lantern puppetry

melissa pettitt

Owl and Bear night-performance puppets

In 2022 we again both worked as assisant artists for  Thingumajig Theatre, making the Owl and Bear designed by Andrew Kim for outdoors performances at Chester Zoo.

Construction work by both of us, body , feet and wing sculpting by Melissa. Lighting rig design and installation by Ben, in both 12V portable and 240V outdoors-waterproof versions.

With this sort of puppet the real challenge is making it strong  while casting very few shadows from the lighting rig, the placement of which is critical. And making sure the wiring is waterpoof, while designing for it to be flexible enough for the wings to flap thousands of  times without repair during the run of the show.

Orangutan night-performance puppet

In 2021 we again worked as part of a team of assisant artists for  Thingumajig Theatre. This was  a project to make a set of three lifesize illuminated orangutan puppets designed by Andrew Kim for outdoors performances at Chester Zoo.

Melissa sculpted the hands and feet in clay , they were then formed in Worbla,  and body parts created using hybrid willow/nylon pipe structure.  LED lighting rig and skeleton armature assembly by Ben.

materials: aluminium bar,  willow, nylon pipe,tissue, worbla, PVA, varnish, LED lighting rig.

Newbury Lantern trail

In 2020 we were two of the six assisant-artists-in-residence helping create  the Newbury Winter Lantern Trail designed and directed by Andrew Kim. As well as working as a team to create lantern sculptures and assemble installations for the trail , we also produced individual works.

Photos show Melissas Fish lantern in constuction at 101OutdoorArts

materials: welded steel reinforcement, willow, tissue, cotton scrim, PVA, varnish, LED lighting rig.-

Melissa and Andrew Kim of Thingamujig Theater with their matching fish

the Lantern trail by night

This was during the COVID-19 lockdown.  After more than a fortnight of working in an isolated bubble on site at 101_OutdoorArts, the team installed the lanterns, and over 3000 people visted the  trail over a series of evening, in socially distanced groups, and many of them were just so happy to get out of the house and have an event to go to. It was an amazing thing to be part of.

Showing work by Andrew Kim, Kerith Ogden, Dave Young, Jess Kay, Stefan Pope, Sascha Gilmour, Ben Gabel, Melissa Pettitt, Handmade Parade, Thingumajig Theatre, Spacecadets, Mark Anderson, and local children.