Knaresborough Feva & Mintfest, Kendal 2013!

You’ve doubtless noticed that I have been rather quiet on the blog front for a while so here’s an update on what I’ve been up to!

I had a smashing time doing “Jabberwocky!” at Knaresborough Feva 2013 which was really well organised and had large and enthusiastic audiences.  They were so enthusiastic that they were all gathered and waiting for me to begin every time I came out!

CLICK HERE to see photo’s the organisers took on their Facebook page.

We were very pleased to give our mechanical horse an airing at Lakes Alive event “Mintfest” in Kendal.  Followers of this blog will know that “Fred Fettler’s “Pony 3000” – The Transport of the Future!” show was commissioned last year for the “My Last CARnival” event in High Bentham.  CLICK HERE to see earlier posts showing the making & design process.

Below are photo’s that Tim Austin (who plays Fred Fettler) took at Mintfest, including the fabulous Firework display by Pa Boom on the Sunday evening.  This and Richard Dedomenici’s “Redux – Dawn of the Dead” were the only things we got to watch ourselves this year as we were too busy performing!  A section from the film Dawn of the Dead was recreated with local people playing Zombies etc. by Richard at the Westmorland Shopping Centre and screened there on the Sunday evening.  You can see the video at the bottom this post.

In between we also caught a bit of a fabulous band called “Dublin 2 Delhi” outside the Brewery Arts Centre.

Be warned the video below contains violence and gore so is not suitable for little kids, (though one of the zombies is played by a lad of about 11!)


Fred Fettler’s “Pony 3000” is universally well received & The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party crashes the Queen’s prize giving!

Well, such a lot has been happening since my last post!  I thought I had better leave it till now to tell you all about it, as I hope everyone has been having a good time in the real world rather than hunching over computer screens.  There are those people, of course, who, like my husband, feel the need to give the world a minute by minute account of their impressions of the Jubilee concert via their smart phones, but each to his own.

Anyway… Since I got the go-ahead for the mechanical horse project I have, pretty much, been in a state of stress and anxiety.  It turned, in my head, from a fun cool idea that would be exciting to try, to a project involving lots of things I was unfamiliar with and had never done before and was, therefore, very scary.  The reason I wanted to do it was because it was different and therefore a challenge, but I am never completely happy until a project is completed and there are no more opportunities for something to go wrong.

When the mechanical horse was incomplete I worried about getting it done; when it was finished I worried about it breaking.  I also worried about the performance part.  We attempted to do some rehearsal and work out some basic routines and phrases/jokes we could use.  We did get a lot of things thought through and practiced and down on paper, but the lack of an audience to play off seemed to restrict us as to what we could rehearse in advance.  Tim, (playing the inventor of the machine Fred Fettler) was very good in coming up with several car related jokes and visual gags such as the “environmental controls” – a blanket.  I came up with the Monty Pythonesque tin can hoof noises and the birdy noises etc.

Ali Jones, (who was the organiser of the My Last CARnival event) was far from sure whether there would be many people to play to.  But I had my trusty traffic cone loud hailer and one of my main jobs (as Mr. Otto Maton, mechanical M.C.) was to pursue people with this and entice them to come and look at the “Pony 3000, the transport of the future”, and have a “ride” on the back.  In the event, we were busy almost non-stop from 9.30am to 4.00pm and my fellow performer Tim Austin was enjoying himself so much I had great difficulty in persuading him to take an hour’s lunch break and one tea break in the afternoon.

We were so busy I did not get a chance to have a go in the “Astronaut’s Caravan” but we did get a look at the great shadow film Tom Lloyd & Dreamtime Film had made with the Ingleton Primary School children.  We also saw the fantastic “My Last Car” performance in the town hall.  Comments I heard from other audience members implied that it was a real treat to have such a top quality piece of modern performance in Bentham.

From the point where we put the horse in the shop window up until several days after the performances with the horse, I have received nothing but positive glowing feedback.  The horse has now retired from the window and disassembed for storage.  It seems a bit sad, but we intend to promote it as a street show and expect to get it out for more performances in the future.  If the situation requires it, we could even convert it so that it actually travels down the road for processions etc.  So if you are interested in having “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000 – The Transport of the Future” at your event, please let me know!  We will be creating a show page for it on the main Rough Magic Theatre website soon.

And speaking of existing creations got out of storage for new events, Rough Magic Theatre’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, from our “Alice in Wonderland” show, was let loose on the unsuspecting public having their D.I.Y. picnic teas after Bentham’s own Jubilee Flotilla had paraded through the streets.  I was pleased that we had considerably better weather than the real Queen did as, despite the constant moaning of the TV commentators, their event was NOT spoiled by the weather and I think ours would have been.

The Mad Hatter and the March hare seemed to inspire smiles all round and together with the excellent band contributed a lot to the party atmosphere.  He had been told to keep away from Bentham’s own Queen, (played by Lizzie Star a local artist who is also keen on amateur dramatics) while she was judging the boats and giving out prizes but despite this managed to get himself a medal later in the proceedings and was dubbed Sir Mad of Hatter.

Having got this over with I was able to completely relax and enjoy the Elderberry and Redcurrant jam I made the previous night with our scones (shop bought but quite nice).  Later that day I finally got the chance to try out the meths burner and camping cook set that I bought a while back for our trip to “Masquepony” – the camping street arts festival on 17-19th August.  We are going to watch other people on the 18th, camp overnight and I’ll be performing “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” on the 19th.

The burner eventually lit, (it is very difficult to tell as it burns with an invisible flame) and I managed to cook curried veg to go with our microwaved mung beans using the frying pan and the sauce pan.  It turned out very nicely and didn’t taste methsy at all, (I have a memory of previous meals cooked on stoves like this tasting a bit funny, but I think it must be the smell of the meths that does it).

Not counting the Pirate Party that Tim has coming up the Beverley Puppet Festival is the next big event to look forward to on the 15th of July which is the sister festival to Skipton Puppet Festival that I have already been involved with in the past.  This is the first time we have done this festival and it is organised by Anna Ingleby of Indigo Moon, and I’m hoping we’ll get to see their “Aladdin” show at last.

Bye for now!