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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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Incanti Festival, Turin, Italy

Torino is beginning to feel like home…..this is our fourth time here at Incanti Festival, and our Incanti friends always give us the most amazing welcome. It was too short a visit compared to the four weeks we spent leading PIP 2012 but so great to be back for the 20th anniversary festival.

We performed ‘A November Day’ at the beautiful Cavallerizza Theatre on Saturday night to a fantastic reception. Of course, visiting Turin is partly about the puppets, but also about the wonderful city and the gorgeous food. We’ve waited five years to finally getting round to visiting the Caffe Al Bicherin, for a taste of the heavenly coffee/chocolate signature drink!

Skipton Puppet Festival

It’s always such a pleasure to take our puppets to Skipton Puppet Festival! This year “The Flying Dodos” had great fun playing with the festival punters at the hub, and we had a wonderfully warm response to “Hullaba Lulu” at Ermysteds School. As ‘Handmade Parade’ we were also involved in the festival’s parade down the High Street, and enjoyed showing off some of our giants to the locals! See the photo of the parade HERE.

Well done, Liz and Daniel, for organising this fantastic event.

Nuit des Lampions

After Bornholm we drove through Sweden and Germany (via the Mosel Valley) to Wiltz in Luxembourg, to take part in the Nuit des Lampions festival. Bryan Tweddle, our neighbour from Sowerby Bridge, had invited us to be a part of this year’s event. We arrived not knowing quite how we would fit in and make ourselves useful! ‘Cooperations‘ is an amazing community made up of people with learning difficulties and the long-term unemployed, and it didn’t take us long to make friends with the artist group here and come up with ideas for a performance together.

We created 2 sets of shadow shows for the festival, one with the artist group using shadow masks that they had made before our arrival, and one to mark the clock chimes during the evening, which we performed with the help of the lead art workers of the organisation. It was an absolute privilege to work alongside all the people here, and to enjoy the beautiful buildings, garden and artwork that they have created.

Bornholm Puppet Festival

At the beginning of September we set off on our adventure to Bornholm, a small Danish island off the coast of Sweden for the fabulous Bornholm Puppet Festival. Our van was packed to the gunnels with ‘Hullaba Lulu’, ‘The Flying Dodos’ and ‘The Mystery of the Sock Snatcher’, (plus various other materials and bits and bobs for our next adventure in Luxembourg). During our week here at the festival we saw many inspiring shows, met lots of interesting artists, and had some wonderful sight-seeing trips in this beautiful part of the world. We lapped up the last of the glorious sunny days of the year, camping in our hosts’ garden and walking on beaches around the island (also much enjoyed by Panchan the Dog). A definite highlight for both of us was “Goodbye Mr Muffin” by Denmark’s own Teater Refleksion. Plus, of course, the rhubarb ice-cream!

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!

 

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Monday, March 20th, 2017 at 4:32pm
Oooooh, lots and lots of butterflies. Thanks for the lovely screen printing, @HebdenCoWorking! https://t.co/fBOIjaSgam ThingumaTheatre photo
Saturday, March 18th, 2017 at 7:29pm
RT @ArmaghI: In Pictures: Thousands turn out in Armagh for annual St Patrick’s Day parade https://t.co/aD2NFX5JCY https://t.co/4bxq1FAE4L ThingumaTheatre photo
Friday, March 17th, 2017 at 3:54pm
Dodos today at #Armagh St Patrick's Day Parade with the Armagh Rhymers! https://t.co/rWMGvMCA9V
Friday, March 17th, 2017 at 9:50am
Getting ready to parade in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Dodos sharing dressing rooms with the saint… https://t.co/JTKWhNZnXM

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