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Monthly Archives:

August 2014

Budapest

Giant puppets at a massive music festival on an island in Budapest? Why not! For the first time, we crated our giant puppets and flew to meet them for the week-long Sziget Festival. It was a big experience.

It was its own universe, much like Glastonbury or Burning Man which attracted about 80,000+ people from throughout Europe. There were some big names (not that we knew them very well) and lots of great public art and street theatre.

We brought out hippo and the dodos and did 3 sets a day (two of one, one of the other). The crowds were really very enthusiastic. Folks loved the hippo and as it turns out, the dodos are party animals when they find a dance floor!

There were some very impressive big street shows and it was great to hang out with some of our British street arts colleagues Acrojou, Flying Buttresses and Swank.

Sziget wasn’t without its challenges: the first day, we were performing in 30+ degree Celsius. We were so glad there were showers backstage for the performers! The festival really looked out for their artists and crew: huge buffet feast twice a day (including beer and wine–how civilised!), lovely hotel, decent coffee and air conditioning in the green room marquee!

As we required a bit more space than your average street act, we were backstage of the Budapest Opera stage who put on a lovely show of opera favourites. This will go down as one of our most surreal experiences ever: packing up our mechanical hippo after our last set, in the dark surrounded by glorious opera sung just a few metres from us.

Sidmouth Folk Week

Thingumajig Theatre loves folk festivals! Without fail, they seem to attract the best, most open audiences and, when you’re not working, we get to listen to some excellent music. And this year, we hit the mother lode!

Sidmouth Folk Week, now in its 60th year is a week-long event filled with workshops, concerts, buskers and more Morris dancers than you can shake a stick at. Plus, it has the advantage of being on a gorgeous beach so you can always go for a walk or dip if you need to step away.

Ray and Bev Langton who we’ve worked with at Big Session and Towersey Festival asked us to lead a week-long workshop to create a lantern section as part of the big Torchlight Parade finale. We held 5 days of lantern workshops where we made jelly fish and some water spirit costumes.

We also recycled some materials from last year’s parade make (a giant snake) to make 3 giant jellyfish.

We had some great families and a great crew of volunteer helpers. We also had an assistant artist all the way from Los Angeles: Ezra Behnin-Peterson, son of puppeteer Beth Peterson and musician Severin Behnin who we’ve worked with for many years together with In the Heart of the Beast Theatre.

It was a lovely project which was received well and we had a chance to hear some great music and Andrew even took some workshops in playing the Bones!

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