The iconic Zippy, characters from The Furchester Hotel, Gremlins, and the talent behind the puppets of Netflix’s Dark Crystal Age of Resistance, The Seed of Chucky, and the Muppet films will be coming together for a new virtual puppet theatre launched to support puppeteers across the arts industry in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acts taking part in the Pop-Up Palladium’s first two shows on Friday, September 4th and Friday, September 18th have now been detailed, as the campaign prepares to launch across Zoom with the aim of ‘whisking audiences away from the doom and gloom’ with a mystery tour of nostalgia.
Pop-Up Palladium will be hosted by the Welsh puppeteer, Emily Morus-Jones, and each show will feature an eclectic selection of types of puppetry, showcasing individual performances, followed by exclusive interviews. It will look to offer a behind the scenes look into the full spectrum of puppetry in theatre, TV, and film.
Included in the first mix of shows are accomplished puppeteers including Shadowography with Drew Colby, The Puppet Barge with Stan Middleton, Artistic Director of Curious School of Puppetry Sarah Wright, The Lips by Puppets with Guts, Toybox with Kamarai Romeo, BGT’s Patsy May, Mademoiselle Lychee with Aya Nakamura and BAFTA and Emmy winning Director Julian Kemp.
Further acts for future shows are yet to be announced.
The Pop-up Palladium host and puppeteer Emily Morus-Jones, said: “My hope is that this event will go some way to keeping struggling performers afloat, give them a bit of hope and inspiration for the future, and help audiences to discover what a wonderful, broad church the world of puppetry really is.”
With theatres having been left out in the cold by lockdown easing, and TV productions being slower to start up, it has been a notably difficult time for puppeteers who usually work in close proximity. The Pop-Up Palladium was conceived as a way to help the industry across the whole spectrum of puppetry showcase their work and learn about the different approaches to this rich and varied art form.
Funds raised will be split between the puppeteers performing, utilising the online platform to support artists through these challenging times while Theatres and TV productions are just getting back on their feet.
The Pop-Up Palladium has been funded by The Arts Council Wales in addition to being sponsored by The Curious School Of Puppetry and Talk To The Hand Puppets.
The line up is as follows:
Friday 4th September, 7.50pm for 8pm start:
HOST – Emily Morus-Jones
A Welsh Puppeteer and Puppet Maker for film, TV, and live events. Emily trained as a TV puppeteer on the Sesame Workshop and BBC production The Furchester Hotel in addition to completing training at The Curious School Of Puppetry.
Emily has performed with puppets on shows for ITV and CBBC, short films, and commercials in addition to working with high profile clients in the music industry that include Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa, The Brit Awards, Rag’nBone Man and Jam Baxter.
Additionally she has built puppets for The Handspring Puppet Company, KneeHigh Theatre, Nick Barnes Puppets, John Lewis and the band Iron Maiden.
SHADOWOGRAPHY with Drew Colby
Drew Colby has worked with puppets in the UK and Southern Africa for over 30 years. His first professional work started at the Playhouse Puppet Company at Durban, South Africa. Work spanned traditional double bridge, long string marionette shows, open stage tabletop puppetry, and performances with mixed styles of puppetry, acting, mask work, and dance.
He later returned to work in the UK at the Little Angel Theatre, notably alongside Steve Tiplady, which led him to start exploring ‘instant puppetry’ where there are no purpose built puppets – only objects brought to life. This in turn led him to shadow work where the theatre is created out of the absence of light, the puppeteers ability, and the audience’s imagination – ‘the ultimate instant puppetry’.
Drew has travelled across the globe performing shadows in addition to creating shadow sequences for Danny Boyle, Nintendo, B&Q, Lodotra, Suso, the RSPB, BBC, Channel 4, V&A Museum, and The Royal Opera House.
THE PUPPET BARGE – Stan Middleton
The Puppet Theatre Barge has been putting on a programme of unique and magical shows on a converted Thames barge for over 30 years.
Stan Middleton is a third-generation puppeteer who has been performing professionally since the age of nine. Stan specialises in marionettes and runs The Puppet Theatre Barge, a fifty-seat puppet theatre inside a converted barge based in London. The Puppet Theatre Barge was started by Stan’s grandparents who originally trained at the Little Angel Theatre with John and Lyndie Wright.
Stan is a regular puppetry tutor at Central School of Speech and Drama and The Curious School of Puppetry. Other performance credits include ‘The Oddissy’ Paper Cinema and Battersea Arts Centre, ‘Venus and Adonis’ RSC and Little Angel Theatre, ‘Jabberwocky’ Little Angel Theatre. ‘Angelo’, Little Angel Theatre.
ZIPPY & RONNIE LE DREW
Zippy is one of the UK Children’s TV heavy weights and most iconic childhood characters. No virtual puppet theatre would be complete without him!
Ronnie Le Drew is one of the UK’s most respected puppeteers, and recipient of the prestigious Harlequin Award, the Oscar of the puppetry world. He has operated many of the most iconic children’s puppets of the twentieth century – Sweep, Muffin the Mule, Bill and Ben, Brains from Thunderbirds – as well as working on classic puppet films such as Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Muppet Treasure Island, and the new Netflix series Dark Crystal Age of Resistance. He continues to work regularly as a puppeteer in TV, theatre and advertising and also teaches at the Curious School Of Puppetry, London School of Puppetry, and at The Little Angel Theatre in London.
Sarah is a master Puppeteer and Puppet Director who served as an additional Muppet performer on 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island and puppeteered Vogons and other aliens in the 2005 Creature Shop-effects film The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Sarah is a veteran London theatre Puppeteer, founder of the Curious School of Puppetry, and Director of her own company Invisible Thread. Her stage credits include work with the Royal Shakespeare Company on The Tempest and directing Sleeping Beauty, The Adventures of Curious Ganz, and Hansel and Gretel. She puppeteered on the TV series Sooty (as occasional character Scampi) and the film Seed of Chucky (operating all three lead doll characters).
Sarah will be talking to us about her life growing up in the Little Angel Theatre and prolific career as a Puppeteer, Director, and Headmistress.
Friday 18th September, ‘doors’ open 7.50pm for 8pm start
THE LIPS BY PUPPETS WITH GUTS
A dazzling & surreal big puppet outdoor sing along, The LIPS are a chorus of delightfully deviant divas whose mouths have escaped from their bodies! The LIPS reanimate our favourite songs, celebrate our shared love of popular music and uphold our freedom to speak out, through a pop-puppetry performance that is seductive yet subversive. The LIPS are highly expressive, they change colour at nighttime and are best performed after sunset as a musical finale show stopper for festivals or events.
Puppets with Guts is a daring big puppet theatre company. Puppets with Guts are devisers of dazzling big puppet theatre experiences that inspire and delight. We animate and inhabit outdoor and unusual spaces through spectacular creative adventures that surprise and captivate our audiences. We create spectacular shows for outdoor events and festivals and provide professional services in puppetry, creative consultation and design and making for theatre, corporate events, film and television.
TOYBOX – KAMARI ROMEO
A 22-minute visual spoken word album with music & puppetry, looking at experiences of British childhood. Produced and created by Kamari Romeo. Written and performed by Kamari Romeo, Sirena Reynolds, Tobi, Tiahnna, Maya TOYBOX is about taking experiences, playing with them and putting them back together with a better understanding.
This project, made in April 2018 over a period of 9 months endeavours to bring honest conversations into sharp focus via a series of short, filmed poems, performed to original music in collaboration with 5 care leavers aged between 20-27. These original workshighlight how childhood experiences and traumas may affect us, shaping the people we become.
PATSY MAY – LAURA BACON
Patsy May is a talented singer and all round diva who reached the semi finals of Britain’s Got Talent. Before her audition she was seen flirting with other male contestants claiming she was almost chosen to play Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. She’s sassy, funny and brings a whole load of attitude into all her endeavours.
Patsy May is performed by Laura Bacon a gifted singer, writer, and puppeteer.
Previously described as the Banksy of puppetry, Laura performs several other characters of her own creation both on screen and in live shows. In addition to writing her own characters she has previously worked on the 2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Truffles, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
MADEMOISELLE LYCHEE – AYA NAKAMURA
Probably the smallest burlesque dancer in the world. Watch as she embarks with the audience into a sensual and glamorous world of corset, feather, velvet and satin silk leaving you either horrified or laughing at the end of your unforgettable experience.
Aya is a Japanese theatre-maker, puppeteer, and puppet maker who is based in London. She has created many shows for the Rouge28 Theatre, who’s primary interest lies in puppetry for adult audiences.
Julian’s career began at the age of thirteen as a founder member of the Central Junior Television Workshop, which led to a number of acting roles in children’s television series such as Murphy’s Mob, Dramarama, Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It and Palace Hill. He trained at RADA before becoming a director on the children’s factual programme Wise Up for Channel 4. He directed three series, winning 2 BAFTAS, 2 International Emmys, an RTS, and a Peabody award.
Julian is a seasoned pro at directing TV puppetry having directed The Fimbles, The Roly Mo Show, Roger and The Rotten Trolls, Diddy TV, The Diddy Movies, and the BBC/Sesame Workshop Production of The Furchester Hotel.
Julian will be talking to us about the trials and tribulations of Directing puppetry for TV and film he has encountered across of the course of his career.