To support my continuing professional development I undertook an MA at University of the Arts, Wimbledon in 2014. During this time I attended many events, performances, exhibitions, workshops, festivals, lectures and conferences to inform my work. These were documented in my blog including key events:
I also conducted a number of interviews including those with performer Daniel Oliver and writer Laura Lindsey. I also initiated discussions with a range of practitioners asking questions around the theme of Active Audiences in Contemporary Theatre
In the development of my Pupi practical project I undertook significant primary research through the Sicily residency, which included interviews with local and international people connected to the issue of stray dogs. This is currently being edited into a documentary and should be released later this year.
One of the key shows which inspired my practise and brought together both practical and critical research was The Puppet Whisperer by Theatre Rites. I contacted Sue Buckmaster following the show, interested in her processes and thoughts on audience interaction and the unique aspects of puppet theatre. She offered this highly insightful comment:
“In Theatre integrating Puppets it is vital to nurture the triadic relationship between puppet, puppeteer and audience. The power of puppetry lies in the moments we allow our audience to project their inner emotions onto the receptive object. In actors theatre you may be able to sit behind the fourth wall and gaze passively as the drama unfolds. However, with puppetry, the puppet does not live without a more active engagement from the viewer.
In The Puppet Whisperer, as well as entertaining, I wish to empower the audience to understand this engagement they are having. This is so that they engage more, learn about the inner workings of the art form and can become more discerning about the standards we should expect from puppetry performance. I sit within the audience to make sure I am experiencing exactly what they are and the emphasis is on what they can or want to see, instead of what a finished production would demand them to see. It is a live discussion which keeps all the participants of the triadic relationship dynamic and evolving”
Sue Buckmaster talking about the Puppet Whisperer 2015