Guy Dartnell, 27 January 2015


(called by Claire Hicks)





(called by Guy Dartnell)

Attended by:

Claire Hicks, Guy Dartnell, Mary Swan, Clara Giraud, Marissa Beatty, Chris Wooton,

Matthew ?


By Guy Dartnell. Sorry this might be a bit threadbare and impressionistic. I hope

anybody will add in later as they see fit

We decided to put these two meetings together and either apportion time to each or if

need be split up into two sub-sessions. Initially I and Claire were the only two there, so

Claire talked about her plans to support puppets.


Claire is freelance producer and is an avid fan of puppet based work. Since there were

only two of us there and she called the session I suggested she talk about how she

would support puppets herself.

She is interested in creating a festival. Probably a mobile festival, to go round various

venues, cities, regions with perhaps ‘mini-weekender festivals’, because this might be

more attractive to venues, who might otherwise balk at the notion of having to house a

full blown puppet festival themselves.


Having recently looked back with Christopher to the film

we made a year ago, we realised that we had completed almost everything we had set

out to do in terms of archiving his work and finding museums for it. There were just a

couple months more of needing people’s help with that, but one of the last things he

mentions on the film is wanting to create a new puppet piece. Talking about it he is

interested in making a new piece that could be achieved, taking into account his MND

and would be created both despite condition but also using it. That is what I have

committed myself to helping him to try and achieve.

We talked about Crowdfunding to create matching cash for an ACE application. And

how it might be best to approach all the people who have volunteered or supported

Christopher’s archiving so far and ask them first in principle if they’d be willing to

donate a small amount (100 people at £10 each would bring in £1000) and if the

response was positive to them think about launching a campaign.

We talked about how some of the care he has in place paid for by the NHS could be

considered cash in kind, because he will need his basic care when he is working and

in order for him to be able to work. Any care or assistance other than that would need

to be paid for separately. Christopher may need a PA/Assistant director to help him

other than his carers – maybe that should be me (Guy). This might automatically be

funded by Access to Work. Need to find out about this.

Should contact the MND charity.

We asked Chris whether The Little Angel could be approached about supporting the

new work of Christopher’s before an AD is appointed and he possibly they might be

able to give some kind of support but commitment beyond that would obviously require

the new AD’s attention first

Marissa said she would be happy to help with Christopher’s archiving though she is

nota puppeteer and gave her email and phone number. She also mentioned Orpheus (started by Richard Stilgoe) and how it might be useful

looking into whether some collaboration with them around working with Christopher

might be fruitful.

Mary Swan from Proteus in Basingstoke mentioned the recent Got No Strings new

puppetry conference talked about how Proteus are supporting artists to develop work, with space ( not

just puppeteers) and said if they could be of some use they would be.

There was some mention of the ‘marmite’ reaction to puppetry, you either love it or

hate it. Talk about a shift to making puppets more human, but does that defeat the

point? The point about puppets is they are more than human? We talked about large

scale puppets (Elephant, Spider and even Warhorse horses) and how popular they

are. We wondered if people think of these as puppets – or more sort of super puppets.

In a different league.

Chris talked about how the scale of Little Angel dictates the nature of the kind of scale

work they can produce and tour. Can't fill mid-scale venues.

“Puppetry Centre Steering Group” – putting puppetry on the map, creating long term


Does puppetry need to emulate Circus – if you think of it’s rise from where it was many

years ago. I said this came out of an upsurge in training many years ago allied to

move towards physical theatre and street performance. Explosion of people doing it.

Also related to attraction towards circus/traveler lifestyle. Had it’s own ACE officer

(Chenine Bhathena)

Does puppetry need to aim at larger scale – oudoors.

Clara Giraud from Arts Admin who manage Unlimited

Listened to what was behind the idea for Christopher creating new work and

suggested that although there was only a week to the deadline that it would definitely

be an appropriate project top pitch to Unlimited. (And since D&D, I , Claire and

Christopher have been working on an application)

Matthew wanted to know ways into training in puppetry – Central School of Speech &

Drama, venues (Little Angel) offer training and workshops sometimes. Suggested he

also talk to Phelim/Improbable about rough puppetry mixed in as part of devised

physical/visual theatre

Talked about puppetry as a craft handed down. Should be able to still do that, by

attaching yourself to a small scale company as a volunteer?


Festivals, disability, support, puppets, training, Disability, festivals, Puppets, Training,