Walking into Norwich Puppet Theatre is like going backstage in your own childhood. It’s a beautiful, dream like place that looks and feels like magic. Puppets and fairy lights adorn the walls and ceilings all over this Grade 1 listed medieval church, which today is one of the last strongholds in the country for the 3,000 year old art of puppetry.
I was lucky enough to be shown round last week, and if you haven’t been before I really recommend you catch a show. Not only are the performances very beautiful, but Norwich is very lucky to have such a centre of excellence for this highly-skilled art, right in the centre of the city. It’s a truly unique place. And if you’re sat there thinking ‘puppets are for children’, then let me tell you otherwise. Over the coming months, Norwich Puppet theatre will be home to several shows and workshops intended for an adult audience, and next year will be home to performances as part of the renowned ‘Manipulate Visual Theatre’ festival, produced by Puppet Animation Scotland. Have a look what’s on – I guarantee there’s something here to pique your interest.
Shakespeare vs Moliere
Friday 10th November, 7.30 pm. Tickets £9 individual, £30 family
If Shakespeare and Moliѐre were our contemporaries what would they write about migrants today? Using table-top puppetry, acting, object, live cued music and projection, this highly visual bilingual production tells the story of a wave of migrants, who have landed on French and English shores, all hoping for a better life. Grandeur and decadence, social upheaval and love affairs are brought to life by a puppeteer from each country, applying classic texts to very modern migration.
For more information please see our events listing.
Masuda String Puppets
Saturday 18th November, 2.30pm for family show; 7.30pm for evening show. Tickets £9 individual, £30 family.
This show looks absolutely stunning, and features the intricate puppet work of Ito-ayatsuri-ningyo, traditional Japanese string puppetry. The Masuda String Puppeteers from the Japanese Shimane Prefecture are believed to be the only group still performing in the classic Edo Period style. During the Edo Period (1615 – 1868) there were several groups performing string puppetry in the Shimane Prefecture alone, often entertaining pilgrims visiting Izumo Taisha Shrine. These performances in the Izumo Region date all the way back to 1652, but died out at the outbreak of World War II, so this is a very special, rare performance. These beautiful puppets are incredibly detailed, and feature up to 18 strings. Highly skilled puppeteers must train for at least 5 years until they are able to perform this difficult art form.
There will be two slightly different performances of Masuda String Puppetry: a family-friendly matinee for families with young children, and an extended performance that same evening for those aged 12+. For more details please see our website.
Clowning and Improvisation Workshop with Dizzy O’Dare
Saturday 11th November, 10am – 5pm. Tickets £50
Take a break from adulting, and explore how to say yes to the most ridiculous situations with a lesson in clowning from Dizzy O’Dare.
Participants will be encouraged to have fun and to play, and from that joyous state find their inner clown. Re-discover how to fool, be creative, flop, joke, embrace disaster and be all the more entertaining for it. With games aplenty, some frustrations, and lots of laughs, do something different of a Saturday and forget that you’ve got ironing to do. For more information please visit Norwich Puppet Theatre's website.
Manipulate Festival, featuring Parachute, and Boris & Sergey
Festival runs from 26th Jan – 9th Feb. Tickets for these shows haven’t been announced yet, but once they go up will sell out fast; keep an eye on the Norwich Puppet Theatre website and Social Media for updates!
Stave off the January blues – to launch us into 2018 Norwich Puppet Theatre will be housing utterly fascinating performances by Stephen Mottram and Flabbergast Theatre as part of Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival.
Stephen Mottram will be showcasing puppetry like you’ve never seen it before, in his show ‘Parachute’, on the 3rd of February 2018. An impressive spectacle of choreography, shadow play and psychological gap-filling, Parachute is an exploration into how we interpret visual information and what we make of what is (and isn’t) presented to us. I really recommend that you don’t miss this.
And you might have seen Flabbergast Theatre’s Boris & Sergey already – they recently starred in the stunning and poignant video to Plan B’s In the Name of Man. Featuring occasional strong language, join this leathery duo on Saturday 27th of January 2018, in an epic spectacle of physical theatre as you join Boris and Sergey’s descent to fame. Described as ‘hilarious, ridiculous and very touching’, this is unlike anything you’ll have seen before (unless you’ve seen this before).
Situated inside a converted medieval church (one of 31 medieval churches in the city),Norwich Puppet Theatre is one of only three dedicated Puppet Theatres in England. Norwich Puppet Theatre is a champion of this special art form, and has been for 30 years. Annual programme includes: hosting adult shows, talent development masterclasses for theatre makers, performers and puppeteers, children’s shows, family workshops for ages 3+
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia has Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.
To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website www.visitnorwich.co.uk