We’re Back! 2 puppeteers and a baby at Settle Stories

As you know, from my previous post, I have been very busy recently with my pregnancy and then looking after baby Anthony.

Well, Anthony has passed his first birthday and it’s back to work again for me.

Settle Stories (an excellent storytelling festival, local to us) took place just a few days after the end of my maternity leave so we decided to visit the “Artists Hangout” at the Bell tent and catch up with some other artists, and the festival organisers to see if there were opportunities to be involved in the future.

We met some very interesting people – including Hassan El Geretly, (artistic director of El Warsha Theatre Company from Egypt) and a lady called Nicky – a storyteller based in Manchester.  We also met up with a painting teacher, a landscape photographer/artist, some actors and a small number of the actual performers from the festival itself.  These included Darius Nash and Tamar Eluned Williams, who were performing Stories for the Silver Tree.  Darius was also leading a clowning workshop at the festival.  Here is their Youtube video below for this performance:

The festival organisers Sita Brand and Charles Tyrer were also there and spoke about their plans for developing longer term relationships with artists at the festival.  This, they hoped, would allow artists to get to know each other and the people and environment of Settle.

After the meeting, we went into the “Dungeons & Dragons” cafe in the Friends Meeting House which was really wonderful – decorated with cobwebs and a handmade dragon on the wall.  All of the refreshments were themed and the helpers were all in costume.  Not only that but on each table there was a little handmade Dungeons & Dragons game with little tiddly-winks for counters so you could have a game with your refreshments!

Unfortunately, it was a rainy day but this did not seem to put off the dauntless British punters: the cafes and streets were certainly crowded at lunchtime!  After our lunch we decided to have a go (in what time we had left) at the geo-caching story trail.  We successfully found one cache in the vicinity of the Friends Meeting House, (I’m not allowed to say where or it will spoil it for other people) and tried our hardest to find another one somewhere near the old signal box at Settle train station but neither Tim or myself had any luck.

We did find that the Friends of Settle and Carlisle Railway had volunteers showing off the restored old signal box and letting people have a go pulling the levers and making the lights show and the bells sound.  Tim and myself took it in turns to hunt for caches with Anthony at ground level and go up to the signal box.  We even got a commemorative certificate to show we’d had a go at operating the signals!

It would have been nice to have had time to sample more of the shows and workshops but we did have a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time while we were there.  I believe the Listening Gallery is a permanent installation so we’ll be able to pop back and visit that on another occasion.

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I’m back doing shadow puppet shows and workshops in primary schools again, now that my maternity leave is over.  These workshops fit with the topics of light and shadow and traditional tales, making them ideal for the primary curriculum. These workshops involve a short show by me (“Jabberwocky“, “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” or “The Interrupted Wedding“) followed by the children making their own puppets and putting on their own shows in groups.  If you would like me to come and work with your school please CONTACT ME for more information and to book 🙂

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We are also available for street theatre walkabouts featuring either of the Shadow Puppet Suitcase shows (“Jabberwocky” & “Edward Lear’s Nonsense“) and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party walkabout show.

Edward Lear’s Nonsense is the perfect show for food festivals.  The suitcase shows are also perfect for Christmas entertainment or for a festival of light and I have costumes to fit all of these occasions.

Don’t hesitate to contact me to book or for more information.

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We’re producing a new larger-scale shadow puppet show, suitable for large audiences in schools and other indoor venues.  It’s early days for the project but I can reveal that it’s based on the traditional Japanese Fairy Tale “The Magic Ear”.  The show has an environmental theme and can include an accompanying junk percussion workshop.

We’re taking bookings for Autumn this year and 2019.  Email me here if you’d like to know more.  I’ll be blogging about the project in detail soon – keep your eyes peeled!

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Celebrating & Evaluating “My Last CARnival” + St. Simeon, Patron St. of Puppeteers!

After the wonderful experience of making “Fred Fettler’s “Pony 3000” The Transport of the Future” for the “My Last CARnival” event, the fun did not end there.

Pioneer Projects, who commissioned Rough Magic Theatre to create the “Pony 3000” show wanted to thank everybody who had been involved with “My Last CARnival”, “My Last Car” and the Jubilee Flotilla and Picnic celebrations and to get feedback from everyone about the event as well.

So Tim Austin, Eddie Knowles and I, (not being ones to turn up our noses at scones with strawberries and cream, vol au vents and fruit punch) all went along.  I jest of course, it was very nice to be treated with drinks and nibbles, but that wasn’t our only reason for going.  A very big thank you to those who helped prepare all the lovely food, by the way.

I was very pleased to see Alan Dix again, (the artistic director of 509 arts) who was presented with a lovely model of a carbon footprint with a model car sticking out of it in memory of the occasion.  Their “My Last Car” performance and exhibition was absolutely top quality and a real treat to have right on our doorstep in Bentham Town Hall.  This was the feedback I gave to him, both from myself and from comments of other audience members that I heard at the time.  Alan returned the compliment by telling me what he had thought of our street theatre performance.  He said that he wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work at first, but that it was extremely “witty” and he’d enjoyed it a lot.  Here is 509 arts evaluation video of the event and you can just see me with my traffic cone on the bottom right towards the end!

I also found out that there is a Patron Saint of Puppeteers this week, whose feast day can be celebrated either on the 1st or 21st of July according to which calendar you follow!

Click HERE for the Puppeteers UK article on St. Simeon Salus (or Salos)

Please note, everyone, that Buxton Opera House are now taking bookings for our Shadow puppet workshop and “Alice in Wonderland” performances on the 24th of July, please see “Where You Can See Me” page for more details.