The work of Frank Mumford was first introduced to me back in the early ‘70s when puppeteer John Blundall showed me some programmes and pictures of his shows. Years later, and somewhat to my surprise, I found out that he was still alive and performing a series of shows at the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Together with my wife, we went to see the show only to discover that we were the only audience for that particular performance. Realising we were puppeteers, Frank insisted on performing the show for just us. How lucky we were, and our friendship began!
Two years ago I heard from puppeteer Darryl Worbey that a documentary film about Frank’s life was being developed by film-maker Richard Butchins via crowd-funding site Indie GoGo, and last summer I spent a happy afternoon with Frank and team on location.
The premiere of Richard’s documentary An Attic Full Of Puppets was held at the V & A Museum last Sunday and was certainly one of the highlights of the 2013 London Suspense Festival. It opened to an expectant and excited full house and closed to a standing ovation.
Butchins’ documentary chronicles Franks life as a puppeteer, artist and designer from his earliest years, reflecting on the very best of times and some of the difficult ones up to present day. It includes priceless recently re-discovered archive footage and celebrates Frank and his lifes work.
Now 95, and very deaf, Frank is still as witty and sharp as ever - a comic delight and pure showman! His relationship with Richard is wonderful - a big Thank You to him for capturing this so magically in his film.
This film is a must-see experience for all people who have a lust for life.
Ronnie Le Drew
Sadly, Frank Mumford died on 4 July 2014 aged 95
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