A group of active puppetry people and organisations have been getting together and to discuss their top shared priorities. Now a new initiative to support the artform has been launched.
Initiated by the Puppet Centre Trust and including prominent theatre companies Little Angel Theatre, Theatre Rites, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Horse and Bamboo, the group is a ‘coalition of the willing’ working to recommend and develop action to strengthen the puppetry industry in the UK. Consulting with important groups like Puppet Place Bristol, Puppeteers UK and British UNIMA as well as seeking input from the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild and Punch and Judy professors the consortium has now come up with a series of recommendations.
to improve access to current training in puppetry
to campaign for greater recognition of puppetry as a distinct art form
to encourage more and different kinds of artists and audiences to access puppetry in all its forms
There is little formal training in puppetry and although there have been some recent interesting new initiatives in England, it’s hard for people to know what opportunities there are to learn, train and professionally develop.
The Arts Council of England recently admitted that puppetry is considered internally to be a ‘sub-artform’ – perhaps like juggling is to circus or singing is to opera – just a skill that is applied. It’s important to argue that puppetry is not merely a skill, but an artform in its own right.
Despite currently enjoying a good profile puppetry is still marginalised and not very diverse. Although it accesses rich and poor people all over England, we need practitioners to come from a range of backgrounds and cultures that reflects the diversity of today’s England, so that work can be developed that appeals to all audiences.
I’m hosting a twitter chat about puppetry on Thursday May 26th 2016 at 7pm UK time. Please spread the word about it and join me @adampuppet on Twitter