Shadow Suitcase Theatre at Beverley Puppet Festival

I had a fantastic time at Beverley Puppet Festival on Sunday.  We only found out about Skipton Puppet Festival Biennial sister festival last year when I met Anna & Haviel from Indigo Moon.  They and the Beverley Arts Trust organise the festival and it was great to be there for the first time.

Beverley is a beautiful place with beautiful old buildings like the Friary, (where the majority of the performances took place) and the minster.  And, most importantly given the recent trend of storms and torrential rain, it was clear and the sun shone brightly throughout the day.

I had been booked to perform both the new “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” suitcase show and the old favourite “Jabberwocky!” as well.  Both seemed to go down very well.

Later on in the afternoon my later sets were spent wandering out of the friary gardens towards the town where there were captive audiences sat outside pubs and restaurants. I do always ask people if they would like to see it first rather than having forced entertainment.

But we also encountered what I presume was a family group in the garden of one of the houses next door to the friary.  On enquiring whether they would like to see the show we discovered that it was the 93rd birthday of one gentleman in the group.  I did him a special birthday performance of “Jabberwocky!” over the low garden wall of the house.  They all enjoyed this so much that they took the birthday “boy” out to look at the rest of the puppet festival afterwards.

I was lucky to have my husband Tim Austin as steward and “roady” for the whole day. He was a star, helping me carry things, making cups of tea and switching my mini PA on and off for me.  It is possible for me to do these things on my own if necessary but it would have been a lot more tiring, especially with the two hour and a half’s drive there and back as well.

We managed to catch one or two of the other shows while we were there including Malcolm Knight’s Punch & Judy, Lady Lucinda by Noisy Oyster and in the evening the fabulous show by Sofie Krog (of Denmark/Spain), “The House”.  This was a comedy horror for adults and teenagers using glove puppets with an extremely sophisticated rotating set like a giant doll’s house.  The puppets looked fantastic and they were operated with fantastic skill but most importantly it was hugely entertaining and funny.  Anna Ingleby had seen them at the Charleville-Meziers festival and gone to the trouble of organising a mini-tour for them in this country so that it would be worth their while to come and do their show in Beverley for us.

A big well done to Anna and Peter Rolinson and all of the other people whose hard work helped make the festival a success especially the lady who made the lovely sandwiches.

Buxton Puppet Festival approaches with rapidity, we will be there on Tuesday the 24th.  You can book for our shadow puppet workshop and Alice in Wonderland performances on the Where You Can See Me page which has links through to the Buxton Opera House site.

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