PuppetCraft theatre is one of the UK’s most acclaimed touring puppet troupes, and they’ve got more experience and accolades than you can shake a beautifully carved wooden fist at.
The group is about to launch its Circle of Tales show at Dartington, a re-telling of a mythical African story.
The group’s artistic director John Roberts fell into love with puppetry at an early age, and although he originally trained to be an architect, it was his obsession with the possibilities of puppetry that drove him.
He has trained and performed all over the world, and this passion is transferred through workshops from schools and colleges in puppetry and woodcarving. For the Circle of Tales, the group has worked with young people in the South Devon area.
For inspiration for Circle of Tales John returned to Africa, where he was born. The piece centres around a woman called Mazanendaba who sets out through mountains and forests to search for stories, until she is told by a wise elephant where she can find a wondrous tale to tell.
Gina Mhlope, one of Africa’s most popular storytellers, was commissioned to write the script for Circle of Tales. She is blending a Cameroonian creation myth with a southern African legend about stories.
The tale is told with African and English words and song, wood and wire puppets. Chartwell Dutiro, a Zimbabwean Mbira player and fellow Dartington Space resident, has devised the music for the show.
Circle of Tales will take place on the October 1 in the Barn Theatre, for more information or to book tickets visit www.dartington.org/arts.
For more on the background PuppetCraft theatre check out Animation Online