The UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival in Perth is drawing close; tt runs from April 2 -12! Check UNIMA 2008 for information and the latest updates; the most recent is here. You can also keep an eye on Unima Australia’s news and events page for updates. The Puppet Caravan, comprising several parties of puppeteers travelling from the eastern states by road and performing as they go, is already on its way. Puppets are rolling in to the Million Puppets Project; be sure to post yours by March 21st ( PO Box 832 Fremantle, WA 6959). There are lots of exciting professional development events, talks, shows and workshops and exhibitions; and freebies available to those who feel inclined to volunteer to help with the festival. The third Australian National Puppetry Summit is running in conjunction with the festival and congress.
For me Jonathon Oxlade was the stand-out performance of the One Van puppetry festival in late January. His short performance during the Saturday night cabaret was exciting, bizarre, gross, and hilarious. Jonathon works as a freelance theatre designer, illustrator and puppeteer.
According to his bio, among many other things, he created The Red Tree installation — ‘an interactive experience full of little surprises for the eyes, ears,heart and mind’ — that accompanied the QPAC’s Out of the Box production of ShaunTan’s beautiful picture book ‘The Red Tree’ in 2004.
This year he is designing ‘Creche and Burn’ (on stage in April) and ‘The Dance of Jeramiah’ (in Oct-Nov) for LaBoite Theatre, and a production of the Dicken’s classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ for the Queensland Theatre Company late in the year. He is currently working on a picture book, too.
The seventh ‘One Van’ International Festival of Puppetry will be taking place on January 21-24, 2005 in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.Ailie Cohen from Scotland will be bringing 2 shows, ‘Rumplestiltskin at the Fairytale Laundry’, and ‘Jazz Mouse’, to add to the fabulous Australian shows coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and north coast NSW.
It will be a chance to see Richard Hart’s Dream Puppets ‘Dreamer’ trilogy, ‘Muckheap’ by Polyglot Puppets, Aphid’s ‘A Quarrelling Pair, ‘Moon Shadow’ by Sydney Puppet Theatre and two productions by Krinkl Theatre, among others.
There will be great workshops for adults in manipulation, writing, mask and shadow puppetry and puppetry making workshops for kids. Philip Millar, Joanne Foley, Sue Giles and Gary Friedman are among those offering workshops.
‘Nature Band’ is a community puppet project being run as part of the festival too, as Sean Manners at Puppetry Australia explains:
‘Designed by Jenny Kee, a number of large street parade puppets, celebrating the flora and fauna of the area, are being constructed by local members of the community who then will use them in outdoor events in and around Blackheath during the Festival.
Construction workshops are being run every weekend in November, December & January apart from Christmas and New Year from 10.00am to 4.00pm in Blackheath next door to the Fire Station on the Great Western Highway. All are welcome over the age of 16 to come and join in. Come for the day or for an hour.’
A full list of performers and activities for ‘One Van’ can be seen at a glance here.
An umbrella event of the festival will be a 2-day Puppetry Conference on Jan 19 & 20th in Blackheath in which there will be discussion and focus groups on various topics. All puppeteers are welcome, but the emphasis is on puppetry in NSW. For information contact the directors:
David Collins – email@example.com
Sue Wallace – Ph/fax: (02) 9550 6457, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information or to be on the festival mailing list contact:
Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre,
Phone: (02) 4787 7770
Fax: (02) 4787 7777
In Perth, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in partnership with the City of Joondalup will celebrate World Puppetry Day with the spectacular opening of the Joondalup Festival. The project, Animus Maximus, is supported by Healthway, the Heart Foundation’s ‘Smarter than Smoking’ message and ArtsWA.
Spare Parts Company associates, Bryan Woltjen and Karen Heathey, will not only be bringing out the giant Wubba puppet, but are co-ordinating three festival parades comprising puppets made by the children, including large scale stilt walking creatures. Narelle Simpson, another talented multi skilled company associate has been doing stilt walking classes with children in preparation for the big event on World Puppetry Day. And Sanjiva Margio has also been working with the community to create large scale puppetry parade elements.
“The performance is a spectacle street theatre event (devised by Bryan Woltjen and Karen Hethey in conjuction with Kinross College and Warrick Senior High School) based on the 2004 Joondalup Festival’s theme of Global Village. Through the project students have undertaken workshops in complicite’, performance development, introductory puppetry skills, and construction to bring to life giant multi-operated puppets on the streets of Joondalup.
Dillo the giant scaled shape changer, a magnificent glowing raptor the size of a two story building, a graceful stilt creature and the Five Fingered Puppet King will take to the streets of Joondalup to meet at the great cross-roads for a summit which will hopefully bring peace to the global village. A village whose clans have been left fractured and fearful from the great battle which has waged for four centuries.
The setting is the third Millenia, and the formidable Dillo the scaled shape changer, protected by the legions of Dillodians has dominated the clans through sheer force and numbers but the clans have grown tired, hungry for change. A small contingent of renegades, the Aeralians have held out against the all consuming might of Dillo. Through out time, woven into the mythological threads of the clans, a prophecy has for told of a time of change. Some think the prophecy to be nothing more than a children’s story or fools riddle, but the older wiser ones Annularis, Medius, Digitus, Index and Polex whose wisdom was born long before the clashing times know otherwise.
The prophecy fortold of a great winged creature
made from neither flesh nor wood or metal nor bone,
not feathers, skin nor wire alone,
whose force if harnessed and rode in flight
would turn the scales of wrath and might
A legion of Dillodians capture a great raptor. Is this the mythological beast of the prophecy? Is a time of change at hand? Or do the fates hold another story? Set to a sound track designed by Kingsley Reeves with SPPT company associate Nel Simpson playing the character of Arial, all is revealed at twighlight at the great summit of Animus Maximus, at the cross-roads of Grand Boulevarde and Reid Promenade in Joondalup March 21st.”
The Shoreline project is part of the this year’s Mountain Festival in Hobart which takes place from 19 to 28 March 2004. Shoreline involves performing artists Thomas Zotz and Heidi Callewaert of Mixed Media Productions as well as visual artist Chantale Delrue working with diverse community groups in the Eastern Shore region of the Derwent Estuary in the City of Clarence. The artists facilitate community workshops in making artworks including sculptural works, prayer flags, masks, costumes and puppets and storytelling as performance using the history of the region and ecology of Mt. Wellington as the focus. These artworks will become part of a public installation and be the site for a related storytelling performance encouraging audience participation, at the historic Bellerive Fort reserve with Mt. Wellington as a dramatic visual backdrop.