Terrapin’s new show
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