Puppetry pulled at heartstrings
WHEN set, costume and puppet designer Iona McAuley first worked on Spare Parts Puppet Theatre Company’s production The Night Zoo in 2009, she was fresh out of WAAPA and only recently discovered her love for puppetry.
“I always had this idea that I was never into puppets and then my boyfriend at the time suggested we see Spare Parts show, TheDeep,” she said.
“I immediately realised how wrong I’d been and wanted to be a puppet designer. I thought back through my life as a child and all the things I had enjoyed, most of them were actually puppets.
“I thought puppets where just all Punch and Judy, but as soon as I saw the show I fell in love with them and was totally converted, so when they offered me the position here it was the best thing ever.”
The company will present a return season of TheNightZoo from January 5 to 31, which follows the story of a young girl who lives in an apartment and longs for a pet.
“She dreams she becomes friends with the animals from the zoo and then during the story she actually finds a dog,” the Scottish- born designer said.
“Most of the animals are rod puppets but the giraffe, elephant and orang-utan are body puppets where the actors are actually wearing them.”
McAuley, who is also an associate at SPPT and facilitates the company’s puppetry workshops, said she had a hands-on design approach and collaborated with writer/director Michael Barlow and actors to make the best show possible.
The Night Zoo’s summer school holiday season follows the schools-only season at the end of term four, which included a community enrichment program with WA-based property group Hawaiian assisting primary schools including North Cottesloe Primary School to experience the show.
“Seeing the reactions of the kids is what really gives me a buzz,” McAuley said.
“Knowing you’ve done something and then they’re laughing or crying, having that emotional response to it, is just so rewarding.”
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre Company set, costume and puppet designer Iona McAuley with Rufus.