Friday, 10 June 2016

Meet a puppetry newbie...

Tibu Fortes, a performer and puppeteer in the Globe's A Midsummer Night's Dream, had never worked with puppets before. We chatted with Tibu about his experiences working with Mark on the Changeling Boy in the show...

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience working on the Changeling Boy in the show? 

I have never worked with puppetry before so when we were first introduced to the Changeling Boy puppet it was very exciting. However, before Mark joined us at rehearsals it was quite a struggle - figuring out how his limbs worked, feeling that the stick holding his head was not long enough whilst also trying to make him seem alive - it was difficult. He just wouldn't come to life. After a couple of sessions with Mark, the boy started waking up and we could see the other actors interacting with the boy more - bright smiles on their faces as they worked with him.

What would you say is the hardest thing about puppetry for you?

It can be physically quite difficult. Even though we are doing very physical stuff in the show just as actors, having the puppet and allowing it its space requires you to contort or push your physicality in a more taxing way. I think it's both emotionally and physically draining.

Is there a particular puppetry technique/tip that has stayed in your memory since the rehearsal period?

After a little while in to the rehearsal process, it suddenly hit me to 'act' as if I were the little Changeling Boy - to see the world from his eyes and experience his wants and pleasures - then he immediately came to life!

A Midsummer Night's Dream plays until 11 September. Tickets available here:

Monday, 6 June 2016

June's Puppet of the Month - Ogre

What are you made from?

I'm hand sculpted from Styrofoam and was designed by Nick Barnes. I have a moving mouth and need five puppeteers to bring me to life. I'm fairly high maintenance darling...

What have I seen you in?

I performed in El Gato Con Botas at The New Victory Theatre, New York, a family opera by Xavier Montsalvatge directed by Moises Kaufman. Blind Summit collaborated with Tectonic Theater Project and Gotham Chamber Opera on the production and you can see me in action in the film below:

What are you up to now?

I'm miles away in storage in New York awaiting a possible future production but I did have a life after El Gato Con Botas: the design for my head was used for the head of the Bonze in Le Rossignol in 2014 at Bregenz Festival as you can see below:

Puppeteer Profile: Ivan Thorley...

Ivan is a Blind Summit Associate who has worked with us since 2011 as a puppeteer and puppet maker on shows including The Table, The Magic Flute and the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Since working with Blind Summit Ivan has founded his own company, Puppets with Guts, and is currently touring their outdoor production Citizen Squid

How did you start working with Blind Summit?

I was performing with the Rainbow Collectors, a collective made up of puppeteers and circus performers, at Battersea Arts Centre in mid 2011 where Blind Summit were sharing an initial scratch of The Table. I thought it was great and plucked up the courage to go and speak with Mark Down. After a brief chat I mentioned that I liked puppetry and Mark invited me to come to a rehearsal that following Monday. 

What's your favourite memory working with Blind Summit?

Touring The Table to New York to La Mama Theatre and MOSES giving a lecture to an audience of programmers and producers on the 'state' of puppetry...

Tell us about CITIZEN SQUID

It's an interactive big puppet spectacle that was originally commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith and Watford Palace Theatre in 2015, and further commissioned by Wandsworth Council and Enable Arts and Leisure in 2016, supported by Arts Council England. 

We have been working with young people in transition over ten weeks on Patmore Estate in Battersea through a community engagement process. Come and see it! Our performance dates are below.

What else are you up to?

As a puppeteer I am also creative producing and puppeteering a secret high profile fashion show for London Fashion Week on 12th June... look out for further details on the Puppets with Guts FB page and Twitter!

You can see CITIZEN SQUID at:
- Greenwich & Docklands International Festival, 25-26 June
- Summer in Southside, Birmingham Hippodrome, 23-24 July
- Great British Carnival, Ramsgate, 28 July