Pirate Parties and the Joy of Ukuleles!

After buying a ukulele each from our local Sue Ryder, my husband Tim and I have been taking the opportunity to learn how to play them.

Tim was keen to use his at Rough Magic Theatre’s latest Pirate Party gig last week for the musical statues game.  It was his first use of the ukulele in a professional context.  Luckily, we discovered that “What shall we do with a drunken sailor?” only has two chords!

I was not convinced that ukuleles are a particularly piratical instrument, so I made him a skull and cross-bones out of white gaffa tape so that it would look more the part.

The children and the parents all seemed to really like it and I think it definitely added a little extra something to the proceedings.

This could well mean more music in Rough Magic Theatre shows from now on, as up until this point I have been the main musician.  I did wonder whether it would be very difficult to learn ukulele because I play guitar already, but actually, it has been an advantage so far and I have not got too confused by having two separate lots of chords in my head.

The party of course had comedy antics from Rodger a parrot hand puppet and our original shadow puppet show “The Interrupted Wedding” which always goes down very well.  I am particularly proud of the shadow puppets I made for this show which were influenced by Tim Burton’s visual style.  The show also uses a white umbrella for the shadow screen which can be rotated for different scenes.

The party was for a four year old’s birthday party and they went to a lot of trouble to get into the pirate theme as they had pirate cake, balloons, bunting, and even paper plates and cups!  The event was rounded off with a treasure hunt and most importantly the birthday boy really enjoyed himself.

I was interested to discover that the parents found us due to their interest in the Skipton Puppet Festival.  They looked us up on the Puppeteers UK site, which is very nice to know as we have joined only recently.

We are in the process of doing a total overhaul of the Rough Magic Theatre website and hope to include a variety of new puppet party options for people to choose from.  One request we have had is for shadow puppet making parties.  If anyone has any other suggestions or requests for types of puppet parties, please leave a comment on the bottom of this post.

Don’t forget, I shall be at Beverley Puppet Festival soon doing both the “Jabberwocky!” and “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” shadow puppet suitcase shows.  Why not come and see me?  More details on the “Where You Can See Me” page.  You will also notice that my performance day for the “Masquepony” event has changed.


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