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Leave the kids at home: Sleeping Beauty reimagined as edgy, adult theatre

Monday, 15 May 2017

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A series of wildly creative and beautifully realised puppetry works inspired by the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, is the basis of this exciting performance collaboration between WAAPA and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre on Thursday, 25 and Friday, 26 May at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Fremantle.

WAAPA’s 3rd Year students from the Bachelor of Performing Arts program have been working with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s Associate Director, Michael Barlow, all semester, to create a theatre show that explores the power and potential of puppetry, object manipulation and visual theatre in performance. This magical show of edgy adult puppetry poses questions about suppressed sensuality, vengeance for social exclusion and the occasional murderous instinct! A night of strange figures, objects and dreams – go to Sleep.

Barlow and the students have been enjoying the experience of collaborating on their interpretation of this classic children’s story. “Fairy tales are like dreams, full of improbable events and grotesque characters, which allows each pair of artists to take inspiration in wildly different ways. Audiences can expect an evening of humour, fantasy and darkness - really anything except the cartoon version!”

WAAPA is best known for its more traditional performing arts training in the areas of acting, musical theatre, classical music and jazz. Puppetry is a recent addition to the disciplines now on offer and this in itself forces the students to think even more outside the box according to Barlow, “Puppetry is very satisfying to create; flexible, imaginative and limitless. The wonderful thing about a live puppetry performance is that the performers, the audience, and the puppets/objects all go into a shared state of creativity as the show takes shape on stage and in our minds.”

“Puppetry training offers many valuable skills for theatre makers, whether or not they go on to become puppeteers. It's a great foundation for making image-based, kinetic work and we look forward to what these artists do with the art form next.”

This is the third year that WAAPA’s graduating BaPA students have been offered the opportunity to study puppetry through an ongoing partnership with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, and already the rewards for WAAPA and Spare Parts can be seen. In 2015, BaPA graduate, Barnaby Pollock impressed the Spare Parts team so much with his puppetry skills that he was signed to work with the company on their acclaimed touring production of Hachiko. This year another graduate of the course, Daniel Dosek, has been named as one of three participants in Spare Part’s FirstHand emergent puppetry artist program.

This show was developed as part of Spare Parts’ Tertiary Partnerships program.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Sleep performance web page.

Content warning: Adult themes and coarse language. The performance is not suitable for children and has a 15+ age recommendation.

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