Myself.


As a designer in theatre, I enjoy the element of play, and believe a performance should be just as interactive for the audience as it is for the performers. In my work I like to look at space, how it changes in a performance, how it effects a performance and try to incorporate it into the narrative as much as possible.

I am a hardcore puppetry and mask enthusiast. I have worked for theatre companies such as 'Pointed Arrow' and 'Hope Street Limited', as well as TV 'BBC Horizon' and most recently Music Videos. I like to experiment with different styles of puppetry, also fusing styles together. Most of my work is made from recycled materials as I think it gives a fantastic old haggard dimension to the work.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Crossing.

Images of The Crossing.

This is the image you see as you walk into the building.

The Beggar Man.

Ratatoska, The Squirrel.
The Bear, in Beauty and The Beast.

The Bear, in Beauty and The Beast.


I really enjoyed working on this project, making the puppets and working with some fantastic talented people. There were 7 puppets in total, of which I made 5. I would like to thank Dan Brown from Pointed Arrow for giving my such a great opportunity.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Masks of Sweeney Todd and Huddersfield Arts Festival.

Masks in the making.


Final, finished masks.


My table at the exhibition.


So the long awaited exhibition took place last week and was great fun. I am very glad that I was involved. There were many Theatre pieces which took place throughout the day and evening, and lots of interesting people to talk to. I was able to set up a stand to display the best of work. I took along the masks from my Sweeney Todd Scheme, the puppets from 'Omelette Du Fromage' and my wooden puppet. Hopefully something interesting will come from this weekend.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

So the opening night of 'The Crossing' by Pointed Arrow is tonight. It is one of those 'invite only'
affairs. Everyone else, you can come along Friday or Saturday. Remember that it is free, and I a STAGE HAND! Good luck to everyone involved.

Images of this production and the Huddersfield Arts Festival to follow.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Huddersfield Theatre Festival

I have been accepted to put my work in the Huddersfield Theatre Festival (2nd October).

I have decided to display my ideas and designs for the Sweeney Todd Production which I pitched to The National Youth Music Theatre back in May.
Although they did not take me on as their Associate Designer they really liked my ideas and told me to pursue this style of work. I feel this particular design fully displays my potential and therefore is the best candidate to put into this exhibition.

Lets Get Working!

Workshop with Pointed Arrow.





As I am designing and making the puppets for Pointed Arrow's production of 'The Crossing' (7-9 October), I was asked to run a puppetry workshop with the cast members to take them through the techniques which puppeteers use to help with their focus and training. This consisted of games and exercises to help develop these vital skills.


We then went on to make newspaper puppets and use these new found skills to make them interact and perform sequences.


Overall the workshop was a success and I gained a lot of confidence in running a puppetry workshop for adults. Hopefully the cast members of Pointed Arrow will continue to practice with these exercises in their rehearsals and workshops.



Chapel Allerton Arts Festival.






The long awaited festival parade finally took place yesterday and was a fantastic success. All those early mornings and running around in schools became worth it! There was one hour of madness as each child came to find the puppet they made, even though most of them couldn't remember which colour it was! They all really enjoyed themselves.

It is a huge shame that it is all over, but soon I am sure we will all start planning next years huge parade!

If you want to read more of the process http://chapelallertonarts.wordpress.com/

The rest of the festival events http://www.chapelallerton.org.uk/

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My First Wooden Puppet.

Meet Christopher the Puppet.















This puppet was made during a weeks intensive course with John Roberts in Devon. On this I learnt the techniques and methods used by traditional Chinese Carvers. I had never made a wooden puppet before so the whole experience was new and exciting. With John's excellent teaching I was able to make a fully working rod puppet in one week. I wanted to finish with a completed puppet so I decided to carve a 'stylistic' puppet rather than naturalistic puppet. This way I would not spend too much of my time trying to get specific details correct and I could focus on the joints, carving and total puppet as a whole. I am very pleased I made this decision as I do not feel I would have been able to finish the puppet to such a high standard.

I am now planning on developing this skill and carving many pore puppets in different styles and using different techniques.


Friday, 30 July 2010

Sweeney Todd Designs.

As Promised, here are my designs for the masks of the main characters from Sweeney Todd. The production (who didn't hire me) is on next week and I wish them all the best of luck!







Images From top to bottom:
Judge Turpin,
Mrs Lovett,
The Beadle,
Sweeny Todd Puppet Face,.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Taking the Leap.

I spent last week in Rawtenstall taking part in Horse and Bamboo Theatre's workshops based around their recent show, 'Little Leap Forward'. It was an intensive week going through training, exercises and general playing with puppets and masks, to understand how they work as a company from idea to making/devising to show. I do not think I have ever learnt/moved/performed so much in my life!

video

The workshops were run by Loz Kaye, Musical Director and Mark Whitaker, Puppet Rigger. Together they took us through very specific training (Simplify, Refine, Exaggerate) while Alison demonstrated her methods for making the masks and puppets in the workshops.

video






This was a highly enjoyable week where I met many talented and enthusiastic people. I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to work in masks or puppets, or even general performing.

video


Puppets and Masks made by Alison Duddle and Bob Firth of Horse and Bamboo Theatre.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Giant Shark.

video

I have been working with Tony Wade from Faceless Theatre in two primary schools to make puppets for the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, September 2010. Making the puppets, big and small, has been lots of fun and challenging. It can sometimes be hard to keep the childrens attention and find workshops that can work with all childrens skills and abilities depending on their ages. Here are some of the work they have produced.




Monday, 24 May 2010

I have been very busy lately.

I went for an interview for the position for the Associate Designer for the National Youth Music Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd. This was my first professional interview and so I was quite scared. The actual interview went really well as they were very interested in my ideas and designs. Unfortunately (for them) I didn't get the job as they felt my approach, although very interesting and unique, was not fitting for their production. I have had fantastic feedback from them about my work.

I have decided to continue with this design idea and make all the puppets and masks to see what could have been, and if it could have even worked. I am therefore attempting to make the mask for the character 'Judge Turpin' in between typing this. I will post up images of my designs and the finished products very soon.

My CRB check came through this morning which means I CAN volunteer myself in the workshops for the Arts Festival. The first one is tomorrow at St Michael's Primary School. I am very very excited. I have not been able to do workshops with kids for a while. I have to be there at 8.15 am! It's going to be a long day.

The First Performance of The Cheese Omelette,

We had our first performance of 'Omelette Du Fromage' on the 8th May as part of the International Student Puppetry Festival. It had many complications. The main one being that Sophie couldn't make it to the Festival due to illness. THEREFORE we were unable to play with the concept of 'Acting, Performing and Behaving', which was the main concept behind the performance. Bearing that in mind, the three of us that were left decided to throw caution to the wind and head to London to do the show anyway. It was very hard trying to re-choreograph the show from a three-man to a two-man production. The audience were asked to use their imagination a little bit.

As an over-all attempt to see what the show looked like and just play with being in a theatre again, it was a success. We got through it and went for a few drinks all cheerful after.

The festival itself was very exciting place to be. Although mainly filled with students from the Central School of Speech and Drama, it was still an extremely vibrant atmosphere with all the like minded people. We were able to watch puppetry performances from all over the globe. Highlights of these 'Sweet Dreams' by Little Cauliflower Theatre, 'The Story of an English Soilder' by a company from South Africa and 'Gradual Approach to a Marriage' by Astrid Kjaer Jensen for Denmark/Germany. I defiantly suggest looking these up.

Information on the Puppetry Festival can be found at http://www.studentpuppetfestival.com/

Photo's of the performance will come shortly.

Friday, 30 April 2010

video

Today was the first day we have had to play with the Cat-Lamb puppet for Omelette Du Fromage. It began quite difficult, trying to work out the joints of a cat etc as to how it would move, but as always, YouTube came in as a useful research tool. Very quickly, the animal seemed to come alive. So here is a short clip of what we were able to achieve in a very short amount of time.

Enjoy.
So, am I just another artist who has jumped on the 'recycled materials' bandwagon? Here is why...

Perhaps it came from watching Blue Peter and Art Attack as a child or from the student days of trying to make art and theatre through the cheapest means possible, but as my mother always said, having a budget of practically nothing is good training for the real world. My first puppet was made from the cushions and pillows from my old house.

I went to work with James Richardson from Angel Heart Theatre who's work was made mostly from recycled materials. Considering the stigma that comes with recycled materials, i.e. the quality being less, or looking slightly shabby, his puppets had a fantastic finish and because of his skills as a carver/maker, perfect condition. This made me think a lot about using recycled materials because it is great for the environment as well as our pockets.

I now try to make sure everything I do is made from recycled/second hand materials so I can show others what fantastic creative things can be made from rubbish. Even my sewing machine and digital camcorder are recycled! It saves money, the environment and adds an interesting challenge to the design process of how recycled materials could be used for each project.

I hope other theatre/design/art companies will join this exciting adventure of recycled projects.

Exploring Puppet Faces.




These are the first puppet heads I made. I was exploring plasticine, Latex and Fibre Glass. It was a fun experiment which made my house smell!

The Mnemonist.





Here are images from the production, 'The Mnemonist'.
Director, Anna Fenemore.

Here I collaborated with Mark Ridley to create the design. It was a difficult process, having not turned an idea into a performance before.

'Beautifully designed, three identical rooms and an 'outdoor' space connected with heavy and loud slamming doors. The set is simple, precise and used to its full potential with cast members appearing and vanishing through unthinkably small windows at the back of each room. …A selection of cleverly juxtaposed images and characters matched with the almost disturbing power of a Mnemonist and accompanied with surreal and painful visuals this performance is beautifully crafted, moving, engaging and bewildering. A complete spectacle underpinned by a style that demands its audience to work hard, but its well worth the effort and the rewards are plentiful.'


A Review by Andrew Roberts,
Full Review can be sited here:

http://andrewwilliamroberts.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2008-01-01T00:00:00Z&updated-max=2009-01-01T00:00:00Z&max-results=3