With the start of 2015 Dead Puppet Society enters its sixth year. In that time we’ve gone from what was quite literally a dining table operation into a professional production company working across two countries. The last twelve months has seen our work premiere in New York City, The Harbinger tour Australia, and our education program grow to reach more students than ever before. We also spent time with Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa. Over the year we have received incredible support from our partner organisations, all of the artists who we have worked with, and the schools who have welcomed us into their communities.
But now 2015 is upon us, and what a year we have lined up. Once again we have existing projects hitting the road, and are continuing to pitch our work at major performing arts markets across Australia and the United States. We are honoured to have been invited into residencies with both the Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane, and the New Victory Theater in New York City to work on the creation of two new projects. Both of these shows are works that we have had on our radar for some time, and now thanks to the generosity of these two organisations they are on their way to becoming a reality.
The growth and professional development that we have undergone has fortified our vision for the Society, and as such we have updated our education program to share the new ideas and working methods that we are using with students. We’ve also made the addition of a stock of teaching puppets to allow students to engage with the objects used by the Society and add value to their experience.
For Dead Puppet Society 2015 is about raising the bar, about working further afield, and strengthening our engagement back home.
We look forward to seeing you all throughout the year!
We are going on tour! The big fella - Albert, the little puppets, Critical Stages and the Dead Puppet Society are taking the bookshop and heading around Australia. This wonderful achievement has been brought about by the fearless leaders of the company. What started out as a small, independent production at La Boite Indie in 2011 has gone on to be the ‘little show that could’. People love puppets - especially the Dead Puppets!
We had 13 days to re-rehearse the show in Brisbane, which is not a lot of time, given that we also had one new cast member - Emily Burton, who had to train up with the technique of bringing the puppets to life. She leapt at the challenge with gusto and soon had the ‘puppeteer muscle arm’, a badge of honour. It is a wonderful company of people and I am overjoyed to be back with them all. We laugh - a lot!
Our first stop was Darwin at Brown’s Mart Theatre. It is a truly divine space, in a heritage listed building that seats 100. We opened there, after a very full day of plotting the technical elements (lighting and sound) for the show. We arrived back at the hotel at 11 pm and crashed into bed.
Our opening day consisted of three performances - 11.00am, 5.30pm and 8.15pm. There is nothing like opening with a bang- and we did it! It is an extraordinary experience, as a performer, to ‘feel’ the audience with you. No shuffling, no yawning (if they did, they did it quietly. Believe me - some people make it very clear when they yawn during a show!) and a collective ‘held breath’ throughout the show. There were involuntary cries of emotion throughout the performance, and a powerful and ecstatic release from the audience at each curtain call. Joyous. Next stop Byron Bay…
- Barb Lowing (Albert) 2014
Australia’s preeminent independent puppet and visual theatre company, Dead Puppet Society, has announced an exclusive residency at The New Victory Theater, New York’s premier off-Broadway theatre dedicated to children and families.
Led by Artistic Director David Morton and Managing Producer Nicholas Paine, Dead Puppet Society is one of ten participating projects in this season’s New Victory LabWorks Artist Residency Program.
The New Victory Theater is a much-loved presenter of works for family audiences by many of the world’s leading contemporary theatre makers, including Pulitzer prize winner Tony Kushner (Brundibar, New Vic 2006), Tectonic Theater Project founder Moisés Kaufman (El Gato Con Botas/Puss in Boots, New Vic 2012), and Tony Award winner Julie Taymor (The Green Bird, New Vic 1996), along with shows produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Royal Opera House and Kneehigh Theatre.
The Queensland-born company will use the yearlong residency to create a stage adaptation of Laser Beak Man, based on the drawings of internationally renowned Australian visual artist and Autism awareness ambassador Tim Sharp.
Sharp’s public sharing of his personal experience growing up with Autism through his compelling art has earned him great recognition internationally, including multiple awards and two nominations for the prestigious Young Australian of the Year award.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Tim Sharp to bring Laser Beak Man to life on stage, and to be the first Australian company to be selected for the New Victory LabWorks Artist Residency Program,” Dead Puppet Society’s Artistic Director David Morton said.
“As fellow Queensland artists, we have long been admirers of Tim’s work, which is so full of heart, humour and whimsy. To be given this special opportunity to play in Tim’s rich world is a real gift, and we’re looking forward to working closely with him to share his important and inspirational story on the international stage.”
26-year-old Sharp says this live stage adaptation of his most famous creation is ‘a dream come true’.
“I am so excited to watch Dead Puppet Society make Laser Beak Man come alive and to be making big dreams come true,” Sharp said. “New York is going to love Laser Beak Man. They will laugh their heads off and they will love all the colours of my art. They have never seen anything like this before.”
Splitting their time between Australia and New York, Dead Puppet Society creates puppet-based visual theatre that unites an old world aesthetic with cutting-edge technical elements.
Recently in residence at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York as part of the venue’s Puppet Lab program (The Wider Earth), the company is renowned for their fantastical theatre works, including Argus (Brisbane Powerhouse), The Harbinger (La Boite Theatre Company), The Timely Death of Victor Blott and little grey wolf (Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe).
The residency announcement tops off an incredible year for Dead Puppet Society, who returned to Australia this month to launch the national tour of the company’s critically acclaimed box office sensation The Harbinger, co-presented with Critical Stages.
The LabWorks Artist Residency Program runs July 2014 to June 2015 and culminates in a public work-in-progress showing of Laser Beak Man with The New Victory Theater.
Laser Beak Man is produced by Dead Puppet Society in association with Tim Sharp, in partnership with The New Victory Theater, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and Arts Centre Melbourne.
This project is supported by Creative Sparks, a joint initiative of Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
p. 0421 233 609