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Andrew Kim

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.

Yorkshire Festival 2014

Thingumajig images are all over the web today on account of the launch of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, a series of county-wide events in preparations for the launch of the Tour de France in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6, 2014.

Our Hieronymus the hippo riding down the streets of Hebden Bridge is the featured image of the Fantasical Cycle Parade, a Handmade Parade event featuring giant bike puppets and bike art in the streets of Todmorden on April 26, 2014. Another PR photo for the event is the giant snail from the parade sections we created with the Wythenshawe community groups for the 2013 Manchester Day Parade. The snail is part Kerith Ogden (shell) and Andrew Kim (body). This creature was in a shopping mall in Leeds today as part of the launch as seen in this ITV Calendar segment!

The Hippo and Snail will be a part of the Fantastical Cycle Parade as will 4 new giant bike puppets including a giant bike bird by Andrew Kim and Noah Rose and Richard Dawson. Exciting times ahead!

Street Acts for 2014

Read the newsletter sent out to our email list on January 23, 2014. It lists all the street acts available for 2014. Some familiar faces and then there’s some strange jellyfish looking for a good night out.

If you’d like to be including in future newsletters, please sign up on our Contacts page.

A big welcome and thanks to Kate Reynolds for putting the newsletter together. Kate has joined our team and will be booking street acts for Thingumajig Theatre this year.

Spring “A November Day” Tour

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming tour of “A November Day”. In this centenary year of the start of World War 1, we will be touring our play twice in 2014, in March and then again in October and November.

We are very lucky to working with expert tour bookers makin projects who have introduced our work to lots of new venues throughout the UK.

Check out our spring tour in our What’s On page. We’ll post the autumn tour soon. If you are a venue interested in the show in the autumn, please contact mark@makinprojects.co.uk.

Introducing “Jellish”

We’ve just been successful for our Arts Council England bid for the R&D for our new night-time street act!

In “Jellish” a bloom of giant illuminated jelly fish will transform night time streets or fields of a festival into a strange and magical underwater world. These giant jellyfish will be made from beautifully hand-painted flowing fabric which will be illuminated internally from gently changing lights. Each jelly fish will be 1 to 2 meters wide and can be anywhere from just above the height of the audience and up to 6 meters high depending on the venue and weather. The full show will have 12-15 giant jelly fish plus a mothership giant jellyfish float which will house a musican/DJ who will be creating, looping and live mixing sound throughout the performance.

Jellish-web

In this first stage, we’ll make 6 jelly fish and try them out at Handmade Parade’s Lamplighter Festival in Todmorden on November 23 and again at the Sowerby Bridge Winter Light Festival on December 15.

After this initial stage we will work towards the full production to be ready by late summer 2014.

Very exciting news. Time to get making…

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Puppet Carving Workshop

We spent an idyllic week in Devon: one half of Thingumajig Theatre had a camping holiday catching up on reading, knitting and beach walks while the other half took a week-long puppet carving class taught by John Roberts of Puppet Craft.

I’ve always loved the look and feel of a wood carved puppet but never felt I had the time or the right tools to use this technique for a show. I studied some mask carving in Bali in 1999–it was a fantastic experience but I didn’t leave with the confidence to carry it on into my puppet making.

I’ve heard about John’s carving classes and have been inspired by several friends who have taken his classes when he taught them at Horse and Bamboo. So this year, I finally made the time to sign up and I’m so glad I did!

We had a full on week with a lovely group of artists from throughout the country. John was a very open and patient hands-on teacher, stopping to teach whenever one of the students came to a new step. The best part was to be in the right environment, with the right tools, with encouraging people and the time to experiment and learn. Such a great use of a week!

My only regret is that we’ve been so full on since the class, I haven’t had time to finish my Monkey puppet and try out my new skills!

 

Designing the Wythenshawe Parade Section

It’s all battle stations at Thingumajig Theatre! This year, we’ve been asked to lead a cluster of groups for the Manchester Day Parade. In previous years, we’ve worked with one group and then occasionally provided a giant puppet for an additional group. This year we’re working with a collection of about 12 groups which includes 4 dance groups and 2 bands!

It’s certainly bigger than just what Kathy and I can manage so we’ve brought in a few Handmade Parade artists to help us with costumes (Fran Sierrevogel), workshops (Ellie Chaney) and some of the big makes (Joanna McGlynn).

The theme for our section is “Garden City” as this is sometimes what Wythenshawe calls itself. Our message is that all sorts of beautiful things are blooming in Wythenshawe.

We’ve finished the design stage, done some serious materials  shopping and have made prototypes of the different things we’re planning to make. Now it’s heads down until June 2. (Then it’s heads down after that for the Handmade Parade on June 22!)

Thingumajig at Little Angel

On Saturday (April 20), we performed Hullaba Lulu at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, London. For many puppeteers, this is a very storied place and for me, a puppet geek, this was a bit of a dream come true.

It’s been  the “Home of British Puppetry” since John Wright and his company first converted an old temperance hall in 1961 and spent many years making beautiful marionette theatre which inspired generations. Though John Wright has passed away, the company is still very active making shows for their space as well as taking their shows on tour.

I remember hearing about Little Angel from Eric Bass of Sandglass Theatre. We performed The Vertigo of Sheep in their gorgeous barn turned into a puppet theatre in Vermont. Eric had spent some time training at Little Angel and was inspired not only by the work but by the culture of the living and work space.

The stage is a narrow but deep space, just perfect for puppet theatre–though as it was made for marionettes, the permanent puppet bridge (don’t see many of those anymore) required us to make some adjustments to the height of our sea cloths and moon shadow screen. (But not so bad as we had to do a similar trick when we playing in the studio at Lawrence Batley Theatre!)

Despite a very rare sunny day, we had pretty decent houses: nearly full for the 11am show and about half full for the 2pm show. We had some really great feedback from the audience and the staff–and these are people who see a lot of puppet shows coming through. So hopefully, we’ll be there again soon.

A November Day 2014 Tour

We’re delighted to announce the relaunch of A November Day to mark next year’s 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. The play originally toured in 2008, and has been a favourite in our repertoire since then. We’re very proud of the show, which has had superb responses in the USA and Europe, as well as at home in the UK. It has a special place in Kathy’s heart, being partly based around her own family’s story.

We’re particularly fortunate in that Makin Projects is representing us for the forthcoming tour in spring and autumn 2014, and look forward to visiting many new venues as well as returning to some old favourites.

 

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Thingumajig Theatre
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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Thingumajig Theatre
Thingumajig TheatreTuesday, September 26th, 2017 at 10:40pm
Hello again, little friends! Ugly Duckling brush up rehearsal for Skipton Puppet Fest this Saturday!
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Twitter

Friday, November 10th, 2017 at 4:58am
Bringing back our WW1 story for Remembrance Day tomorrow @OldhamLibraries—hope to see you there… https://t.co/jVgidE52Mb
Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 11:44am
RT @HmadeParade: Gallery of our month-long residency in Korea thanks to a joint fund by @ace_national and Arts Council Korea https://t.co/…
Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 6:43am
RT @OldhamLibraries: A November Day by @ThingumaTheatre, a fable of war & friendship. Showing on 11/11. Suitable 10+: https://t.co/P56L4GKV…
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 8:46pm
RT @anna_shotter: Been playing with some lovely puppets made by @ThingumaTheatre this week rehearsing for #ReynardTheFox with @fabularium.…

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