Posts Tagged ‘dead puppet society

06
Mar
19

Dead Puppet Society Academy

Train and Perform with the Olivier Award Nominated Brisbane Company:

Dead Puppet Society

 

 

Home from sell-out seasons overseas of The Wider Earth, and nominated for an Olivier Award (Best Entertainment and Family) for that outstanding production, in their 10th anniversary year, Dead Puppet Society is once again opening the doors to their training Academy. Emerging to mid-career artists and tertiary students are invited to apply.

The ensemble will meet weekly, and under the guidance of our senior artists take part in training, learn the fundamentals of puppet construction, and work towards the creation of an original public performance at Brisbane Powerhouse.

The program offers artists the opportunity to connect, collaborate and forge new working relationships while actively learning, listening and finding the space to let imaginations run wild.

 

THE ACADEMY OFFERS TO PARTICIPANTS:

 

  • Introductory workshops

  • Concept and creative development

  • Design and construction techniques

  • Rehearsal period and tech week

  • Public performances

  • Individual mentoring

  • Guest artist talks

  • Insight into the design process for Storm Boy

 

THE DATES:

Weekly Training:

Tuesday nights from 2 April to 4 June, 4-7pm at Brisbane Powerhouse.

 

Intensive Rehearsal Week:

Monday 10 June to Friday 14 June, 10am-6pm daily at Brisbane Powerhouse.

 

Performances:

Saturday 15 June at Brisbane Powerhouse.

 

COST:

$550 + GST

 

APPLY:

Applications are now open until 22 March 2019. Please email a copy of your CV and why you’d like to be involved.

 

 

 

01
Feb
18

Flowstate

 

Flowstate – What’s Flowstate?

No, it’s not the latest facial scan digital technology used to capture actors’ features for use in films requiring the actor’s face to appear on the bodies of her doubles to achieve the illusion of a perfect triple axel performed by the actor herself…

 

 

Flowstate is a 3000sqm interim-use, creative pop-up repurposing the Arbour View Café precinct in the heart of the South Bank Parklands, designed by specialist Australian architecture and performance design firm Stukel Stone.

 

Flowstate comprises three distinct zones: a grassy relaxation zone, immersive digital art installation JEM by award-winning design studio ENESS and an open-air performance pavilion. Launched on January 29, Flowstate boasts a year-long showcase program of free artistic experiences spanning circus, dance, theatre, music and visual installation. Queensland artists and performers will deliver 20+ free artistic experiences against a panoramic tree-lined skyline, inspiring audiences to contemplate a range of ideas underpinned by a focus on city form.

 

The year-long showcase program is South Bank Corporation’s contribution to the cultural activities happening during the year of the Commonwealth Games. Precinct partners include Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Griffith University, as well as broader partners including UPLIT, Festival 2018, CIRCA and Metro Arts.

 

Participating artists and companies include CIRCA, Dead Puppet Society, Little Match Productions, Elbow Room, The Good Room, Liesel Zink, and Polytoxic. Resident local DJs bring their energy to the precinct every Friday evening. Find them on the Flowstate Green 5.30pm – 7pm.

 

“South Bank Corporation is delighted to unveil Flowstate, and to launch a year-long multi-arts program of free creative experiences marking our contribution to the cultural activities happening across the state during the year of the Commonwealth Games,” South Bank Corporation Chair Dr Catherin Bull AM said. “As a place where ideas about what the city can and will be are explored, Flowstate aims to encourage a vibrant culture of exploration and exchange across the South Bank precinct.”

 

 

The addition of the 3000sqm interim-use site offers South Bank’s 11million+ annual visitors another engaging experience to enjoy in the precinct, famous for its awe-inspiring riverside parklands, Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach, award-winning restaurants and bars and world-class accommodation options. Set against the Parklands’ stunning subtropical backdrop, Flowstate invites both locals and visitors to collaborate with some of Queensland’s most compelling artists, witness new performance work in development, engage in workshops, participate in a robust program of public conversations and engage with a groundbreaking digital installation.

 

Free event highlights include Aura by Queensland’s world-leading performance company CIRCA (06–25 March); Dead Puppet Society’s roving installation Megafauna (04–08 April); Little Match Productions’ all-ages contemporary opera The Owl and the Pussycat (11–15 April); moonlit musical trek Song to the Earth by Corrina Bonshek (16–19 May); and These Frozen Moments by the inimitable The Good Room (21 November–02 December). Complementing Flowstate’s Pavilion performances is an inspiring speaker and workshop series, with special guests throughout the year including Magda Szubanski, Luke Ryan and Margi Brown Ash, plus a weekly resident DJ set every Friday evening on the Flowstate Green.

 

Professional Queensland-based artists are also invited to apply for one of two additional supported residencies, for public work-in-progress showings at Flowstate in December 2018. Submit an online application here

 

“Via Flowstate, we hope to stimulate ideas, questions and maybe even some more answers about what contemporary cities can and should be,” Dr Bull said. South Bank Corporation CEO Bill Delves said Flowstate capsured the ever-changing nature of the South Bank precinct, continuing its 25-year legacy as a “people’s place”. “With the team’s delivery of Flowstate, we continue to sculpt Brisbane’s beloved playground into a magnificent world-leading precinct where local, interstate and international visitors eat, work and play,” Mr Delves said.

 

Find out more about Flowstate here

25
Sep
17

Laser Beak Man

Laser Beak Man

Brisbane Festival, La Boite Theatre Company & Dead Puppet Society

In Association With PowerArts

The Roundhouse

September 9 – 30 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

Laser Beak Man is a triumph on so many levels.

 

The mute titular superhero is the creation of Tim Sharp, diagnosed with autism at age three (now twenty-nine). His mum, Judy Sharp (Associate Producer), refused to believe advice from the experts – that her son would never speak or emote – igniting instead of ignoring, his passion for drawing. Sharp’s colourful world eventually became an 8-episode animated television series and now, thanks to David Morton and Nicholas Paine, the brains behind the award winning Dead Puppet Society, in close collaboration with NYC’s New Victory Theater, a 90-minute vivid and heartwarming stage show.

 

 

Known for their acclaimed productions incorporating beautifully realised puppets (The Wider Earth, Argus and The Harbinger), Morton and Paine collaborated with Sharp and Sam Cromack of Brisbane indie band Ball Park Music (Daniel Hanson, Dean Hanson and Luke Moseley). Sharp’s hilarious visual puns paired with Cromack’s original compositions, slightly reminiscent of the Beatles, create the technicolour world of Laser Beak Man, complete with the first free-flying Air-Orbs in the history of Australian theatre. One seems evil, like a Big Brother eye, and the other a friendlier vessel, for escaping and venturing off into the world. For Brisbane Festival and La Boite to premiere this family friendly, wholly entertaining and life affirming production is a coup.

 

 

The show is deceptively small and dark to start, contained within a black box built high on stage in the traditional orientation, without a hint of colour or drama or finesse. But suddenly, as the plot demands, the black is whisked away and like waking up in Oz, or stepping into Willy Wonka’s chocolate room, we’re treated to the digital visual spectacle of Laser Beak Man’s Power City (Design Jonathan Oxlade & Projection Design Justin Harrison with Sound by Tony Brumpton and Lighting by Jason Glenwright).

Power City was once the most beautiful city in the world – clean, pure, perfect – and local hero Laser Beak Man worked hard to keep it that way.

Drawing energy from the underground Magna Crystals that powered the city, his beak-shot lasers turned bad things to good. But now the city isn’t what it used to be and Laser Beak Man is thoroughly over it. That is until his estranged childhood friends Peter Batman and Evil Emily return and steal the Magna Crystals. Robbed of his super powers, Laser Beak Man has one last chance to reinvent Power City and save his oldest buddies before they destroy everything.

 

 

So the premise is a simple superhero story – Laser Beak Man and his friends must work together to overcome evil and save the world! – but the visual splendour and the cheeky characters inhabiting this place (and the talented artists who bring them to life on stage) are simply extraordinary. The cast comprises Nathaniel P. Claridad, Jeremy Neideck, Lauren Jackson, Jon Riddleberger, Betsy Rosen, Helen Stephens and Maren Searle, with a special guest appearance from Leigh Sales, her pre-recorded voice and her animated likeness anyway, as the Reporter. There’s not a weak link among them, and in a superior display of collective skill and connection, there are often up to three or four ensemble members manipulating a single puppet.

 

 

The script bubbles over with lovely silly comedy and some of our favourite puns include a series of terribly funny tomato puns, including the slightly vain hope after several minutes of them, that the projection designer doesn’t run out of tomato puns! Poppy forgets to continue reading the captions sliding by beneath the action and when I tell her later she laughs. She says, IT’S A KIDS’ SHOW BUT IT’S FOR ADULTS! There’s really something for everyone: while its innocence is refreshing, and totally fine for the kids (recommended for 8+), there are plenty of political references for the millennials and parentals.

 

Laser Beak Man, a Brisbane Festival highlight, is a delight for all the family, full of joy and optimism, and very obviously originating from the simple goodness of genuine hearts able and willing to turn their creative talents / superpowers into making the world a better place through good old fashioned high-tech theatrical storytelling.

27
Jul
16

The Wider Earth

 

The Wider Earth

QTC & Dead Puppet Society

Bille Brown Studio

July 9 – August 7 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

widerearth_ensemble

The discoveries Darwin made while onboard the Beagle rewrote our understanding of the world.

David Morton

An epic journey, a quest of the soul; a question of creator or creation by nature… Darwin threw his theory of evolution into the mix of Christian faith and fear, and unveiled in 1859 in his book, On the Origin of Species, Darwin’s thinking changed the way we view and understand the world and its inhabitants.

The Wider Earth is a complete and thoroughly complex experience, drawing us into the detail, and the wonder and excitement of Darwin’s discoveries. We journey across the seas with twenty-two year old Darwin as he sets out to observe a whole new world and record his findings, only to leave his detailed notes behind him, in Tasmania, struck by crippling self-doubt, ready to abandon five years of work and his newly formed beliefs about the natural order of things, based on what he’d observed and knew to be true, despite the indoctrination of society at the time by the church. 

Last night I finally realised how I’d been feeling about QTC & Dead Puppet Society’s vivid imagining of The Wider Earth… wonderment. The curiosity and wonder of a child – before she is trained by the adults of her intriguing, impatient world to hurry up, and keep up and stop messing about in the garden – fascinated all over again by story and science presented in this unique way, and completely blown away by the design elements and the manipulation of the puppets, integral in this impressive world premiere.

In fact, this is the first production in a long time in which I’ve felt the entire audience completely immersed in the story from start to finish. A much younger audience than opening night enjoyed, the first Monday evening performance saw a couple of secondary school groups in the mix. And Poppy. This always changes the experience and I know some adults prefer not to hear the self-conscious laughter and the comments that teens whisper during a production but I love to see young people – all people – connecting and engaging with the arts. I love witnessing the moments of enlightenment, when the kids realise how all the elements combine in that mystical, magical, alchemical way of theatre and suddenly, they get it. In this case, an intriguing rom-com lens was cast over the show; I enjoyed hearing the giggles and squeals of delight from the girls, and the hearty applause before the final moments, testament to the entertainment value of this production, as well as its quality and substance (a trifecta rarely seen, if we’re honest). The Wider Earth is living, breathing theatre of the most intoxicating kind. We feel that it’s evolving even as we experience it. It’s the most exciting culmination of brilliant minds and skills, and real support networks in Brisbane in a long time. If only this was the result of every creative process: this feeling of immense pride, and true ownership and sheer joy, shared.

widerearth_tomconroy_laurenjackson

We enter the Bille Brown Studio after catching up in the foyer with everybody else who’d missed The Wider Earth opening night (having committed to the opening night of We Will Rock You – n.b. the early invites, folks!), passing a timber ship-pretending-to-be-a-rock structure that reminds me of the outback texture, colour and shape of the central feature of The Rabbits. It’s necessarily more versatile, serving as an imposing mountain, a gentle slope, a row boat, a number of landscapes, interiors, stormy waves and the deck of the HMS Beagle. It revolves. It’s brilliant. There are few full revolves used to their full potential and this is one design (David Morton & Aaron Barton) that doesn’t disappoint. Above it is a panoramic screen, lashed and hung with ship’s rope. The images cast across it begin as if we’re inside the pages of Beatrix Potter’s journal and become the entire universe. More on this aspect later; Justin Harrison has outdone himself here, muscling in on a space previously occupied by the talented boys from optikal bloc and Markell Presents.

widerearth_tomconroy_susansnaps

Tom Conroy, whom we remember from MTC/La Boite’s Cock, fearlessly embraces the complexities of young Darwin; his vulnerability and fears, his sense of wonder and obsessive attention to detail, his self-loathing, and his ambition and determination to develop his ground-breaking, game-changing theory. This is fine casting and a stand-out performance from Conroy.

On board the Beagle with Darwin is the conflicted Captain Robert Fitzroy (Anthony Standish, in his most impressive role to date, balancing light and dark and various shades of grey to create a commanding presence without losing lightness and genuine human connections towards the end), Father Richard Matthews (David Lynch), John Wickham (Thomas Larkin) and Jemmy Button (Jonty Martin). They are joined by Lauren Jackson as Darwin’s fierce and ambitious, very patient sweetheart (and his eventual wife), Emma Wedgwood, and Margi Brown Ash as both Reverend John Henslow & John Herschel. We hear from the outset the rich tones of Robert Coleby as the voice of old Darwin, landing us in the present with minds open to the stories of the past, and we see the extraordinary prowess and emotional investment of Anna Straker, Puppet Captain and notably, adorably, Polly the beagle. It’s a stellar ensemble, worthy of a new award category nom…

widerearth_iguana

We’re transported across vast seas and exotic lands by a timeless original cinematic score by ARIA Award Winner (and Woodford Folk Festival’s Mystery Bus superstar), Lior and producer/songwriter Tony Buchen, with a sweeping sound design by Tony Brumpton and superb ambient lighting by David Walters. The combination of elements elevates this production not only to national tour but to world tour status, if only someone would invest in this piece of theatre at the same level as men’s sport in this country. (That would also equate to a film option for international distribution, just saying). Justin Harrison’s projection art (with sketches from the original photo-composites by Straker) is an astounding success, taking us from Great Britain to the ends of the earth and back again, and into the mind of Charles Darwin.

widerearth_darwin

I’d love to see inside David Morton’s mind (Writer, Director, Co-Designer and Puppet Designer). I think The Wider Earth is a glimpse at how it works, but no more than The Harbinger or Argus was…there’s obviously so much more to come. It’s quite extraordinary, really. It’s another extraordinary production. It will impress aficionados of old and new theatrical forms and also appeal to those who have never seen anything outside of the cinema or their own living room. The Wider Earth, in one form or another, is destined for a much wider audience. (This season was close to selling out before it opened). 

It’s not the sort of theatre we see often. We often see theatre that is touted, celebrated and promoted as something like this. But it’s nothing like it. This is an epic tale made so intimate that we feel every atom is a part of the storytelling. And why are we even surprised by its stunning success on stage?! Dead Puppet Society have raised the bar – have been raising the bar – in visual theatre since 2009; it’s largely due to the support of our two major theatre companies that we’ve seen the work come this far this quickly, however; the simple fact is that Morton and Dead Puppet Society Creative Producer, Nicholas Paine, see the world differently, and they see the business of putting on a show differently, and they’re able to present their ideas in a complex and highly technical, yet incredibly childlike way, unfolding immense notions and universal truths and heavy moral dilemmas before our eyes, capturing our hearts before we’ve realised we’ve changed and in reflection, remembered how vulnerable we are. This is the little company that could, and does, despite so many major challenges facing artists and producers in this country, which stop others in their tracks.

Meanwhile, only the strongest survive, and Dead Puppet Society continue to prove they are intrepid explorers of the world, forging their own path, reimagining the landscape, terraforming the theatre industry. 

widerearth_birds

The Wider Earth is breathtakingly beautiful, an emotional, visceral theatrical experience. For artists within, and for audiences on the outside of a dynamic and diverse industry that is continuously changing and growing and stalling and starting again, and never quite stepping out of its own way, The Wider Earth is a truly inspiring theatrical event, serving as a gently powerful reminder that we really do exist only to evolve as much as we can before we expire, as artists, and as human beings who share this planet.

You will see nothing more magical this year. The Wider Earth – its vast and intimate beauty – will stay with you long after the lights go down.

 

Production pics by Dylan Evans. Portrait of Tom Conroy by Susan Hetherington. Compilation of projection art by Justin Harrison.

 

thewiderearth_video_underscore

13
May
15

Argus

 

Argus

QTC & Dead Puppet Society

Bille Brown Studio

May 5 – 17 2015

 

 Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Poppy and I fell in love with little Argus in 2013 at Brisbane Powerhouse, where the show was the humble highlight of their PowerKids festival. You can read our original review, which reveals a little more of the story, here.

 

Dead Puppet Society created magic with this beautiful production, and we’re so glad it’s back! But only until this weekend so be quick! Book it! And then come back here to find out why you can’t miss this special storytelling event…

 

arugsEVENTIMAGE

 

You know the feeling that flutters up from somewhere, tickles your heart and the tip of your nose, and bursts into a million bright yellow butterflies when you come across an old favourite toy or a ribbon bound bunch of love letters in the bottom of the box of special things stashed under your bed? THAT’S ARGUS.

 

It’s a gorgeous show, full of every emotion and offering the perfect solutions to global problems of displacement and loss. LOVE. AND LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER. WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT?

 

 

“If we’re together it doesn’t matter where we are. Even the dump can be made beautiful. We can have a party at the dump.” Poppy Eponine

 

 

It’s an ancient story made new by the simple retelling of it. A little guy – Argus – loses his friends and travels the world to locate them. Through his bright eyes we see how big and frightening and wonderful and awesome our world is. There are physical, emotional and ethical challenges – and big, loud, egotistical evil dudes wielding red spades – but there is joy in something as simple as a tiny flower and in the acts of sharing, and giving and receiving simple gifts.

 

argus_cast

 

Nathan Booth, Laura Hague, Matthew Seery and Anna Straker make an impressive ensemble, bringing to life every character with a deceptively simple arrangement of hands, voices and recycled kitchen things. It’s extraordinary to look away from the illusion, magically lit by Jason Glenwright, to watch four expressive faces, another entire performance happening above the performance space. Director and Designer, David Morton hasn’t attempted to hide the puppeteers, nor the musicians (Brisbane’s Topology: Robert Davidson, Therese Milanovic, Christa Powell and Composer, John Babbage). Babbage’s score encapsulates dreams and fears, and known and unknown places and people.

 

 

Argus is a little show with a big heart, fondly known as “the little show that could”. Argus is a gift that keeps on giving to audiences of all ages, moving us beyond words and worlds.

 

 

argus_set

01
Sep
14

Into the Woods

 

Into the Woods

Queensland Conservatorium

Griffith University

August 22 – 30 2014

Conservatorium Theatre

 

Reviewed by Jackson Kellaway

 

intothewoods_company

 

On Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of seeing the talent that the Queensland Conservatorium is pumping out. Their graduating students presented Soundheim and Lapine’s Into The Woods and it was a magical masterpiece.

 

The students had the opportunity to have Kate Wilson direct this production. Her extensive career as a director and academic was obviously very beneficial for the graduates. This shared knowledge is something the students will forever remember and be able to apply in their very bright futures.

 

The performance level of these students is nothing less than what you would expect from Queensland’s premier musical theatre training institution. The talent shone through the smoke effect on stage as the company took us into an imaginative world based on our favourite fairy-tales. The cast had fantastic concentration and focus throughout the performance and the comic timing was perfect. Rehearsing since May this year, the production team pulled together a clean-cut musical for anyone who is a fan of the Grimm stories.

 

The Dead Puppet Society oversaw the design elements of this production; an amazing learning opportunity for these students. It was visible from the mixture of old and new school techniques used in the production that the students had embraced the puppetry elements that were taught.

 

Anyone who knows the musical will agree that the music and lyrics are quite intense and wordy. In some songs the words are being sung so fast you can barely keep up and in others the timing must be so precise between the singers. With this in mind it is no wonder the production team included Soundheim expert Stuart Pedler who shared his knowledge on the talented lyricist.

 

intothewoods_cinderella

 

After a bit of confusion as to whether our happily ever after had been cut short or not, we realised it was just interval. Unfortunately a few people weren’t aware of this and didn’t make it back for Act 2. With the vacant seats throughout the audience the lights dimmed and the show went on.

 

intothewoods_princes

 

I almost turned as red as Jack’s hair when I suddenly heard the familiar Nokia ringtone emitting nearby. After what felt like hours the audience member finally turned it off. Then another audience member decided that the orchestra could be improved by her opening what sounded like every bag of chips from a 20-pack variety box. I was secretly wishing the witch would fly off the stage and turn them into an ugly stepsister or even Milky-white, Jack’s beloved cow.

 

All in all my first Queensland Conservatorium experience was incredible! The connection between the cast members and the powerful vocal work presented could not be described as anything but phenomenal. They have definitely gained a fan.

 

Putting the spotlight firmly on the graduating class of 2014, this is pure talent – exposed!

Through blood, sweat, tears and a considerable amount of laughter, this talented group of young performers have worked incredibly hard over the past three years to develop their skills as musical theatre performers. OUR TURN! showcases these students through a delicious taste of the world’s most entertaining and often moving repertoire in vignettes of song, dance and scene in a talent-packed one hour show. Let Queensland Conservatorium’s stars of tomorrow entertain you today!


OUR TURN!
at QPAC begins the showcase tour. Other cities include Sydney and Melbourne.

 

This is a wonderful opportunity to share in the enthusiasm and excitement that has surrounded the Musical Theatre program at the Queensland Conservatorium. Catch a glimpse of Australia’s next Musical Theatre stars!

 

Our_Turn_14_event

 

06
Dec
13

The Dead Puppet Society’s ARGUS – next stop Pittsburgh USA!

 

 

‘Four performers, four pairs of hands and one little creature; the littlest of big adventures’ is now a BIG adventure… a somewhat overwhelmingly GIGANTIC ADVENTURE.

 

argus_deadpuppetsociety_2013

 

“Delightful characters and a story to win hearts all over the world”

XS Entertainment

 

Formed in 2008, The Dead Puppet Society is an Australian theatre company creating puppet-based, visual theatre. Uniting an old world aesthetic with cutting edge technical elements the company conjure immersive worlds where the mythic sits alongside the macabre, and the old school meets the technological. They have presented work with the Brisbane Powerhouse (Argus 2013), La Boite Theatre Company (The Harbinger 2011 and 2012), Metro Arts (The Timely Death of Victor Blott 2010) and Adelaide Fringe (2009). They have recently landed in New York after working with Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa.

 

The story of ARGUS began in 2012 and had its very first life as part of Vena Cava Productions’ Season, with more than thirty student artists from QUT taking part in the initial creation.

 

Using nothing but hands and household objects to create miniature worlds on top of trestle tables, the style of performance was simple, magical, and full of potential.

 

Because of the level of imagination it evoked, DPS decided that the work would be perfect as a piece for young people and families, so assembled a killer team including Richard Tulloch (dramaturg), Sandra Gattenhof (creative consultant), John Babbage and Topology (composition) and artists from the Society. It had its professional premiere at Powerkids (Brisbane Powerhouse) earlier this year with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts (JUMP) and will have a showcase showing at Dixon Place in New York City on December 19 2013 thanks to the Jim Henson Foundation and Puppet BloK! curator Leslie Strongwater.

 

DPS always believed in the work, and last week the company was invited to present a Spotlight showing at the International Performing Arts for Youth conference (IPAY) in Pittsburgh, USA in January 2014. The chance to pitch ARGUS in front of a room jam packed with some of the most exciting presenters of work for young people from around the world is too good to miss. DPS want to share the story of Argus, and show off the quality of work being created by students and independent artists in Queensland. But they need your help to get it there!

 

There are 35 days to go!

 

Give $25 to receive an original ARGUS song by John Babbage (Topology)

 

Give $50 to receive an original ARGUS song by John Babbage & a design sketch of the show

 

Give $100 to secure your place in a workshop with Dead Puppet Society, an original ARGUS song by John Babbage and an original ARGUS badge

 

Give $500 to secure your place in a workshop with Dead Puppet Society, a custom made miniature puppet, credit as a contributor, an original ARGUS song by John Babbage and an original ARGUS badge