Writing for Puppetry – The Next Step

 10am-5pm, Sunday 7th June 2015

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Location: Little Angel Studios, Islington, London

Underlying all successful performances is strong writing.

Just as the design and construction of a puppet is key to it’s ability to communicate, so it is with the design and construction of the ‘writerly’ aspects of performance.

When someone uses the term playwright we often think of someone writing dialogue on a page, but this is a very limited view of what writing a play means. Writing a play may or may not involve writing dialogue; it may or may not involve putting pen to paper to create a formal script, it may or may not be a solo activity. Quite often in puppetry dialogue is minimal, many puppetry plays are not committed to paper and often work is developed through a collaborative process.

What does it mean to ‘write’ a play?

Writing includes understanding how to: shape a narrative structure to guide the audience on an emotional or intellectual journey; craft action to define character, setting and circumstance; form dramatic tension, jeopardy and pace; and combine theatrical elements to convey a concept or theme.

I think of writing a play less as literary act of confining words to a page and more as an act of sculpting something that will exist in a three-dimensional form.

Does writing for puppets differ from writing for actors? 

Puppets can communicate in different ways to an actor. The way a puppet is handled, the materials it is made of, the presence of the puppeteer and a puppet’s strength to express in physical and visual ways makes puppetry a broad and complex theatrical language.

How can you write effectively for puppetry?

Well help is at hand – this Sunday, at the Writing for Puppetry – The Next Step.

During this one-day course a small group will have the opportunity to explore writing for puppetry, through tuition, discussion and practical work. We will look at:

  • Writing for the plot versus writing for the theme
  • Choosing the right kind of puppet for a scene
  • Writing with an awareness of visual language
  • Communicating through the physicality of the puppet
  • Different script formats and alternative ways of documenting structure
  • The role of the puppeteer within a performance
  • Developing work through a collaborative process
  • Dramaturgical techniques to help you get to the heart of what you want to say

The course is open to anyone interested in crafting a play or performance that includes puppetry. Participants will be expected to engage in some writing exercises, practical work with puppets and puppeteers as well as collaborate in discussion.

To book for Writing for Puppetry call our box office on 020 7226 1787. Visit our website HERE for more information.

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Blog author: Rachel Warr


The session is led by puppetry director and dramaturg Rachel Warr. We will be joined by some puppeteers who will help with the practical exploration and by some of Little Angel Theatre’s beautifully constructed puppets.

Rachel Warr is a theatre director, dramaturg and puppeteer. Her work has been presented at a range of UK theatres and international festivals. She is the Artistic Director of Dotted Line Theatre, a company which creates original work drawing on a variety of theatrical disciplines, in particular puppetry. Rachel was Little Angel Theatre’s Artistic Associate in 2012.

Links to previous writing for puppetry evening events: https://www.facebook.com/dottedlinetheatre/photos_stream

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