After the Summit rush

The Fourth Puppetry(and animatronics) Summit was a boon to humankind, a joy to behold and an outstanding amount of fun crammed into a few short days. After a little bit too much pre-event panic (for me in any case), all seemed to go remarkably well and there was plenty of entertainment, catching up, chatting and puppetry related business. Many thanks to the industrious and enthusiastic organizing committee; Annie Forbes, Sue Wallace, Nancy Black and John Barcham.

Steve looks on as I prepare to Superglue my fingers together in the name of science

Day One for me involved a couple of Puppet Doctor sessions with Dr Tim Denton and Dr (or possibly Nurse) Steve Coupe. Some advice was distributed and hopefully some puppets may either be on the way to recovery or about to undergo new treatments as a result of our prescriptions.

Day Two was full on. I presented my talk on Animatronics, watched a fabulous session on Digital Puppetry (the way of the future?) with Dominic DiGiorgio, Frank Newman and Lynne Kent introduced by Richard Bradshaw. After that, a brisk stroll into my work in progress workshop with Dan Hurlin. Dan was extremely generous and supportive and likewise the disconcertingly large group of observers who had turned up. Thankfully everyone was very helpful and I think I’ll be able to steal or borrow several good ideas from the session to finish the piece (currently titled “Mr Punch is Ready for Love”). A beer and chip later and it was time for the cabaret. Ken Koala was scheduled to kick things off with his theme song and a poem, followed by a reprise of the piece we presented at St Ali’s during the Comedy Festival. I was very fortunate to be accompanied by the talented Lana Schwarcz and of course the wonderful musical genius of Derek Rowe. Derek was handed his script a good hour before the show (which is not entirely unusual for us ) and he delivered a wonderful introduction to the intellectual underpinnings of contemporary puppet theatre. As the photos suggest, it all went downhill from there as Lana and I waggled dollies to the best of our ability. In retrospect, the appearance of our feet under the makeshift playboard may have enhanced the piece although sadly it was not entirely intentional. People were amused and that was the main thing.

Sunday kicked off with an excellent couple of talks from Shaun Tan and Anthony Lucas. Inspiring and stimulating, followed up with a refreshingly optimistic and happy finale.

Any puppet weekend which leaves you inspired and keen to create is obviously a very good one.

The words of wisdom from Mr Bradshaw which underscore our piece.

Derek clearly indicates “Behind you!”