Sculpting Skills Come in Handy

Article excerpt

What does your job entail? There isn't a lot of infrastructure around puppetry, for instance administrative support, so I have to organise the shows, create and make the puppets.

I'm also involved in developing scripts and content. I work closely with the director of the show, and if I am also the director I'll write and design the entire show.

Recently, I made puppets for The Tempest, which is at the Baxter Theatre until Friday. The designs had to be sent to the Royal Shakespeare Company in England for approval, and then had to be made in time for the opening of the show.

I am also involved in Pictures of You, which opens today at the Baxter Sanlam Studio. It's a quirky, visual love story that explores the darker truths of a picture-perfect marriage using an imaginative blend of different theatre forms. During the creative process, the puppet character evolved from being two separate puppets to one puppet, and her masks became a really fascinating project to work on.

My sculpturing skills come in handy in the construction of the puppets. The first step is to figure out how to put them together so they move as intended. The mechanics are different for each one and depend on the character and type of puppet you are producing.

The next phase is to see the puppets in action, working with the manipulators, and often I am one of them. In modern puppetry the controllers are often part of the show, so the dynamics of that relationship must be considered in the design.

Average work day: A lot of different skills are required. …