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Monthly Archives:

February 2014

Hippo in France

Our hippo had a fantastic time at the Fish and Chips Festival in Sotteville-lès-Rouen, Normandy. It’s a street theatre festival produced by Atelier 231  featuring British street acts booked by Xtrax.

Atelier 231 is this amazing street theatre creation centre. Imagine vast ex-train engine sheds with fully-equipt workshop spaces, office spaces and a fleet of caravans and apartments for artists in residence. It’s mind-boggling how much French society supports it’s artists.

It was our first gig in France and the first time the Hippo’s left the country so we were very excited. We performed two evenings so we had a chance to take in the sites across the river in Rouen during the day. Highlights included Rouen Cathedral (famous from Monet’s paintings) and the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We walked lovely pedestrianised streets which were part old and part reconstructed to look old (after the severe bombings from WW2) and, of course, visited our share of cafes and boulangeries.

The act went well, crowds seemed to really enjoy the hippo (even if they were a bit baffled by the storytelling part of it, our French being non-existent) and the hippo behaved himself. We need to work out how to build lights into him for night gigs. That or accept that a large hippo will suddenly emerge out of the darkness and freak out festival goers.

The festival was a great mix of friends we regularly meet along the British street theatre scene (Pif-Paf, Acrojou, Artizani, Dr. Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band) and some impressive French companies such as a lovely fire garden by La Compagnie Carabosse and what was perhaps the best fire performance I’ve ever seen, Passage by La Salamandre.

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Thingumajig Theatre
Thingumajig TheatreSaturday, December 16th, 2017 at 1:43pm
We're taking some time off for the holidays but we are looking forward to our next project in Jan/Feb: Giant puppet workshop near Prague!
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Thingumajig TheatreTuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 4:13pm
Had a lovely time giving a talk on puppets at Touchstone Rochdale today!
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Thingumajig TheatreFriday, November 10th, 2017 at 7:53am
Bringing back our WW1 story for Remembrance Day tomorrow—friends near Oldham, hope to see you there.
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Thingumajig TheatreTuesday, October 3rd, 2017 at 6:14pm
Lovely day teaching #puppetry movement at LIPA Liverpool. 8 new #puppeteers!
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Thingumajig TheatreMonday, October 2nd, 2017 at 12:09pm
Big weekend: Thingumajig Theatre turned 11 years old this weekend--what better way than working flat out at one of our favourite puppet festivals, the Skipton Puppet Festival? We performed Ugly Duckling on Saturday (sold out!) and Kit and Caboodle on Sat and Sun to the most enthusiastic crowds you can ever hope for--and waved a flag and danced on stilts for the Handmade Parade puppet parade. Plus saw some inspiring puppet shows and had a chance to hang out with puppeteer friends old and new from all over the UK and Europe. Exhausted but exhilarated! Thanks Daniel Lempen and Liz Lempen and all the team for an amazing festival! Photo by Craig Shaw.
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