagine, getting the sound balance and voices just right is hugely important.

A range of traditional and modern instruments

A range of traditional and modern instruments

The Monkey cast is made up of a wide array of characters, so our movements have to reflect the mythological animal world we are bringing to life.

Some of our cast members hanging out and relaxing between scenes

Some of our cast members hanging out and relaxing between scenes

We will be touring from September 2014 to October 2015 with two shows: Monkey! a show for children and families aged 4+ and SuperMonkey aimed at children aged 3-5. Both are scripted by the brilliant Michael Rosen, and we will also have workshops linked to the shows with lantern making and shadow puppet making.

Please visit our booking enquiry page for more information – hope to see you there!

Michael Rosen joins in Monkey’s June rehearsals

Things are moving quickly here at PuppetCraft HQ for our new show Monkey!

Our rehearsals stepped up a notch in late June as children’s author and Monkey! script writer Michael Rosen came down to Devon for two days to join in rehearsals and put the final touches to his two scripts: Monkey! (for children aged 4+) and SuperMonkey (ages 3-5).

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Michael looks like he is about to become a flying superhero!

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The string puppet stage is constructed.

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Smile please!

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Monkey, Michael and the rest of the creative team looking rather serious.

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Monkey getting a look in as Michael writes the script.

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Monkey interrupts rehearsals.

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Shadow scene of fish and Monkey.

As you can see, Michael powered on despite Monkey’s naughty antics to bring us a finalised script… so now it’s time to add the finishing touches in time for our first shows in September!

MONKEY swings into action!

Work is well underway on our new show, MONKEY!

John has been carving new puppets in the workshop round the clock – monkey puppets, heads, hands, feet… and has even been working on a giant head.

John Roberts carving

John Roberts carving at his work bench

Chinese puppet heads

Some of the Chinese marionette heads

Monkey and hand
Monkey and his hand

Monkey feet

Monkey having his red silk trousers fitted

 

Buddha framework

The outline of the giant head, with a little monkey to show the scale

John has also been working with an amazing Chinese brush painting artist, Li Xiao Bai, who lives in Plymouth. He has been creating original images for the show:

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John is not alone on his quest to make the show:
Martin is making the large face, Sarah is making a dragon, Sue is doing all the fabric work, Jo is drawing a comic book, Rachel is composing music, Joanna is making an egg and fish, Jane has carved many hands and feet, Mike has made close to a dozen money bodies, Archi and Brian are welding and jointing the stage, Libby is making paper-cuts as shadow puppets and Jen is keeping you up to date with the show’s progress on social media… wow what a lot of work being done by a lot of people!

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Many monkeys!

A troupe of monkeys and maker

Mike and his troupe of monkeys!

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Sarah and her dragon sketches

 

News round-up

Added 9th February 2011.
We are still touring The Mousehole Cat to great appreciation.
“My favorite show.” “A little gem!” Audience comments.

Tom and Cat web

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Our workshop has been busy making puppets for other theatre companies:

Prof Yaffle

Professor Yaffle the wooden woodpecker was made lovingly out of plywood for a theatre show of Bagpuss which ran at the Soho Theatre, London.
And two large puppets for a large theatre show by celebrated Kneehigh Theatre.

Kneehigh

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Plans are afoot to make a new production … on an African theme…. working with top musician Chartwell.

Chartwell Dutiro

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Making courses have been more popular this year than ever.

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News round-up

Added 3rd November 2009

I can’t believe how fast this year has flashed by… it has been crammed full of running puppet workshops, making for TV and theatre, touring and reviving 2 shows.

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3 very busy weeks of Puppet Carving Courses were run in Devon by John in a beautiful new location.

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Horse and Bamboo Theatre hosted a week of puppet carving in their lovely base in Lancashire…
and a week of carving was well attended in London at The Little Angel Theatre.

A TV advert had us making a Meerkat and a Businessman.

Meercat

Look at YouTube for Meerkat Puppet Theatre.

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John designed the set and carved marionettes for The Little Angel Theatre’s production of Petrushka.

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110 performances of The Tin Forest were completed. This is PuppetCraft’s first non-verbal show, so was a challenge. It has had a great response.

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Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head has just been revived for Bath International Puppet Festival and London’s Suspense Puppet Festival… and has just completed 5 sold-out performances.

Perseus gods
A grant from The Lottery through the Arts Council England has made it possible to resurrect this show.

Selfish Giant
The Selfish Giant has just opened and will be touring all over the place for the next 8 months. We hope you meet you at a show.

Busy Workshops

Added 31st August 2008

Three weeks of busy workshops took place at Dartington in July and August, with 20 puppet enthusiasts coming from around the world – from USA, Spain, Turkey and Britain.

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Two weeks were devoted to carving wooden puppets, with a wonderful range of inventive puppets being designed and created.
Comments from participants:“Brilliant.. don’t think the course could be improved…except too many biscuits!” “Very relaxed atmosphere… spot on… fantastic…exceeded expectations.” ” Emphasis was on producing a puppet of high quality with attention to detail.”

Carving workshops

One week was a “Finishing and Performing” course.
For people who had nearly complete puppets this was a chance to be guided through painting, stringing, wig and costume making and the devising of a short performance that was shared with the public of our local town, and even made it onto BBC TV.
Comments: “Exciting to see my puppet come to life.” “Such fun.. and informative. Gave me the push I needed.”
See GALLERY for pictures from the courses