Remembering Rosa Parkin x

rosasmagic Rachel writes – It was with great sadness, we learnt of Rosa’s passing on Sept 6th 2015, after fighting a rare form of cancer over the last two years. I want to honour her memory & work with DNA, and the wonderful woman she was.

rosa, artworks 024Rosa worked as DNA’s tour developer and producer from 1999 – 2008, and took DNA’s work into Europe, memorably to Framces’s Chalon Dans La Rue festival, the year of the artists strike, where we performed with the Uk’s National Theatre collective, and tours of Spain with Tanit Teatro. She was responsible for developing the presentation of DNA’s shows at the Uk’s top festivals, Glastonbury, Bestival,  Green Man & many others.

brochureWithout Rosa, the Puppets a GoGo! tent would never have been born, and with the help of her then partner Dadu, who created the entrance way, sorted our electrics and fit up, plus customised the DNA van, we toured the Uk festivals for over 5 years with a rich programme of sell out acts for all ages.

curious crowdsRosa also created all the amazing DNA publicity for our shows, designing promotional material, and filming and editing our videos. She always had her eye on quality, unique & interesting images that made the DNA brand image and sold our touring shows.

turnipgrass2-300dpibabanew5 02puss2newdrnosesmallatishoo!Ball-Pond-Publicity-imageRosa was amazing to work with, so gifted and talented, she always did everything 110% and made so many of my dreams for DNA come true. She took DNA’s first steps to Australia, attending an APAM producers conference and beginning our International touring. Later, she trained as a magician, creating her own unique storytelling magic shows. She was truly magical and no one who met her could resist her smile, warmth, love and laughter. I am deeply grateful for knowing her, and everything she did for DNA, as a friend and professional.

rosa, artworks 019With love and sincere condolences to all her family & friends, all those who knew her magic x

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.


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Artist in Residence for the Song Room, West Australia

Rachel Riggs puppeteer

Rachel Riggs puppeteer

Rachel writes from overseas, Ive recently completed another successful residency for the Song Room , an organisation which funds artists to lead workshops in low social economic area schools nationally.

Belmay shadows (10)Belmay shadows (11)

Working with the friendly staff and pupils of Belmay Primary, Perth, we spent term 1 playing with shadow puppets and term 2 exploring rod puppets.

IMG_20150323_134415503I brought in a collection of my puppets from around the world to show a variety of styles, though Perth city had just had a visit from Royal de Luxe with some of the worlds largest marionettes, so the children had their eyes opened more then usual.IMG_20150618_134649356The students made rod puppets from their original designs of pirates, mermaids, magical creatures and super heroes. Using my scrunchy tissue paper technique, the heads were sculpted and cloth costumes decorated, ready for making up stories of sailing the seas, to the moon and back in space , or

IMG_20150615_134911243superheroes saving others.


Aprofessional development session was held after school for teachers to share their learning with other staff in the school and for me to develop further puppetry in the classroom ideas for their creative skill sets.

pd song roomIMG_20150618_155252183IMG_20150618_152646324All the puppets went on display around the school in the reception area, library. art room and language study area with quotes from the children about their artistic achievements.IMG_20150618_152545147

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Puppetry at Walker Art Gallery Liverpool

Adam Bennett of DNA spent the day yesterday at the Walker Art Gallery with a mixed age group of children and adults making puppets and then having fun learning how to perform with them. Here are some photos of their creations



Each 90 minute session wasn’t much time to make a puppet from scratch and learn how to perform with them. We used a simple rod puppet design that gave a working puppet quickly.


The characters were based on Greek Mythology. There were a few Medusas, Zeus, some Poseidons, Athena, Artemis and a few “random villagers/townspeople” for the gods and monsters to perform simple scenes with.


Adults and children alike enjoyed the creativity of making and the joy of playing with their creations.



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DNA rock Glastonbury Festival – again

In late June we made our presence felt on the Kidz Field of Glastonbury 2015 with Chicken Licken on the main stage, the DNA Glastontree in the makendo tent and The Hoodies doing some walkabout. This year involved three full days as well as Thursday afternoon so we were kept busy

Chicken Licken at Glastonburyimage

Both Kidz Field and DNA celebrate 21st birthdays this year. We were proud to contribute to the largest free outdoor event for children in Europe. The man in charge Tony Cordy has done an amazing job keeping the spirit of the free festival of wonder, entertainment and creativity within the growing enterprise and variety that is Glastonbury Festival. Ema Cordy was a gracious and generous host in the Theatre Tent this year (and last year too!)

Baby puppet at Glastonbury

Our walkabout act this year was a life size puppet teenager clutching a talking puppet baby trying to convince parents and children to mind the baby so he could go out and watch the bands. He even had a go at pretenting the baby was a lost child so he could leave it in the lost kidz portacabin.

A last minute addition was Rebecca who stepped in when another had to drop out. She helped with the sound and the walkabout. Thanks Beccy!image The Kidz Field is Glastonbury’s most magical place full of wonder discovery laughter excitement and creativity for any age. One of the mottos of the Kidz Field is

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, or help someone to have one

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Shadow puppets yr 3 Preston


The setup in the classroom

Working with 60 students in 2 classrooms to create and perform short performances in a day can be a challenge, but with the DNA shadow puppet show/demo using our OHP & pop up screen we gave these children a fun creative challenge.


They learned about the science of light, projection, lenses and filters, gave themselves some drawing and writing tasks in storyboarding, design and technology challenges in the crafting of useful shadow puppets and backgrounds and finally confidence in public speaking and performance from the safety of behind a screen.



They played out stories from Greek Mythology as well as traditional folk tales. By the end of the day they had been seriously challenged, learned lots of skills and understandings by being creative and told us that they had had a really enjoyable day at school today.

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Imaginary leaps play event at Matargarup First Nations Refugee Camp

Matagarup Concert (24)Matagarup Concert (21)
A few weeks ago, DNA puppetry and Imaginary leaps were honoured to be invited by the Swan River Noongar Aboriginal Elders to run family play activities at Heirisson Island, Perth, Western Australia for a fundraising concert to support homeless Aboriginal people and their fight for their Homelands.
Matagarup Concert (39)

The Imaginary leaps team included Adam Bennett & Shakera Ahad visiting from the UK puppeteering Thurtinkle in Terry Jones Fairy Tales

terry jones fairytales - dna puppetry

terry jones fairytales – dna puppetry

Francis Italiano from Sensorium Theatre was king of the Cardboard Cubby Houses with the older kids building a cardoard box city for the younger ones.

Matagarup Concert (65)Matagarup Concert (51)Matagarup Concert (53)Matagarup Concert (52)Matagarup Concert (28)And fantastic face painting from Rebecca & Joanna Riggs Bennett all day longMatagarup Concert (38)Matagarup Concert (60)The littlest ones had fun in the baby play area with Bobby the puppet and the baby nestMatagarup Concert (70)Matagarup Concert (42)And heartfelt messages of support were tied to a wishing tree in the garden play areaMatagarup Concert (50)Matagarup Concert (67)Matagarup Concert (48)For more information on the Concert and the Elders fight for Aboriginal respect and recognition in Australia see


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Touring Chicken Licken

Featured Image -- 2713Performer puppeteer Adam Bennett is currently touring Chicken Licken all over the UK. Here he reflects upon taking a classic performance out on the road again, and his efforts at negotiating a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015

As soon as the final show of Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Royal Lyceum Theatre finished, I was back on the road again with Chicken Licken. In fact the following morning I was on the road at dawn heading from Edinburgh to Maidenhead to pick the show up off Steve Tiplady who had been substitute performer for me while I was on a four week run in Edinburgh.

I arrived to find Steve already half way through the morning show delighting the audience at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts and it was a rare pleasure to see my show performed by another puppeteer, although not the first time. I have taught the show to Mark Down and Mark Whitaker before, both highly reputable performer/puppeteers. Melvyn Rawlinson also performed his own slight variation of the show which was equally delightful. Afterwards, over lunch, Steve and I plotted putting together the next DNA show Tom Thumb, collaborating on the show with Rachel Riggs (DNA’s Artistic Director) and creating a show for me to perform but one that Steve can also perform when I’m otherwise engaged.

Up and down the country through the Spring weather, thousands of lambs in the fields gambolling and the slow yellowing of the rape seed crops I travel to theatres and arts centres some very familiar others completely new. Google maps is my new friend and tailbacks on the M6 my nemesis. Most of the shows are completely sold out and the audiences as always are a delight. Once you’ve played to 3-6 year olds it’s hard to go back to other ages of audiences. They are instantly responsive with their enjoyment, genuinely vocally fearful of the fox and constantly willing to help out with the storytelling when required; reminding me of where I’m up to, warning the Little Red Hen of danger, trying to guess the animals of the ridiculous dough shapes I’ve made.

In July I will be playing outdoors at the Wordpool Festival and Mouth of the Tyne and I will also be at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Summerhall, Cairns Lecture Theatre, 3:35pm) from August 5 until August 28th. If you’re going to be in Edinburgh at this busy time, make the effort to come along and see the show, let others in Edinburgh know that even if you’re not a young child anymore you won’t see better puppeteering at Fringe 2015 and you won’t see a better audience response either. Guaranteed. Or your money back.

I’ve never stopped enjoying playing Chicken Licken and I don’t think I ever will. Pure pleasure and delight.

Chicken Licken does the seemingly impossible – appealing to 3 – 6 year olds and fans of The Great British Bake Off. Adam Bennett is the only star of this one-man cookery show, casually making bread – Mary Berry herself can’t match his self-assured style and natural relationship with the viewers. Though performing classic stories, the audience genuinely don’t know what is going to happen next, and even more remarkably, it seems Bennett might not either. He makes a production that has been around for 15 years feel as fresh as a newly-baked loaf.

Flossie Waite – Children’s Theatre Reviews
Playfully taking theatre for young audiences seriously

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