Design has to tell a story

Audiences ask immediately what family are these objects a part of? Who is missing? Who are we expecting to see? Here Peter and the bird are in a ballet of some kind the duck seems to be from Toy Story 1914... So not sure we're there yet!

Performance is reverse engineering.

The job of performing is to take a 2D script and turn it into a 3D performance. The script is like a footpath marked on a map. There is just a line. The question for the performer is why does it go this way? Why that way? Why does it go up and down when it goes up and down? Why does it go left or right? Why does it wiggle? The answers of course are it goes left to avoid these rocks, it goes right to avoid that house, it goes down to cross that river, it goes up to reach that summit, over here to go through that gate, across to a bridge, over a style etc What does that actually mean in terms of doing it? Consider an improvisation: You mime holding a baby. Then you turn and become the baby. Th

Acting is...

“Acting is doing things truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” As Meisner said.

Always say yes to artists - they give you a new perspective

US photographer Maundy Mitchell emailed me to ask if she could take my photograph for her series "Life's Work". It would take a few minutes out of the day and she would give me a copy. On the day I turned up without a puppet and of course she wanted me to have a puppet so I cycled to the studio and got a puppet and cycled back. So in the end it took a little longer. The photo-session itself took seconds. I saw them yesterday. To be honest all I see is that my hair doesn't look so thin as it often does these days, so I'm happy. In the photos I am holding Moses's head a bit like Hamlet holding the skull. I like it. It's simple but a shot I haven't seen before. The puppeteer as actor. And it's

If you can "name the look" then you're going in the right direction

This is the latest Peter head. Sculpted by Ruth Paton and cast in fibreglass. He was painted by Fiona Clift inspired by ballet make up which accentuates the contours and uses highlights and shine. At first he had red lips and he looked like Joan Collins - not quite what we were going for. Then she painted the lips silver and he looked like a boy again. And a bit like Bowie. Bowie Ballet Boy. That sounds like a thing. A direction. Soviet realism meets space futurism meets pop. Another tip - put the image on your phone screen saver. You'll know pretty soon whether you like seeing it all the time. If you don't you're not there yet.

A mechanism should always serve a purpose

Going to the ballet a couple of weeks ago I realised that there are a lot of hand gestures. Welcoming people in, showing them around, pointing to this and that, gesturing that he and she are getting married etc. They are beautiful graceful movements. The hands move at the end of the arm movement and finish the movement. The hand movement is an extension of the arm movement. So I wondered if using a simple mechanism we could make the hand do that. Here is is a trial version with a cardboard hand. The next challenge is to make the hand light enough to replciate that movement.

Better to have a problem to solve, than nothing to do

Hattie today was going for a reading of her play at The National Theatre Studio and she was nervous about what they would think. She feels so exposed when her work is being judged in public. People are going to make decisions about her baby. On the other hand it helps her to hear it read aloud by actors. Hearing with people makes you instantly clear about things that are confusing when sitting along with them on the page. Seen this way round the reading becomes free advice. An investment in the development of the work. What they think of it is almost irrelevant in the light of what she thinks. For Peter the and Wolf we have an orchestra in the middle of the stage. The was the starting poin

Working classy associate artist

Fiona Clift as Joanna Lumley in her show “Working Classy Women” at The Warren in the Brighton Fringe tonight and tomorrow. It's uncanny. More info, London dates etc CLICK HERE

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