What I didn’t get chance to say in my last post is what a grand job, (once again!) Liz and Daniel Lempen did of organising and running the festival. Not only was it as good as two years ago, it was even better!
This year a new element was added to the festival, and that was a Puppet Parade! Annoyingly, I did not know about this till late on, so our giant Jabberwocky, (as seen on Home Page Header at Blackpool Puppet Festival) did not get an outing to Skipton.
Thingumajig from Todmorden, made a huge contribution to this parade, making lovely giant sheep in workshops with the public and a sheepdog costume as well. A whole plethora of interesting things taken from the handmade parade at Todmorden also made an appearance. These included giant hens and their chicks, led by a stilt walking cockerel, (Andrew Kim). He chivvied the sheep along, as well as encouraging the large numbers of the public who lined the route to do funky chicken dancing. And not forgetting the beautiful silk painted phoenix like firey birds as well.
There was more community involvement from locals waving large colourful flags and many colourful cellophane birds and butterflies made in workshops with John Parkinson from Upfront Puppet Theatre.
There were also two great local bands, one at the front doing fantastic funky tunes and one towards the back that was a very high quality Samba percussion band. I used to be in a Samba band so I should know!
And wishing not to forget anyone, i believe giant Punch, Judy and Baby from Walking Tall Theatre Co. were also there and some large but rather unusual looking constructions from London School of Puppetry. …And of course the Town Crier!
It was amazing what huge numbers of cars got backed up around Skipton Town Centre for this, and it was a Sunday! But, no doubt in the past a market town like Skipton would be undisturbed by sheep and chickens in the high street! The fact that the parade was hugely appreciated by locals was shown by the huge numbers of pedestrians lining the route and following the parade.
I believe the parade and indeed the festival would not have been possible without the help of large numbers of able local volunteers. Not only did they steward the parade in their Hi-Vis jackets but one kind lady provided, entirely out of the goodness of her heart, home-made ginger flap-jack and chocolate cake on top of the existing refreshments provided for the artists in the “rest tent”. What more can one ask for?
For those who have read the previous post about Urashima Taro by Rouge 28. Aya Nakamura tells me that there was only her on the stage, and all of the shadow scenes were projected to make things easier, though they had been done live in early performances of the show.