Puppetry: How To Structure, Develop & Build A Narrative With Emma Williams

Join us at Puppet Place on Saturday 10 and Saturday 17 February 2024 to explore ways of creating successful narratives for puppetry.

Participants will come away with a selection of practical processes that can be used to build narratives from a range of starting points including images/themes/adaptations of stories.

We will look at:

The rules of a basic story structure.

How to investigate an idea that can help create and frame material.

What rules and guidance can be used when working without a linear narrative.

Participants will also have an opportunity (if they wish) to share their own specific creative project. The workshop will not provide all the solutions, but the intention is for participants to come away with the confidence and excitement to proceed with a project and some basic tools to develop it further.

The workshop will run over two days with a week in between to allow participants time for reflection and preparation for the second day.

Workshop Agenda

Day 1 – Saturday 10 February 2024: Over the course of day one we will focus on two puppetry productions exploring the different techniques used in each show to develop the ideas.

Morning: Pinocchio – We will look at adaptations of existing stories and the fundamental rules of simple narratives. Participants will then have the opportunity to create and explore practically key scenes from Pinocchio asking, how does this drive the story.

Early afternoon: Big Boys Don’t Cry – Looking at what happens when the starting point is an idea rather than a story. I will outline the questions that helped create the material and the structure for the production Big Boys Don’t Cry. I will run with the participants’ examples of practical exercise and games that were useful.

Late afternoon: Participants will, working in groups, create visual material from a selection of the questions mentioned earlier in the afternoon and we will share the results as a group.

Day 2 – Saturday 17 February 2024: This will be bespoke to the ideas and starting points that participants have brought with them.

Morning: Looking at ideas that have narratives already in place and how to adapt those for puppetry.

Afternoon: Looking at ideas that have a looser structure or no structure at all and exploring what kind of frame can hold the material.

To find out more and to book your place click here.

NB: We maybe able to provide a couple of discounted places for those on low incomes, please email info@puppetplace.org to state your case and for more information.

This workshop will be delivered by director, facilitator, dramaturg and writer Emma WIlliams.

Emma Williams is a director, facilitator, dramaturg and writer. She has directed and co-created international touring productions for Pickled Image, Green Ginger and Opposable Thumb Theatre. In 2022 she directed The Wardrobe’s sell out Christmas show Puppets Do a Movie. Over her career she has directed award winning performances produced by Strike a Light, The Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bath Theatre Royal, Mayfest and the Bristol Old Vic.

She also works outdoors directing productions for Inside Out Festival Dorset, Farnham Maltings and Cheltenham Literary festival. She was performance Director for The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Design and Puppetry production for nine years.

She has been a visiting lecturer for City of Bristol College, Bath Spa and has run adult performance workshops for Bath Theatre Royal, Puppet Place, Tobacco Factories and Travelling Light. She curated the professional development strand of The Bristol Puppetry festival and between 2017 – 2018 worked as an artist support associate for Theatre Bristol.

To find out more and to book your place click here.

Shadow Puppet Workshop, Saturday 11 November 2023

Izzy B is a freelance designer and maker of puppets based at Puppet Place on Bristol’s Harbourside, working mostly between the south-west of England, Atlanta Georgia and Denver Colorado.

In this six and a half hour course participants watched, built and played with shadow puppets on a variety of different screens and lighting rigs. Shadow puppetry is a versatile art that lends itself to cooperative play, so a workshop is an incredible way to become familiar with the craft for the first time or to expand an existing skill set.

This workshop maybe run again in early 2024 – please email info@puppetplace.org if you’d like to be placed on the waiting list.

September 2023 CREATIVE CAFE

We hosted a very special Creative Cafe on Thursday 7 September 2023 when special guest Richard Sewell spoke about Air Giants‘ wonderful creative robotic inflatable, pneumatically-controlled creatures and the technology and creative process that is involved in creating them. We watched some short videos of recent installations had the opportunity to experience one of the smaller inflatable robots up close and personal.

Richard Sewell is a roboticist, software engineer, maker of many things, and a co-founder of Air Giants.  He’s interested in the simple pleasures to be found in interactions between people and machines, in experience design, in touch-based experiences, in play and in invitations to play.  He’s also interested in robots of all sorts, in tools and gizmos and technical trickery.

Harbour Festival Open Doors 2023

Puppet Place opened its doors on the weekend of the Bristol Harbour Festival from Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th July 2023.

We invited visitors in to find out what puppetry entails and to see where and how puppets are fabricated.

Visitors were able to visit our Fabrication Workshop and Garden where we ran puppetry demos and children’s workshops!

Creative Cafes so far in 2023

Our first Creative Cafe of 2023 took place on Friday 13 January 2023 with special guest Anurupa Roy from Katkatha Puppets Art Trust in India and the second took place on Thursday 30 March with special guest Cat Rock talking about the Bristol 48h Puppet Film Challenge – follow the links below for more information.

Creative Cafe with special guest Anurupa Roy from Katkatha Puppets Art Trust in India

Anurupa Roy from Katkatha Puppets Art Trust in India

Creative Cafe with with special guest Cat Rock from the Bristol 48h Puppet Film Challenge 

For more information about future Creative Cafes and workshops follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

All Creative Cafes, courses and workshops take place at Unit 18 Albion Dockside Estate, Hanover Place, Bristol BS1 6UT unless otherwise stated.

N.B. Puppet Place only offers refunds in circumstances where a course, workshop or event is cancelled.

Our programme of events, classes and workshops support a range of ages and abilities. We welcome everyone to have a go, from the curious to the professional. Our education and outreach activity is growing so we encourage your ideas and feedback about what you’d like to have a play with.

Let us know what workshops you would like to see take place at Puppet Place

We’re conducting research for future workshops at Puppet Place and we’d love to hear your thoughts on what type of workshops you’d like to see available.

The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous. Please click the link below to access the survey.

Complete our online WORKSHOP RESEARCH SURVEY here! 

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