DNA puppetry at Glastonbury 2017


DNA had a fabulous rain free Glastonbury this year in the Kidzfield! With a great crew performing in the theatre tent, walkabout and workshops, we had a packed programme for 4 days of creative chaos.

Glastonbury 2017 (125)

Steve Tiplady and Sally Brown from Indefinite Articles made a special collaboration with DNA soundmaker Rebecca Riggs Bennett with the show ‘Clay Time’ for the childrens theatre tent, performing alongside Basil Brush and CBBC. This was an improvised performance, taking the childrens story ideas and animating them in clay.

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Sarah Nickson and the workshop team ran 4hr make and do sessions everyday, creating   totem poles with recycled bottles.

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These grew into an installation the walkabout puppets performed around and children interacted with.

Rachel Riggs, Rebecca Riggs Bennett and Steve Tiplady performed walkabout with the much loved Rainbow Cat, Baby and Paul McCartney lookalike scally puppet!

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We had a great time dancing with the samba band, chatting with children and families, lots of fun!

Rachel also performed with her marionettes and met a few budding puppeteers in the making. People were fascinated with the puppets, all ages….

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Thanks as always to Tony Cordy and the Kidzfield team…..roll on 2019!

Glastonbury 2017 (73)

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Puppet making Workshops at Fairbridge Festival 2017

Wonderful puppets were made by the children of Fairbridge this year, recycling and making simple rod puppets for play and story telling…

Lots of imagination and lots of play with the ‘angry girlfriend’ and the ‘sad boyfriend’ puppets, amongst many other characters, thanks to the Paper and Scissors tent

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Thurtinkle at Fairbridge Festival 2017

Thurtinkle was all done up and ready for some super storytelling down with the children at the 25th Fairbridge festival, Pinjarra, Western Australia. Over the weekend, he entertained young and old with his stories of far, far, away. it was heartening that many children still love the old fairy tales and know much about making up a good story together. Thurtinkle DNa’s storytelling puppet is a regular now having been present at the festival for 5 years himself!

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Tom Thumb, Cloud Child

Adam Bennett of DNA writes about adventures in European touring in the Spring of 2017

“I’ve been having fun touring Tom Thumb after a break living and working in Australia, starting with a couple of shows at the Albany in Deptford, South London and then a number of shows in various parts of England. The latest shows at the Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster were a blast. Sian Phillips is the original musician for the show, and she lives in Lancaster but wasn’t available so my number two musician Jo Powell stepped in. Jo lives in Sunderland Point nowadays, a little village regularly cut off from civilisation by the tides. We ran through the show the night before to a rapturous bunch of about a dozen local residents in the reading room.

Our restaging of Cloud Child took place at De Poppenzaal in the town of Tournhout, East Belgium

De Poppenzaal is a lovely little puppet theatre in Belgium serving local residents and schools owned and run by Ruud Alles, a very congenial host.

Shakera and I arrived and set up with some help from Ruud and assistance from my Belgian friend Tineke who bravely volunteered to operate the musical cures for the show.

It was the first really warm and sunny afternoon of the European Spring so the theatre wasn’t full but there was a decent crowd of children and adults attending and they all had a wonderful time with many compliments after the show.

This weekend I’m performing Chicken Licken at the Polka Theatre, London, while Rachel is performing Thurtinkle at the Fairbridge Festival in Western Australia so DNA is having a very international time right now.

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DNA tour the UK and Belgium in March and April 2017

cloud childAfter a short break from touring DNA are back on the road in the UK touring Chicken Licken, Tom Thumb as well as a one-off performance of Cloud Child in Belgium called Wolkenkind.

After a wonderful pair of Sunday performances at the Albany in Deptford, South London kicking off the tour on March 5th followed by a performance at the Garrick Theatre, Lichfield on March 11th the tour proper kicks off on April the 1st at the Lights, Andover and 2nd at the Winchester Discovery Centre.

Then it’s off to Figurentheater Propop in Turnhout, Belguim for a morning performance of Cloud Child on Sunday April 9th.

Chicken Licken will be in Tewksbury at the Roses on Tuesday April 11th and Tom Thumb in Salisbury on Wednesday April 12th as well as The Dukes, Lancaster on Friday April 15th.

Finishing off the tour is a three day run of Chicken Licken at Polka Theatre April 21, 22 and 23.

Chicken Licken

DNA puppetry co-founder Adam Bennett helped launch the MAnchester International Festival on March 9th, puppeteering for Sue Buckmaster of Theatre Rites who will be creating a new piece called The Welcoming Party. Check out the full lineup for this exciting festival in June and July here


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Imaginary Leaps – creative play 4 parties

Imaginary Leaps offers everything for your 1-5 years old creative play party –

  • Portable ball pool with balls
  • Stackable circular cushions
  • Crawl tunnels
  • Hoops and balls
  • Puppet play
  • Make and do craft activities
  • Storytime
  • Songs and rhymes

Contact Rachel -0435591243 or email rachel@imaginaryleaps.com to book your childs birthday party

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Teachers Creative Professional Development with Rachel Riggs at Carson St School, Perth. WA

Teachers creative professional development with Rachel Riggs – www. imaginaryleaps.com

Imaginary Leaps investigates new approaches to creative arts activities for  children with complex learning needs, including:

  •   using puppetry and other art forms as an approach to creative learning with students
  •   exploring what different materials can mean to the child in open ended activity play
  •   identifying how different creative play techniques can be used to address different   learning needs for curriculum outcomes and IEP’s
  •    ideas for exploration using materials, movement, storytelling, puppetry and object play
  •    identifying learning outcomes of the Early Years Framework curriculum addressed through this creative approach

Rachel Riggs is an early years professional creative and visual theatre engagement specialist, currently working with Carson Street School, Perth which is W.A’s only Education Support Primary School.  Students needs are such that they are not presently being integrated into the regular school system, and all require extensive therapy and educational services. The school recognises and actively encourages creative practice development for special education, and invited me to share my skill set with the whole school community. I have been resident for the Song Room as an artist in education mentoring some of the teachers within the school this year  and also worked there extensively in creative development with Sensorium Theatre. The feedback was very positive and other teachers, education assistants and staff also requested professional creative development.

Because of the students diverse needs and strengths, having an early years skillset in line with the EYLF, and training in puppetry and storytelling, such as improvising with objects and materials, with sensory elements that can be touched, smelt, heard and sometimes tasted, assists in creating explorational learning journeys for each child at their level.

With the students, we have been freely playing and exploring all kinds of puppets, tissue paper, coloured cellophane, moving into making tactile textured rod and hand puppets and investigating the world of shadows. Mentoring the teachers, I am facilitating a more open approach to learning through a creative play process, which gives freedom to make bespoke outcomes for each child.

Thanks to Roslyn Hamlyn and the fantastic staff of Carson St for the playing, what a joy!

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