Snuff Puppet Shows

Everybody on Film by Paulo Barbuto

Snuff Puppets’ gigantic show Everybody had its international premiere last month as part of Australia Now and Virada Cultural in São Paulo.

Our ten artists: Katrina Chandra, Daniell Flood, Andy Freer, Stéphane Hisler, Mitch Jones, Lachlan Plain, KT Prescott, Rebecca Rutter, James Wilkinson and Nick Wilson, and the world’s largest puppet performed for crowds of thousands in Brazil for Virada Cultural May 21-22, São Paulo’s non-stop, free, 24 hour party all over the city.

These images by Paulo Barbuto courtesy of Australia Now capture some of Everybody’s giant Brazilian adventure.

Snuff Puppets Everybody Sao Paulo Virada Cultutral Paulo Barbuto Fotografia

 

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Pacific Gods at Federation Square for Light in Winter

This Saturday June 18, the Australia Pacific Arts Network‘s beautiful Pacific Gods will be celebrating the winter solstice along with four brand new puppets for Federation Square’s Light in Winter Festival.

Peau Kula

Limu, the Tongan God of Death is coming. Moana, goddess of the ocean, sends Lofa, the great frigate bird, as a warning. The water rises. Will Limu reign?

A roving puppet performance about global warming presented by Snuff Puppets and Australia Pacific Arts Network at Federation Square.

Light in Winter marks the longest night of the year with a feast of live music, art, performances and food.

Saturday June 18
5pm – 9pm
Federation Square, Melbourne
FREE

Images from The Light in Winter at Federation Square 2015.

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Everybody in São Paulo

viradacultural branded image

Snuff Puppets’ gigantic show Everybody, a piece that explores the one thing that all humans have in common: the human body, will have its international premiere this weekend as part of Australia Now and Virada Cultural.

Ten of our artists, Katrina Chandra, Daniell Flood, Andy Freer, Stéphane Hisler, Mitch Jones, Lachlan Plain, KT Prescott, Rebecca Rutter, James Wilkinson and Nick Wilson, and the world’s largest puppet are now heading to Brazil for Virada Cultural May 21-22, São Paulo’s non-stop, free, 24 hour party all over the city.

What better than a giant party for Everybody’s first international outing?

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This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.

 

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Welcome to Snuff Skool

Hong Kong WorkshopA unique chance to shed your everyday self and become a Snuff Puppet!

Join us in our Footscray home, the Drill Hall, and learn the Snuff way: improvisational, spontaneous and always with the freedom to play. If you’re a hardcore Snuff-phile this is your chance to get into a Snuff Puppet and venture out in to the world, creating your own Snuff brand of puppet/audience collisions. Find out more about Snuff Skool.

Snuff Puppets’ Snuff Skool is proud to be a part of Big West Festival 2015 – the leading community-based, contemporary arts festival in Melbourne’s West.

Saturday 21 & 28 November 9am to 5pm
The Drill Hall, 395 Barkly St, Footscray, 3011

$35 Full $25 Concession For ages 14+

Tickets include a full-day workshop, catered lunch from Plough Hotel and participation in a street roaming performance.

Add me to the waiting list

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A Note from Nick: Typhoons, Super-Keen Cucumber Wranglers, and a Chanting Circle

Part Three of Nick Wilson‘s Japan diary:

The final stage of our Japan trip was a week-long visit to Honjima Island, to exhibit puppets, meet the community, run some workshops, make some guest appearances on the mainland, and to present a feature performance in the island’s disused Kabuki theatre.

While statistically the communities of Urada and Honjima might look similar in some ways, we all felt a definite shift in the atmosphere on moving from Urada’s endless green mountains and rice-fields to this small-island fishing village on the Seto Inland Sea. During the ferry trip across, Japan’s longest bridge appeared to neither start nor end, but to bypass the island and disappear in ocean mist on its way somewhere else. Parts of the island are quite visibly abandoned, neglected and overgrown: weeds grow through cracked concrete, and the salty air turns metal fixtures into flaky brown rust before their time. Honjima’s population has fallen from 4000 in the 1960’s to 400 today, of which only 20 are school-aged children. It is one of 12 islands that are host to the region’s Setouchi Art Triennale, another ambitious and immense project by Fram Kitagawa to revitalise dwindling regions through the arts.

Our venue was Chito Tse-za, a beachside Kabuki theatre dated to 1862, and barely opened in the last thirty years. A fine example of the smart simplicity of traditional Japanese construction, the front panels slide open to either side of the building, and the waist-high rails fold outward to form an extension of the stage, which the audience views from outside in a public courtyard. We were instantly charmed by its elegant design, skilful construction and dilapidated ambience. It seemed an ideal gateway into that parallel, slightly surreal world that our puppets often inhabit: where the impossible and the dreamlike can invade mundane streets; where the fictional ‘puppet world’ shares an open boundary with the lives of our audience.

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Q&A with KC

2015 was our third year at Aarhus Festuge. Our puppets love getting up close and personal with the people of Aarhus, and our performers love visiting!

Our Tour Manager and Production Manager Katrina Chandra gave us the low down:

What surprising things have you learnt this time travelling with Snuff Puppets?

One of Aarhus’ famous old architects hated the church so much he put gargoyles and mad faces on all the buildings he designed, all pointing at the church.

What feedback did you get from audiences?

Audiences have been loving us here at Aarhus festival. Especially as seagulls have recently been declared a pest which can be shot (with a special license though, luckily no one has tried yet). As per usual kids ask if the puppets are real – one at the school we performed at today thought they were remote controlled robots…

What’s the most interesting/funny/weird experience while on tour?

How violent kids can be!

But seriously, being in international arts festivals is always great, we get to meet cool people and see great stuff, getting immersed in local culture as well as seeing amazing art from around the world.

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A Note From Nick: Once in a Lifetime

Another note from Nick Wilson and the team in Japan:

Wow, what an unbelievable couple of weeks! It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced a People’s Puppet Project what it is that we actually do out here: how much we ask of ourselves and our collaborators, the dense networks of amazing people that form around us, and of course the seemingly miraculous end-product; a world-class giant visual theatre spectacle made from conception to presentation, including puppets, story and soundtrack, by and about a community that has never done or even seen anything like it before. All of this in just ten days.

We arrived in the beautiful, dwindling mountain town of Urada, population 300, with little knowledge about it, and sunk in deep, quickly seeking out a sense of the culture and environment, its quirks and points of difference, the experiences and stories people seem to have in common.

On our first workshop day we met the residents, played some games, had some discussions and decided on which puppet characters to make. Two weeks later they were on stage performing their own fully realised Snuff Puppets show at an international arts festival in the neighbouring village of Matsudai.

That was at Noh Bu Tai theatre last weekend, and it was every bit as powerful, chaotic, ambitious, serene, touching, hilarious and beautiful as we could ever hope a show like this could be. The venue staff were beyond professional, Echigo-Tsumari management, staff and volunteers all went out to get us over the line, and our Urada cast completely blew us away. Surviving a heavy puppet for 45 minutes is a big undertaking even for professional performers, and these guys weren’t just surviving they were excelling. The energy of the crowd was bordering on euphoric. Urada’s elderly rubbed shoulders with Tokyo art crowds and local politicians, getting pushed and ushered around the space together in delighted awe.

The rain held off long enough for us to use the terraced rice-fields across the river, behind the venue, as a multi-levelled natural stage, through which the Kamoshika weaved and the marching band played, looking amazing in their woven rice-straw costumes. Jisa and Basa crossed this idyllic scene by foot and truck, before Magomusume’s big frenzied Tokyo fashion scene entered from behind, circling the audience in promenade style, inviting everybody to dance.

The show featured a boisterous all-singing giant Akashobin, a rural train journey, an eight-metre cucumber being dropped from a great height and paraded overhead, a cheeky cucumber-loving Kappa, his dismemberment by wild animals, his bowl-shaped head spilling out water and irrigating the fields, and some gorgeous sit-down storytelling moments with elderly residents voicing the Grandparent puppets. Continue Reading →

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