I first read Yanne Teller's controversial YA novel about a group of teenagers' quest for meaning when I was at university. I immediately wanted to adapt this grisly, Lord-of -the-Flies-esque fable to be told with puppets.
I have led two ACE funded Research and Development periods, combining shadow play, physical theatre, original music and foley sound. The first, at Little Angel Theatre in 2017 explored the themes of meaning, identity and adolescent mental health, experimenting with the multimedia techniques. The second, at Clapham Omnibus Theatre, focused on storytelling and structure.
This project is a real labour of love, and it continues to grow in scale, ambition and relevance. Teller's novel is profound and unnervingly pertinent in these post-Trump, post-Brexit times of fake news, social media and ecological collapse.Teenage depression is on the rise, and no surprise.
I am currently working on the latest version of a script, and am looking forward to bringing this exciting and important project fully to life - whatever that means....
Below are some videos to give you a taste our two R&Ds. If you are interested in finding out more then please feel free to get in touch.
'The Old Woman Made of Stardust'
In 2016 I wrote and directed this short play telling the story of a little girl coming to terms with the death of her grandmother. We presented it at Theatre N16, donating proceeds to childhood bereavement charity Winston's Wish. The show uses puppetry, text and Sebastian Freeburn's original music to start a conversation about how we talk to children about death.
I was inspired by my own grandmother's letters, written shortly before she died for my sister and I. My grandmother told us that 'human beings are made of stardust and love all jumbled up together', and that one day we must all return where we came from. When researching the play, I worked with Winston's Wish to investigate the importance of storytelling and of honesty. I believe puppetry and visual theatre is a perfect way to explore these complex and often highly personal issues.
I'm currently in the process of adapting the play into a book designed to be read aloud, with illustrations by Ana Maio. I would love this book to be able to work alongside future incarnations of the production.
Below is a short video by Joel Courts about the process of developing the second version of the show following it's debut at the Fuel London Student Drama Festival in 2015.
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The Pony Club at the End of the World
A suitcase puppet show about the apocalypse involving terror in the trifle tent, vengeful vicars and a Portaloo-related emergency. This wacky, funny and utterly hopeless performance stars War, Famine, Death and household name, Pestilence (warning: may contain showjumping).
This piece combines clowning, storytelling and puppetry and is suitable for audiences of age 7+. It is about 15 minutes long. It was first performed at Beverley Puppet Festival 2020, with a film version commissioned for Folkestone Puppet Festival.
As a suitcase show it is very portable, and is available for bookings at festivals, events and doorsteps! Contact me for more information.
'Flamingo' is a 10 minute long cabaret piece which combines storytelling, clowning, object manipulation and Bananarama. I have performed it at the Looking Glass Club, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and the Pop Up Palladium.
A funny ( and grisly) fairy tale about body image, told by my flamingo-fancying alter-ego, Eddie Ornott.