The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre turn 40 next year which is a long time to be in the Performance business. And, yet I believe there are many people who are not aware of how they operate or what they do.
Natalie Bell, executive producer from Spare Parts took us on a journey behind the scenes and showed us all aspects of production. Her role includes the production of the theatre as well as accessing grants and the public relations and marketing so necessary to attract the customers. It sounded like an exciting and varied job role including bucket loads of passion and fun.
Natalie’s presentation challenged my expectations of what puppetry is. In my head I had images of Punch and Judy type productions and had not consciously thought about the interaction between puppets and humans on stage, giant puppets and utilization of animation and media as part of the production.
I found the creative process for the development of the production really interesting! Those involved in the creation would grab some puppets and play with them, developing dialogue and story lines as they played. I don’t know about the other 10 teachers who were participating but it had me thinking about how much better my delivery would be if I created my lessons using that strategy!
We were all interested in career paths into the industry and while many of the staff have degrees from WAAPA, having a passion for performance and volunteering in the industry seemed to be the predominate way of gaining entry.
Spare Parts, like most aspects of the performance industry have been hit hard by the Pandemic. They have kept people employed doing maintenance and free online activities and are rolling out paid puppetry workshops to stay afloat. It is only a small theatre at 1 Short Street, Fremantle so social distancing will prevent productions for a while.
If you are interested in saving a starving puppet, Spare Parts have an adopt a puppet program that is bound to make you feel good for contributing.
Check out the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre here: http://www.sppt.asn.au/
Sandra is our Director at Skills Strategies International and the driving force behind the unique approach we take at SSI.
With over 25 years experience in the training indu.