One of the most exciting projects that I knew was coming up in 2019 was my official involvement with ‘Moving Parts’, the Newcastle Puppetry Festival.
Ben and I went to a few shows at the 2017 festival, and we were so completely overawed by it that we were half-intending to run away from life and start our own puppetry duo. Since then the festival’s won awards and Arts Council support, so when I found out that I would be the Writer in Residence for the 2019 festival I couldn’t have been more thrilled!
I’ve been fascinated by puppetry for many years, and have a few marionettes (the last two being purchased on a mountaintop in Nepal and one from a little hidden shop in Prague.
I was trying to think of a way to describe why I get so much from this performance art – but it’s really difficult to put into words. There’s something about the physicality of it, and a feeling of complete awe at how much the artists are able to express through something inanimate (I’m particularly interested in ‘Janet‘, in which the protagonist is played by a lump of dough).
But it’s also what CAN’T be expressed. Whether it’s performance art, poetry, or prose, I get so much from the delicious gaps. What isn’t said, what isn’t shown, what isn’t explicit. This is where I start thinking for myself, solving a story like a golden riddle.
So far for the festival, I’ve been writing stop motion animation scripts, some new poetry, and giving advice and help to their press materials.
It’s been just MAGICAL to see one of my stop motion scripts being transformed into an eerie animation, which you can view over at the Moving Parts Facebook page. The film will be shown at the festival’s film night.
One of the huge perks of the festival is that I’m going to all the shows (that’s right – ALL THE SHOWS) to review them. I can’t wait – though it’s going to be an exhausting week, as I’m also working at the university every day. I expect I’ll be dreaming about puppets all week!
Some of the shows are completely sold out now, but there are tickets still left for some for a limited time. If you’re up in Newcastle between 6th and 14th April come along!
It’d be great to see you there!
(All photos courtesy of the Moving Parts website)