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.
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 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 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 28th May 2010.
The press has gone mad!… after about a year since PuppetCraft made the Meerkat puppet they have published lots of articles.
Click to have a look:
Herald Express. Swns news. Metro.
Added 8th May 2010
One of our best loved shows, The Mousehole Cat, is being revived!
Added 5th Dec 2009.
Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head will be performing on Saturday 12th December at Rattery Village Hall, Devon at 3pm.
This is the only chance locally to see a revival of PuppetCraft’s “best show” … just back from festivals in Bath and London.
Bookings 01803 867778
Tea & cakes will be on sale after the show
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.
3 very busy weeks of Puppet Carving Courses were run in Devon by John in a beautiful new location.
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.
Look at YouTube for Meerkat Puppet Theatre.
John designed the set and carved marionettes for The Little Angel Theatre’s production of Petrushka.
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.
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.
A grant from The Lottery through the Arts Council England has made it possible to resurrect this show.
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.
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.
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.”
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