In February 2015, Master Puppeteer Simon T. Rann from Compagnie Philippe Genty ran two master class workshops in both Melbourne and NSW. I attended the NSW workshop which was run as a wonderful weekend away in Mittagong (1.5 hrs south of Sydney). The course aimed to explore visual theatre, especially the use of puppetry and object manipulation. There was foil. There was paper. There were rolls of cling film and oceans of plastic drop sheets – all of which were crushed, crinkled, cut (and sometimes caressed) in the aim to explore the limits of what the material could communicate. The experience was surreal and liberating! There were also sessions on puppetry technique – learning about basic principles in bringing a puppet to life. We enjoyed not only working with each other but also having meals together and sharing lots of puppetry fellowship.
The workshop was open to performers from different disciplines: puppeteers, actors, dancers, performance artists, physical theatre practitioners and to artists working in the related disciplines of puppet making, sculpting, costume design etc. This open invitation drew participants from all different fields of work, including puppeteers, teachers, therapists and even a lawyer and veterinarian/researcher! People also came from Melbourne, Regional VIC, Queensland, Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong and Sydney, as well as the NSW Southern Highlands. The workshops were proudly presented by UNIMA Australia and Mots de Tête Compagnie (France). www.unima.org.au http://motsdetetecompagnie.com/