Our One-Man Christmas Family Show at The Harlequin Puppet Theatre is certainly attracting the audiences this year, with already one day completely booked out, and we’ve only been open for 4 days. The after-show comments from both adults and children have been exceptionally gratifying.
Actually this is quite short season for we only run until January 5th because that is the last weekend before the children return to school for the start of the new term.
Our next season will be the February Half Term when we are planning to show The Little Ballet of the Handkerchief Princess
The programme will also include a funny play Two Silly Women and a Very Silly King. There will also be Mr Bimbamboozle’s Magic and Chris Somerville’s MARIONETTE CABARET.
It’s getting exciting now, I’ve started with the pre-school nursery shows. This means quite a bit of travelling which I don’t really mind since the rewards are plentiful. The Nurseries are all decorated and festive, the 3 and 4 year olds excited, some a little bewildered, as they file in to either sit in rows on tiny chairs, or sometimes in a semi circle on the floor. They make a lovely audience with a a good sense of fun and a trusting belief in magic. I concentrate on the magic for the very young ones. I do introduce puppets amidst the magic tricks, but rarely do a formal puppet show for the under fives.
Of course with the primary school shows I am catering to bigger audiences (over 400 in some schools) and a wide age range. In these shows I feature Punch & Judy as well as lots of Magic Tricks. These very different shows, but I still enjoy them, especially with my regulars. Some schools have booked me every Christmas for the past 20 years and more.
But between the various school shows I am of course rehearsing for the Christmas Show at the Harlequin which opens on Boxing Day. This year features “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp”. I haven’t done this production since 2014 so there’s a lot to remember and a lot to rehearse. It’s not only the puppets and their acting but also the scenery and lights. A two minute scene change from the Streets of Old Pekin to An Enchanted Cavern in the Mountains of Arabia is quite a feat for the solo performer and takes quite as much practise as do the actual puppets. The great thing is that it’s still fun. After over 60 years a professional puppeteer and it still excites me. Which is probably for the best because I suspect its too late to get a proper job!