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.
Choreographer Belinda Chapman
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
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
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!
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).
Michael looks like he is about to become a flying superhero!
The string puppet stage is constructed.
Monkey, Michael and the rest of the creative team looking rather serious.
Monkey getting a look in as Michael writes the script.
Monkey interrupts rehearsals.
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!
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 at his work bench
Some of the Chinese marionette heads
- Monkey and his hand
Monkey having his red silk trousers fitted
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:
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!
Mike and his troupe of monkeys!
Sarah and her dragon sketches
Added 11th January 2013.
We have unpacked and dusted off one of our favourite and most magical shows: NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN and will be touring this for the next year.
And… we are on the last leg of our 100-show tour of CIRCLE OF TALES. .. catch it if you can!
Here is a short video from the show.
Added 27 November 2012.
CIRCLE OF TALES has been touring around the country to great response.
“Your best show yet” said Swaledale Festival’s director.
Added 5th May 2011
GOOD NEWS…. PuppetCraft has been given funding by the Arts Council England for a new show called CIRCLE OF TALES.
It is to be an African story with live music performed by top British-based African musicians.
PuppetCraft’s artistic director is spending April in Africa working with leading storyteller Gcina Mhlope to research and write a purpose-made script for the show.
The premier is on 1st October….
Added 9th February 2011.
We are still touring The Mousehole Cat to great appreciation.
“My favorite show.” “A little gem!” Audience comments.
Our workshop has been busy making puppets for other theatre companies:
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.
Plans are afoot to make a new production … on an African theme…. working with top musician Chartwell.
Making courses have been more popular this year than ever.
Added 9th February 2011.
A day in the life of PuppetCraft
A time-lapse video of setting up for a show, running a workshop, doing the show and packing up….
6 hours compacted into 3 minutes…
Perseus and The Gorgon’s Head
…one of our most ambitious shows!
Added 25th June 2010
We have made a beautiful little book of the The Selfish Giant show.
It has been drawn and coloured by Jo and it comes in a handmade cloth bag made by Sue.
The words are by Oscar Wilde slightly altered as they are in the show. The pictures are based on the puppets.
The book folds out so it can be put up as a long, long, long picture.
We sell these books at the show, or you can order by email or phone 01803 867778.
Cost is £8 + £1.50 postage.
Added 8th May 2010
One of our best loved shows, The Mousehole Cat, is being revived!