Visual theatre is not easily explained in words, so may I suggest you begin by watching a video introduction to the different ways I work with puppets, objects and materials in performance. And if now is not the time to see the film, you will find a transcript of the text below the video player.
There are many ways of using materials in performance and I hope that this introduction to my work as a specialist director will also help to showcase the theatrical potential of puppets and objects.
As a puppet-maker, I like to use natural materials and found objects but as a director I can work with any puppetry technique. I enjoy turning ready-made objects, such as toys, into puppets and believe anything can become a puppet if it appears to be alive – that is if it seems to have thoughts, feelings and a will of its own.
Many of the puppets that appear in my performances have actually been created during the rehearsal process, often by simply putting together different elements.
Puppets have anthropomorphic tendencies but they don’t need to move in a human-like way and successful puppets move according to their own logic rather than simply imitate people.
I also work with everyday objects, sometimes using them in their normal function but often in a more poetic or symbolic way. And, of course, objects can become puppets.
In the performance of Liquid-acció, the theme and animated material was water. In one scene it was personified as a puppet but mostly it was manipulated for itself. Water is actually one of my favourite subjects to animate … on the water, in the water or even underwater.
I also work with scenographic elements that are not necessarily animated as characters but nevertheless become expressive through movement. I love to combine actors and puppets on stage and often use materials to transform the actor.
I am just as happy making theatre for children as dealing with adult themes. And can work large-scale or small.
I have worked as assistant director on text-based productions, where the material is used to support the words, but mostly I work in visual theatre where the materials do the talking.
I also enjoy applying puppeteering techniques to other disciplines. In one workshop, for example, I collaborated with designers to create costume for dance. And in a performance of The Odyssey, Poseidon’s costume was animated as the stormy sea.
With these performances clips, I hope to convey some of the joy and diversity of making theatre with puppets, objects and materials. All the direction and most of the design is my own but some of the puppets and stage design are by other people. If you would like to know more about any of the performances, actors or puppets, please get in touch via the contact form.