Posts Tagged ‘puppetry’


Mysteries of Puppetry. A full day at the Wellcome Collection

Wednesday, 30 May, 2012

Objects of Emotion 16 June 2012, 10.30 – 17.00

A performance of The Table, by Blind Summit is included in the day

As humans, we have an ability to empathise with one another. Reading emotions and sharing them are integral to our survival and social cohesion. But why is it that objects can also spark these feelings in us? When we watch puppets, what triggers our emotions? Is it their movement or is it simply the stories they tell? And can we be just as moved by everyday objects?

None of these questions have straightforward answers, but this unique event tries to uncover the latest science exploring the mysteries of empathy in puppetry and elsewhere in culture.

The morning will start with an extract of Blind Summit’s critically acclaimed performance The Table, followed by discussion about the relationship between puppeteers and puppets. Satellite performances will happen over lunch, followed by a discussion about the ways humans relate to objects in the afternoon.

£20 full price/£15 concession including a full day of discussion and performance as well as lunch and refreshments.

To book, please call 020 7611 2222.


Need to refresh your production ideas?

Thursday, 26 April, 2012

The Adventures of Thunder and Coal, 3rd May–5th May 2012

Maybe a trip to the Little Angel theatre in Islington might help?

This puppetry-driven theatre combines productions for children with those for adults too, and won a well-deserved Fringe Report Award a few years back. The emphasis here is always on stagecraft and each production usually provides a fresh slant on delivery and atmosphere. The next production for example, for an adult audience is: The Adventures of Thunder and Coal, running from 3rd May–5th May 2012.

The Adventures of Thunder and Coal explores the parallels between the lives of the mice in the London Underground and the bigger mammals fumbling darkly up above them. Probably one of the world’s first IT-contractor-step-parenting-shadow-musicals, the show features a live band, animation and songs about supermarkets, steamy beverages and shifty commuters. There is (apparently) no unicycling.

This is a brand new, full-blown musical aimed at principally at adult audiences (suitable for aged 10 and above).

Nonesuch is the new company set up by the composer-writer Ben Glasstone and other key artists behind Little Angel’s cult hit musical The Mouse Queen.


Festival of emerging mime, puppetry and cabaret

Thursday, 19 January, 2012

Coming to Enfield in June

This June, Finger in the Pie are curating a month long festival of emerging Mime, Puppetry and Cabaret performances  in the Dugdale Theatre part of Millfield Arts Centre, in Enfield north London. They are currently programming stand-alone mime, puppetry and cabaret performances. Organisers are also considering screenings of films, documentaries and animations related to the themes.

Slots range from short runs, to one off nights, and there are a variety of different slot lengths and times available. If you’d be interested in submitting your show, then you will need to fill in the online application form at this address:

The organisers are not currently looking for individual acts and performers – they will be announcing opportunities for individuals to get involved later.




Lyndie Wright Gets MBE for Services to Puppetry

Thursday, 5 January, 2012

A wonderful 50th Anniversary Year for Little Angel Theatre in Islington was crowned when Lyndie Wright received the MBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to the craft of puppetry.

Most recently, Lyndie has designed and made puppets for Little Angel’s collaboration with Kneehigh Theatre – A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings – which runs at Little Angel until the end of January 2012.

More at:


The Table: Blind Summit at Edinburgh

Wednesday, 24 August, 2011

Puppetry with surrealism, flair, originality

Edinburgh –Pleasance Dome (King Dome)– 3-28 August—22:00 (1:00)

Blind Summit's incredible puppetry at Edinburgh 2011

Blind Summit Theatre present three very different puppetry shows in the same bill.  They do so with lashings of cheeky surrealism, flair and originality.  Despite a few flat moments, the show is funny and touching in equal measure.

The first puppet we meet, and indeed the only “puppet” is a table-top Japanese Bunrako puppet. A grumpy, but endearing and exceptionally ‘real’ old man.  He explains the mechanics of his existence; focus, fix-point and breathing.  The magic of the puppet is destroyed as his very able puppeteers start making deliberate mistakes.  It is fascinating to observe how the slightest error topples the show’s reality. Things start slowly, but through a combination of obvious freedom and improvisation, the charming comedy and the heart-warming bathos of the puppet’s situation — I’ve never been under the Table’ – leads to the gradual disappearance of the puppeteers and the wonderful suspension of disbelief that allows the puppet to become animate. That is, of course, until he breaks the fourth wall with one of his well timed killer lines — ‘my backstory?  I was a box!’

The puppet is joined by a silent woman.  The piece has an unnerving and well pitched Beckettian sense.  There is strict order, but the order is meaningless.  The piece ends in a slow motion physical theatre sequence which is spectacularly choreographed and exciting to watch.  The puppet is shown from all angles, the skill and control used by the ensemble is terrifyingly impressive. However, these shows of prowess are less engaging in many ways than the down-to-earth humanity of the puppet with a cardboard box head and a stuffed and rag-doll like body.

The second piece is an intriguing piece of light theatre.  Three screens with picture frames cut into them are lined up, and a foot-lighting bar is brought in.   The cast are all dressed entirely in black. They cannot be seen, but the objects they fly in front of the windows can.  This section is, sadly, the weakest part in the show.  The concept is not especially clever and, doesn’t quite work as you can often make out the puppeteers arms.  However, the sequence is short and has some endearing moments, such as a small white face, hands and feet operated by various cast become a single running man.

Finally we are treat to some ‘French Puppetry.’ All the cast become French, with cliched cigarettes and character attitudes, that are at once heighten the theatricality of the piece and are genuinely hilarious.  A series of hand drawn pictures are held up, seamlessly moving from one to another, to tell a flip book style narrative. This is a deliciously silly concept excellently executed.  It’s not always easy to read the smaller print, but this does not detract from the overall effect greatly.  As the brief case that held the pages snaps shut with an air of finality there is well deserved and rapturous applause.

Cast: Mark Down, Nick Barnes, Sarah Calver, Sean Garratt

Company: Devised and Directed—Blind Summit Theatre, Puppets made by—Blind Summit Theatre, Co-devisors—Ivan Thorley/Irena Stratieva, Lighting Consultation—Richard Howell, Administrator—Maeve O’Neill.

Reviewed- August 22nd  -Edinburgh

(c) Rebecca Gibson 2011


Pretty in Pink

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

Three Little Pigs

The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG, 7 – 24 December, Box Office: 020 8692 4446.

The story of Three Little Pigs has long been a firm favourite with little children and now Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company have brought it to life with the help of some engaging performers and three very charming puppets.

Through a mix of puppetry and acting, Tall Pig, Middle Pig and Tiny Pig are taken on a journey into compulsory independence after being kicked out by Mama Pig for treating their house “like a pig sty!”. They experiment with making houses from everything from straw and sticks, potatoes to goldfish (“No, that definitely won’t work!”) trying to avoid the silver tongued, Ray Ban wearing J. Arthur Wolfington Smythe, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf.

Dressed in homage to the 70’s, Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland handle the puppets with skill, creating three playful characters whilst seamlessly weaving their way in front of and behind the set to guide us through the story. They don a fur coat to create the wolf, played with particular relish by Tom Frankland. Easily distracted from his hunt by a cookie, cabbage and a call from his agent, the wolf succeeds in huffing and puffing his way through the show until the traditional story is turned on its head when the pigs send him skywards attached to Tiny Pig’s kite.

There are loveable touches throughout, including a slapstick sequence with some straw, tiny pig and his digger, the brick house reveal (producing an audible gasp from both parents and children) and a glorious ending in which the big bad wolf finally gets his comeuppance. The set is a fantastic contraption – a cleverly designed 3D jigsaw that enables the various houses to be built (and destroyed) very realistically and shows off the puppetry at its best. The use of music also adds to the fun.

Aimed at 2 to 7 year olds, the young audience were entertained throughout and there were enough wry jokes to keep the grown ups happy. A few children were perhaps a little too young and therefore scared by some of the sound effects but, otherwise, the show has something for everyone.

Performers; Laura Mugridge and Tom Frankland

Director and puppetry – Marc Parrett; Designers – Marc Parrett and Tomasin Cuthbert; Producer – Niki McCretton; Sound design – Gwen Scott

(c) Sian Murray 2010

Reviewed Tuesday, 14 December 2010 / The Albany