Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Update: Big Ideas Conference, Luton

See below for updates...

Hello there, this is a post to let you know two things: One, I shall be starting a new puppet build next week for a show in Leeds which I shall be putting the pictures up for in time, and excitingly, I shall be attending The Big Ideas conference event in Luton tomorrow which I'm really looking forward to, especially with the line up of visiting artists and speakers - War Horse, Pif Paf, Big Man Walking, The Lion King, Blind Summit, Rampage, and many more - plus talks and seminars there will be hands on workshops and networking events as well as the opportunity to play with some big puppets - all in all, I can't wait. I plan to take some pictures and to give a status report when i get back, so check that out - Until my next post, thanks for dropping by.

Update: I am returned from the conference, which was a hectic couple of days fuelld with great amounts of enthusiasm, and a lot of inspiration! Some great companies were attending, and I could go on for a long time about some of the workshops and events - I must say a huge well done to Linda Lewis and Emma Leishman of the Puppet Centre Trust who did sterling work all weekend, and for myself, I managed to meet some great people, see some great puppetry, and find out a lot of things which really informed and inspired me, so can't say fairer than that! I have some pictures which I will add below

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tales from the Red Barn

Hello, a quick message to say that there will be some set picture updates soon, and to let you know about a side project - Tales From the Red Barn, a micro story project with writer Adam Z. Robinson and illustrations by me - It's regularly updated so please go over and have a look, and leave a comment letting us know what you think. Check back here for some new set pics within the week, and thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea this week

Hello there, some quick updates for you. I've been away and then leapt straight into a new puppet build for Birmingham Rep's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for the young Rep, which starts tonight (Thursday). It was a nice project to do obviously involving fish, specifically a shark and giant squid puppet for two key scenes. The commission was to build them in a similar method to the dog and vulture puppets for Phaedra's Love . Using this method for the new puppets worked out rather well, and I was able to try out some new mechanics ideas for the movement of the swimming shark and attacking squid. Although I was happy with the results, and I hope they come out well for the show, I'm already thinking of how I would refine the design for potential future models. Hopefully there will be a chance to try out some more designs for new projects over the next year. That's my current build over, but have got some new puppet designs lined up for the coming couple of months as well as other news, so keep checking back, and if you are around, go and check out 20,000 Leagues at the Rep, it looks great. Meanwhile, I'm going to add some pictures for the Shark and Squid models, and hopefully will be able to add some production photo's later. I also include some building photo's too, although I'm trying to cut down on them...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

June 2010 news

Hello, thanks for dropping by. I'm currently in the process of starting a new puppet build - the theme is fish, as for the production details, I will blog again with more information soon - The following pictures are my initial sketches and models for a couple of the models. I hope to achieve a reused, run down steampunk effect, but fully expect the design to change with pragmatics over time! Keep looking for updates soon.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Dog 2 finished and new news

Hello there, back again with some new news. I am currently working on a set for Leeds Theatre Group's 'An Ideal Husband' which will be on at Sevenarts theatre in Leeds from the 6th to the 8th of May. More pictures of that after it has gone up. In the meantime, Here is the second section of the second Dog puppet build. When you joined me last, I was attempting to find all the materials to make the puppet from the local area, however, for the body I had to make a concession and get hold of materials from the store. I needed something which could act in the same way as the pipe I found for Dog 1, but couldn't bet on finidng something just right at that time. In the end, I went for a sheet of wire mesh which I could shape well, which would be light and easy to fix to the frame. I coupled this with some felt and stuffing from a sacrificial pillow of mine. Other than that, the mechanisms worked in the same way as the previous dog. here are the pictures. I've also included some more pictures of the original dog and the Phaedra's Love model box and set.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Well, scarborough is finished and all in all it was a really fantastic event: There were great shows, great visiting artists, and a really nice atmosphere of interest in other people's work. Both Bad House and Phaedra's Love were commended, and I was personally very happy with the sets for both, and the puppets for Phaedra's Love, which all together had some very positive feedback. I still have yet to put up new pcitures, but will do so as and when I have them. i am currently designing a new show for Leeds, An Ideal Husband, and am looking forward to a new puppetry project. I will be attending a workshop at the Puppet Centre Trust next week, which I am looking forward to very much, and otherwise getting materials toegther after Scarborough. if anyone is here looking for any information about any of my work, please don't hesitate to get in touch, and I hope to have new pictures and projects updated soon.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Scarborough ahoy

Well, I managed to leave my camera cable at home, so any updates with pictures will be missing from the blog till I get back on Saturday, but until then I can update with the sheer artistry of words, or similar sentiments. The town is lovely, the people friendly, and the atmosphere lively. I missed a great deal of the opening shebang due to the early slot for Bad House which has already garnered a crop of reviews in the Noises Off, the festival daily magazine, and has had more positive feedback from those who came to see it. The set which I had worried about coming together in quite the right way hit the right notes I feel for the venue, and has come under praise, so good news all round. What with Phaedra's love too, it was a mad dash to the finish line while I ran around town looking for pygmy light bulbs to put into some practicals on set. Much thanks to Grace, Ben and Amy, and the entire tech team for their know how, humour and expertise.
And Phaedra's love, which has already been gathering attention, helped partly by the fact that it has a 43 strong cast, and the inviting sign outside the front door of the venue: "Phaedra's Love contains strong language throughout, scenes of a violent nature, scenes of a sexual nature, and scenes of a violent sexual nature", which surely can't fail to attract, or repel, in the case of our one walker yesterday. On the whole, for our first two shows, the atmosphere has been, i mst say electric. The audience has laughed, gasped and retched at the action onstage, and the first drips of feedback are positive. When I go to get the Noises Off paper this morning, I will know for better. I hope to put up show pictures and set design pictures after the festival, as well as puppet pictures. The puppets have worked very well, and it is great for me to be operating onstage, which I am really enjoying. In the meantime, there aremany other great companies and visiting workshops here to indulge in, and all in all, the week seems to promise good things.

Hoping to update with more pictures and actual solid feedback in a day or two


Friday, 26 March 2010


Hello all, a very very brief note to let you know I am soon off to Scraborough, and hope toi update from there. The shows are looking great, the puppets are working well, and I hope to update with any reivews and general site reports from there. In the meantime, if you are on your way there, please come and support Bad House which is on Saturday and Sunday in the Holbeck Theatre, and Phaedra's Love, which is on Monday and Tuesday in the New Hall

thanks and I will update with more info soon


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Dog 2 and set news

Well if the counter on the right is correct, there are at least one or two people regularly visiting to take a look here. (Hello if you're one of them. Why not leave a comment?) Meanwhile, I am preparing the set drawings and models for presentation for Phaedra's love and Bad House, but in the meantime I thought I'd write a quick blog about the dog. The head was formed pretty quickly, and I made the neck using some hoover pipe I found. However, the body became a problem. I discovered I wasn't able to find something appropriate to use in the local area's various skips, and realised i'd have to rethink it slightly. The problem is when I found the first piece of pipe it dictated it's own design, but was not the definitive design. Therefore, for the new, larger dog, I am using the same design structure, but am attempting to model it out of mesh this time which shouls be lighter, and easier to mould. It won't be as strong, so may require a wooden frame to bulk it out a bit. Fortunately, There is plenty of wood about. meanwhile, here is a progression of the dogs head from face up. His face was modelled first, and I have just finished papier mache, which really brings the item to life, seals in the design as it were. here are the current progress pics, and I will update on the next body stage, as well as set models and drawings. Oh and look out for the crafty use of milk carton corners for ears...

Monday, 8 March 2010

Reuse, Recycle, Repeat

Hello there, a quick update to let you know some news, I will be doing two new set designs for shows at scarborough this year, of which i hope to put up some production process photo's and will be building a new Dog puppet for Phaedra's Love, which I may be operating myself. I will again put up some pictures of the progress on that, but wanted to write quickly about my preference for using recylced materials. I am a self confessed hoarder, and I can scavenge a bit too, which is worrying for the amount of stuff I have, but handy for getting raw materials for building. The area in which I currently live is very good for things like this, as I can often go out and find what I need for nothing on my doorstep. I went out for a quick walk around the neighbourhood this morning, and found the wood, polystyrene and piping I need to get started on the new dog (see picture below). The only thing I am missing is a body, although i may end up creating a new on which will be lighter than the previous one, based on a wooden frame instead. I will update this over the nest week or so as I begin to build. Check back for new updates as we go on. I hope to continue to resue and use found materials in my scenery and props too.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Update on Projects...

Hello all, just a quick update to let you know about current projects. Apart from puppetry for Phaedra's Love, I will also be designing the set for Bad House, which will also be up at NSDF, and hope to record my process for the set on here for all to see too. Meanwhile, work is going on apace to get hold of a venue for London for another run of The View from Down Here alongside some exciting new projects we are working on at the moment so keep an eye open!


Monday, 1 March 2010

Dog and Vulture build 2, and Phaedra's Love for NSDF

Ravenrock's Phaedra's love was met with a fantastic response last week, and the excellent news is it has been selected for the National Student Drama Festival in Scarborough this year, so fantastic news all round, and hopefully an opportunity to meet others interested in similar ideas. Meanwhile here are some pictures that I am indebted to Nick Coupe for, thanks Nick.