“Catch The Wind” in Morecambe and Catching Puppets at Upfront Theatre

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For those who are not aware of it, I would recommend a visit to Morecambe for the “Catch the Wind” Kite Festival (run by our lovely friends in Morecambe – More Music) which is always a great day out and happens every year.

As you can see from the photos, one of the main features of the festival are the spectacular giant kites on the beach which are like a kind of puppet really.  The giant kites this year included a whale, a diver, some snakes, a gecko and a lion as well as a giant multicoloured windsock.  Morecambe is the perfect place for a festival like this as they can always guarantee plenty of wind for the kites, (though I believe sometimes the wind gets too strong which can cause problems).

We visited on Sunday the 24th and had planned to try and fly our own kite which we made at a kite making workshop at the Looking Well Studios (Pioneer Projects) in Bentham some years ago.  It was a really good design and easy to fly, and I had been meaning to try it out again for some time.  Unfortunately we discovered that the plastic had perished so we had a good time on the beach with Anthony trying out his bucket and spade/rake for the first time instead.

Afterwards we went to the lovely Brucciani’s Ice Cream grade 2 listed ice cream parlour, which opened in 1939 and still has all the original interior art deco decor.  The Brucciani family have been making and selling ice cream in Morecambe for over 100 years, and still run the business today.  As with most Morecambe businesses, the prices are very reasonable and we are very keen to give our custom to independent businesses like this.

The next day, having found out that John Parkinson had put together a puppet display and talk for an open studio event, we decided this was the perfect excuse to have a day out at Upfront Puppet Theatre and Gallery in Unthank, near Penrith.

We’d visited before for the first ever Puppeteers UK meeting when John was still in the process of building the new theatre and more recently to see the circus show using Stan Parker’s marionettes.  The exhibition we were going to see was of John’s own work, spanning his 40 year career.  It included photographs as well as some beautiful puppets.

Unfortunately we missed the talk part (which was on the Friday) and there were no labels on the puppets or photographs so the captions on the photos are my own guesswork.

We were particularly pleased to see John’s “Alice in Wonderland” puppets up close as Alice is one of our particular favourites.  We do, of course, have our own production of “Alice” as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party walkabout show.  CLICK HERE for more info.

While we were there, we discovered that there was also an exhibition of Commedia dell’Arte masks upstairs so we had a look at that as well.

They were the results of a 2 year residency by David Griffiths at a Leeds school who’d asked him to create commedia dell’Arte masks for them.  As well as the wooden forms, which are the base for all of the other masks, he created a set of flat pack cardboard masks which could be used for schools as well as plastic and leather masks (made using a process only 4 people in this country use, according to David).  You can see more photos and info about his exhibition and workshops on his website by clicking HERE

For those who do not know anything about Commedia dell’Arte, it was a form of theatre from Renaissance Italy which involved improvised drama around a set of stock characters or stereotypes each with a distinctive mask, costume and movements, voice and posture.

Mr. Punch is based on the character of Pulcinella and the Harlequinade, which was a feature of early pantomime in this country, was also based on Commedia dell’Arte characters (Arlecchino became Harlequin).

 

John has invited us to come back and see their show of The Pied Piper of Hamelin (first showing July 20th) so we’ll hopefully be attending that and telling you all about it a bit later on.

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RMT celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary in style at Historical Hereford Day – Castle Green

Hello again my lovely readers.  Have once again been rather busy with one thing and another and thus have not had a chance to do a blog post for you.

Doubtless you will remember that we were due to perform our first ever Rough Magic Theatre show at Historical Hereford Day at a lovely park called Castle Green on the 23rd of July.  We decided to relaunch the show in honour of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year after an extended gap where Alice in Wonderland took over as our main 2 hander touring show.

After some extensive rehearsing we got the show back in ship shape and it was a real treat to give the show an airing again.

For the Historical Hereford Day we performed our shorter version of the show which we use for street/outdoor performances (30 minutes instead of the full hour long version for indoor performances).

If I have been to Hereford in the past I do not remember and I have to say that it was great to have an excuse to visit such a beautiful area of the country and Castle Green itself was a lovely setting.  We had of course given thought as to what we might do should the weather be wet but luckily plan B was not necessary as it was a perfect sunny and clear day.

There were lots of other Elizabethan/Shakespeare themed attractions on the day including music, dancing an Elizabethan jester and (oddly enough) Kate Bliss the antiques expert off the telly!

I decided I would not be awed by Kate Bliss merely because she is on the television.  When I happened to be passing walked straight past without making a fuss, (though I did get a good sidelong glance at her and discovered that she looked surprisingly like a normal person and did not have a glowing aura of celebrity or anything like that ;)).

I told my co-performer Leo Nolan-Evans about the presence of a minor celebrity but did not get a satisfying reaction as Leo does not have a television.

Anyway….Our two performances of “The Tempest” went very well with a large audience for the first and a more modest but appreciative crowd for our second performance.

We were told by more than one member of the audience how much they’d enjoyed it and what a great introduction to Shakespeare for kids the show is.

During the second showing there was a man who was taking a recording of the show on a camcorder and not only did he record the whole thing but was polite enough to come and ask our permission to use the footage on his Youtube channel!  How often are people good enough to bother doing that?  This was great news because it meant that I was able to get a copy of the footage too which was very interesting for us as this is the first time we have seen video footage of the street theatre version of the show.  So many thanks to Timothy for the footage!  The sound and picture quality are not great but it gives a general idea (please visit the show page on our main website to see our video trailer with footage of the indoor version of the show by clicking HERE):

 

 

If you would like to book the indoor or outdoor version of this show or to book any of our other shows or workshops please CLICK HERE to contact us  🙂