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Leave the kids at home

Friday, 06 May 2016

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A collage of edgy adult puppetry works inspired by the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, is the basis of an exciting performance collaboration between WAAPA and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

WAAPA’s 3rd Year students from the Bachelor of Performing Arts program are working with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s award-winning Artistic Director, Philip Mitchell, to create a theatre show that explores the power and potential of puppetry, object manipulation and visual theatre in performance.

I See Red, devised and performed by WAAPA’s 3rd Year BPA students with direction by Philip Mitchell, will be performed on May 19 and 20 at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Fremantle.

“What happens when you put 16 talented artists in a room to explore the symbolism, meaning and metaphors of a timeless tale?” asks Mitchell. “Some very intriguing, funny, and slightly disturbing puppet theatre.”

“I See Red will be Little Red Riding Hood as you have never imagined. Leave the kids at home for this one.”

This is the second year that WAAPA’s 3rd Year BPA 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.

Last year, WAAPA student Barnaby Pollock impressed the Spare Parts team so much with his puppetry skills that he was signed to work with the company this year. Now a graduate, he is currently undertaking a 13-week contract touring Spare Parts’ acclaimed work Hachiko throughout regional WA.

Pollock’s fellow graduates, Zoe Hollyoak and Rachael Woodward, have recently been awarded two of the four places offered in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s 2016 FirstHand emergent puppetry artist training program. Hollyoak and Woodward will each be mentored by Spare Parts’ artistic leaders, receive a $3,000 seed fund to develop a puppetry project, and have a fee-free position in the company’s two-week intensive skills training program.

With the profile and popularity of puppetry in Western Australia being fuelled by the PIAF Helpmann Award-winning outdoor event The Giants in 2015, the FirstHand program continues to be highly sought-after, with more than 20 applications received from local and interstate artists wishing to develop their skills with Australia’s flagship puppetry company.

“There is so much exciting work going on in puppetry at the moment internationally and in contemporary performance that integrates puppets and objects in interesting ways,” says Dr Frances Barbe, WAAPA Course Coordinator of the BPA program. “Our students need an understanding of those developments and they are very lucky to have Spare Parts Puppet Theatre on their doorstep. The Puppetry unit for the BPA program is taught in the Spare Parts venue and by Spare Parts creatives, so it’s an exciting collaboration.”

Philip Mitchell agrees that this is an important relationship. “We see puppetry as an essential part of any performer’s tool belt and our partnership with WAAPA is ensuring that there are pathways for emerging performers to use puppetry in their practice in an informed and considered way. This is the beginning of something exciting and significant in contemporary theatre making in Australia.”

“This partnership is unique in Australia and positions both WAAPA and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre as leaders in training for puppetry,” he says. “Our hope is that these artists will pave the way for a much more visual language in performance making in Australia.”

Perth audiences are invited to see the theatrically stunning results of this dynamic collaboration in I See Red, performed in May at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

Mitchell is enthusiastic about the depth of creativity that has gone into the show. “It never ceases to amaze me the many ways a traditional tale like Little Red Riding Hood can be reimagined.”

Suitable for ages 15+.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the I See Red performance web page.

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