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!