Congratulations String Theatre!
Photo: Stan Middleton and Soledad Zarate with their award.
String Theatre have returned from two Serbian Puppet Festivals bringing British Puppetry to one festival for the first time and another for only the second. They received an award for their work - Stan Middleton tells the story of their Serbian tour and more about their work.
String Theatre Marionettes was founded two years ago by myself (Stan Middleton) and Soledad Zarate, with the creation of our first long-string marionette production ̒The Red Balloon̓. Inspired by the film by Albert Lamorrise, the show tells the story of a small boy̓s friendship with a balloon and explores the poignancy of a child̓s imagination. Performed entirely to specially commissioned music composed by my brother Josh Middleton, the show has no language barriers and so is easily accessible to audiences across the world. After the success of our first international tour to India in 2011, this year we decided to embark on a tour to Eastern Europe to present the show at two international festivals in Serbia: 14th International Puppet Festival ̒Golden Sparkle̓, in Kragujevac, and the 19th International Festival of Children̓s Theatre in Subotica. We presented the show on the double-bridge steel touring stage previously used by my grandparents Juliet and Gren Middleton for Movingstage.
We strongly believe in the power of puppetry to bring people together across the world and this is particularly important in a country like Serbia where historical events may have affected how many people view the international community. We were the first UK company ever to perform at the Kragujevac festival and the second ever in Subotica. Both of these are very well-established, international festivals. While at the festivals, we had the opportunity to see work, and meet puppeteers, from all over the world which is always very inspiring. While at the festival in Kragujevac, String Theatre won an award for manipulation. We spend a great deal of time rehearsing and choreographing our manipulation as the story relies heavily on this so that the audience can follow the plot without dialogue -so it was nice to know that our weeks of rehearsing had paid off! We would like to thank Josh Middleton, Rose Leahy, Fabio Riccuto and Sara Brown for their invaluable help on tour and Step Beyond Travel Grants for helping with the costs of the trip.
We are currently working on our new production ̒The Marionette Insect Circus̓ and will be premiering it in December at Pesta Boneka International puppet festival, Yogyacarta, Indonesia. In the meantime, if you would like to see ̒The Red Balloon̓ we will be performing at the Rose Theatre in Kingston on the 7th of July as part of the International Youth Arts festival. For more information about String Theatre Marionettes please take a look here or find us on Facebook.
Photo below: ̒The Red Balloon̓