We had an exhausting and very exciting time at Manchester Day Parade. The Wythenshawe section was one of the largest in the whole parade, and we were so proud of all who took part! The artwork we created together was shown off at its best, with enthusiastic performances from everyone. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with so many different groups, and running workshops in the beautiful surroundings of Wythenshawe Park.
See photos HERE.
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.
- Giant flower prototype--one down, 39 to go!
- Design by Fran for a dance group
- Design for Wythenshawe Hall
- Design by Fran for a seniors dance group
- Testing hand stamp leaf prints--these will appear in costumes throughout the section.
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!)
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.
- Get-in at Little Angel Theatre
- Little Angel work--so much history
- Love all the stories in all the objects a puppet maker keeps around
- This puppet had such smooth, balanced head and arm movements--a real inspiration
- Larry decided to make a bed in our set
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.
Thingumajig puppets have had a great day out in every Manchester Day Parade since the first one in 2010, and this year we get to head up a whole section! We’re working with groups from Wythenshawe, and had a good initial meeting last week at the beautiful Wythenshawe Hall. The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Wish You Were Here’ and some exciting ideas are leaping around the table already. Andrew and I are working on design ideas and will present them to the groups later this week. We’re particularly looking forward to doing art workshops in the Hall……a grand step up from our usual workshop surroundings!
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.