Ter­rapin’s new show

Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Upfront - WORDS TIM MARTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY PETER MATHEW

Tas­ma­nia’s beloved Ter­rapin Pup­pet Theatre is tour­ing its chil­dren’s show The Rid­dle of Wash­pool

Gully around schools through­out the state, one of our state’s great artis­tic tra­di­tions.

The chil­dren who are mar­vel­ling at the pup­pets and mag­i­cal story may not be aware of it, but they are see­ing world-class per­for­mances right there in their school halls.

“The schools tour­ing show might be­gin in Tas­ma­nia each year, but when that sea­son is over it might go on to play in New York or Van­cou­ver or in Europe some­where,” Ter­rapin artis­tic direc­tor Sam Rout­ledge says. “That is the qual­ity of the work we are giv­ing to our Tas­ma­nian au­di­ences, to those kids at Rose­bery, Huonville or St Marys.”

Four rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ter­rapin are in the cul­tural hub of Aarhus, the sec­ond-largest city in Denmark, work­ing with Dan­ish company Gruppe 38 and Swiss company Trick­ster-p to pro­duce an im­mer­sive public art piece called

All This Com­ing and Go­ing, which was on show in the city’s har­bour district for four days last week.

“We’ve cre­ated a vil­lage of ship­ping con­tain­ers, up to three storeys high, and in each is an in­stal­la­tion the au­di­ence walks into,” Rout­ledge says from Denmark.

“It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence to work with these com­pa­nies and to dis­cover that the skills we brought with us are very much in de­mand. It shows that what we do at Ter­rapin is re­spected as far away as Europe.”

Rout­ledge says Ter­rapin pushes the bound­aries of pup­petry. Its show In­fi­nite Corpse, part of this year’s Dark Mofo, in­vited mem­bers of the public to con­trib­ute to the live draw­ing of a mon­ster on a gi­ant video screen.

It also pro­duced an im­mer­sive in­stal­la­tion project in the UK called I Think I Can, which com­prised a model rail­way and vil­lage pop­u­lated with minia­ture pup­pets, and mem­bers of the public could have a fig­ure rep­re­sent­ing them placed in the story.

The Royal Shake­speare Company com­mis­sioned a Ro­man Vil­lage ver­sion of the same con­cept to be part of its Ro­man sea­son of plays this year, the re­sult­ing work be­ing shown at Strat­ford-Upon-Avon, Shake­speare’s home town.

The Rid­dle of Whirlpool Gully – fea­tur­ing pup­peteers Guy Hooper, Melissa King and Drew Wil­son (pic­tured) – is a re­turn to tra­di­tional pup­petry.

“It’s about a boy who dis­cov­ers a crea­ture in the bush. They go on an ad­ven­ture to­gether,” Rout­ledge says. “It’s a bit of an Aus­tralian Gothic story.”

The Rid­dle of Wash­pool Gully is tour­ing Tas­ma­nian schools through­out Term Three. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit ter­rapin.org.au

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