The DARKER side of Puppetry 

Explore the fragile bond between puppet and performer. Discover personas that inhabit the alternative worlds of effigy, alter ego, memory, spirits and even imaginary friends. Develop these metaphoric and sometimes psychological narratives by exploring the handling and maltreatment of a puppet and witness the effects on the relationship with the performer.

‘Beautiful, tender and often deeply disturbing’

As a starting point we will work with some fairly traditional puppetry techniques improvising with mid to life sized puppets. Then by twisting these rules we will begin to look at how we can evoke empathy and emotion by the way we treat these puppets. 
Can we feel anything for these characters? 
Do they have an equal status on stage? 
And how do THEY feel when they are squeezed, dropped, ignored or even mistreated? 

By exploring different approaches to carrying, separation and abandonment we will watch as the bond between the puppet and the performer begins to decay and is finally broken. This invites the audience to question who controls who in this strangely symbiotic relationship.

This laboratory will be a safe and fun space for experimentation and an opportunity to really dive deep into these alternative performance methods. Participants can then go on to apply these ideas in their own performance practice.

Duration: 1 to 5 days
Capacity: maximum 12 people
Suitable for any curious theatre practitioner, actor, dancer, clown, puppeteer. Puppetry experience is not necessary.

Special thanks to Anne-Kathrin Klatt for research and development.

Title photo credit: Magnetic North


Ninon Noiret exploring the DARKER side of Puppetry for her show The Raft of the Crab. Glasgow 2021 


Max has been kicked, shoved, stripped and dropped... 


Royal Conservatoire Scotland -  dance/movement improvisation


NASTY puppetry workshop - UQàM Montreal 2020 


Bochum figurentheater Germany - dance/movement improvisation

Quotes from previous workshop participants:

"As a complete beginner in 'proper' puppetry, the workshop has been extremely valuable."

"Gavin's experience and insights have been fab and I feel I've come miles in an area that previously felt out of reach.
My confidence has really grown"

"Gavin's teaching style was relaxed and playful but backed up by a wealth of experience"

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