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R&D Projects

101 Dalmatians 

When fashionista Cruella de Vil plots to swipe all the Dalmatian puppies in town to create her fabulous new fur coat, there’s trouble ahead for Pongo and Perdi and their litter of adorable, tail-wagging young pups.

Dodie Smith’s classic canine caper is brought to life on stage with spectacular puppetry, show-stopping choreography, witty songs and irresistible puppies!

This dazzling new musical is written by Douglas Hodge (music and lyrics) and Johnny McKnight (book), from a stage adaptation by Zinnie Harris.

Director: Bill Buckhurst

Book: Johnny McKnight 
Music & Lyrics: Douglas Hodge

Puppetry Director: Jimmy Grimes

Choreographer: Lucy Hind

Runaway Productions, UK Tour

With Courage

Witnesses to a tragedy in 1886, Charles and Marion Macara unite to support a town in grief, inspiring a nationwide movement. Current day navigator, Shannon, grapples with her place amongst her family's long legacy of life-saving; when disaster looms, she and her coxswain father Eddie must race against time to save a life. In two hundred years, the same question remains - how far will you go to save a stranger?

Playwright: Jon Hare
Director: Charlie Westenra

Musical Director: Mary Erskine 

Playwell Productions, UK Tour

Ocean at the end of the lane

From the imagination of Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of Good Omens, Coraline and The Sandman, this spectacular and thrilling theatrical event is a tour de force of magic and storytelling. 

Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play. He’s transported to his 12th birthday when his friend Lettie claimed it wasn’t a pond, but an ocean… Plunged into a magical world, their survival depends on their ability to reckon with ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.

Director: Katy Rudd

Adapted by: Joel Horwood

Puppetry Director: Finn Caldwell

National Theatre, UK Tour & West End

Angels in America

America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, six New Yorkers with interconnect lives grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell. 

This multi-award-winning production of Tony Kushner’s two-part play is directed by Marianne Elliott, with a cast including Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey.

Director: Marianne Elliott

Puppetry Direction: Finn Caldwell

Movement Direction: Steven Hoggett

National Theatre, Broadway Transfer

Wonderland

Nottinghamshire, 1983. Two 16 year olds wait nervously at the pithead. Guided by a veteran miner, they descend into the brotherhood, banter, searing heat and liquid blue light of Welbeck Colliery.

Wonderland is a regional premiere, a spirited and uplifting drama written by the daughter of a Nottingham miner. Expect grim humour and tension from Adam Penford’s first play as Artistic Director in this gripping 360° look at the events leading up to and during the miner’s strike

Director: Adam Penford
Playwright: Beth Steel
Movement Director: Naomi Said

Nottingham Playhouse

The Unreturning

Can beginnings be made out of endings? In a British northern coastal town, three young men are coming home. In 1918 George returns from the Western Front. In 2013 Frankie is back from his final tour of Afghanistan. And some time in the not-too-distant future Nat returns from an overseas refugee camp to what was his hometown.

 

The Unreturning explores the profound effect that war has on young lives, and asks - what does coming home really mean? 

Director: Neil Bettles

Playwright: Anna Jordan

Frantic Assembly, UK Tour

Jackie the Baboon

Jackie the Baboon tells the astonishing true story of a baboon who is taken to war as a mascot by the 3rd South African Infantry. Jackie is given a uniform, serves in the trenches of the Great War and gets critically injured: all the while trying to adapt and survive in the ever more threatening environments he finds himself in.

Taking Jackie's perspective as the viewpoint on the war, this visually rich show features innovative puppetry, immersive sound design and and an original score to tell the life story of this incredible baboon.

Director: Andy Brunskill

Puppetry Director: Jimmy Grimes

Brunskill & Grimes, Orange Tree Theatre

Boxset

What happens when you take 3 person paper Bunraku puppet and thrust it into the middle of a a Hollywood action film?

Boxset explored all the action tropes of cinema, from epic fight sequences, car chases and the last minute defusing of a bomb and put the beloved "brown paper man" at the centre of the action. 

Director: Andy Brunskill

Puppetry Director: Jimmy Grimes

 

Brunskill & Grimes, Old Vic workrooms
 

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Love of the Seven dolls

The story tells of a girl called Mouche who, just as she is about to throw herself into the River Seine, hears a voice. The voice is coming from a glove puppet called Carrot Top and soon she meets their friends, Reynard the fox, Gigi, Alifanfaron, Dr Duclos, Madame Muscat and Monsieur Nicholas.  

She joins their travelling show and we fall deeper into this dark fairytale as we uncover more about the seven puppets and their grim puppet master, Capitaine Coq.  

Directors: Finn Caldwell & Toby Olie

Gyre & Gimble, National Theatre Studio

The Rehearsal

A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The publicity seems to turn every act into a performance and every platform into a stage.

 

But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve ... 

The Rehearsal is an exhilarating and provocation  about the unsimple mess of human desire, at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd expose of emotional compromise.

Director: Will Wrightson

National Theatre Studio

the emperor & the nightingale

Blind Summit's first full puppet opera, directed by Artistic Director Mark Down, premiered at the the Bregenz Festival in 2014. 

 

Cubist Puppets meet a bird with a beautiful voice in Blind Summit's daringly Dada-ist staging of Stravinsky's marvellous opera. Composed between 1912 and 1916 this opera literally straddles the birth of modernism. With seven singers, a 25 chorus, 11 puppeteers and a cast of life-sized puppets, Blind Summit create a visual wonderland for Hans Christian Anderssen's classic tale.

Director: Mark Down

Puppet Designers: Ruth Paton, Mark Down, Fiona Clift

Bregenz Festival

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Rock

Base jumping, free soloing, free diving.

Extreme sports often come with extreme consequences. 

Rock explores the people who are willing to risk everything to chase a high adrenaline thrill, but also looks at the worried loved ones that are left behind waiting anxiously at home. 

 

Director: Neil Bettles

 

ThickSkin, Battersea Arts Centre 

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bring your own

You're invited to a house party, you don't know the guests, it's B.Y.O.B. As the evening progresses, an immersive show starts to unfurl in every room and draws you deeper into this intoxicating world of public & private. 

Director: Neil Bettles

ThickSkin, Battersea Arts Centre 

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Hooked

Following the cultural phenomenon of 'Skins' two of the shows writers explore the clubbing scene and what it means to belong to a community. 

ISO Productions, Jerwood Space

Lifeline

Cody doesn't know what to do with his life, until one day he inherits his Grandfathers old trumpet. As he delves into the past and starts down a road studying jazz, his present pulls him back and he is faced with a very difficult decision to make. 

Featuring a full New Orleans Brass Jazz score and explosive movement, Lifeline explores our collective past, present and future. 

Director: Ollie Kaderbhai

Writers: Matthew Churcher & Oliver Kaderbai

Delirium Theatre, Charing Cross Theatre

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