Rachel writes ‘ I started making the red rebel puppet a few months ago, so she would be ready for climate change actions and demonstrations. She can be used as vertical or horizontal rod puppet, so she can move with detailed actions with human red rebels, when bearing witness to others activism, or paraded high at rallies
‘ I had the idea of using a mannequin head, as the Red Rebels movement as street theatre performers is very slow and controlled with clear deliberate actions and gestures. So i began by cutting it cleanly in half , hollowing out to fit rod mechanism and covering with many layers of paper mache, then painting on gesso – a mix of pva glue, white acrylic paint and Tetrion plaster’
‘A hole is made to insert the horizontal rod from inside, screwed into a base to stop it turning round. It was essential to reinforce the neck with a metal pipe and integrally connect the shoulders and neck with red cord and plastic pipe to create realistic movement.’
‘The head is carefully sandwiched back together with Tetrion and white glue and taped to hold while setting. Then sanded down to create a porcelain effect. The body is shaped with more foam, and red gloves are stuffed with dacron with a card hand shape to give structure and hold shape. Shes ready to be dressed’
Her red dress and head dress are fitted, thanks to Lynda Moylan and Chris Clarke for helping with the costume! More ribbons are added. Now to paint the face and traditionally, in making puppets, the eyes are painted on last, to give life’
‘I wanted the puppet to have standout features at a distance and capture the iconic look of a Red Rebel activist with the distinct make up, drawing on theatrical traditions’
XR Red Rebels are silent street performers who move and act as one chorus. Originally inspired and created by Invisible Theatre Uk, they have troupes all over the world, bearing witness to the climate emergency action with unity, empathy and compassion. The red of the costumes represents the blood that unifies us with all living beings and in Australia, the colour of the land, honouring the original Aboriginal custodians, past, present and future.