Eight-metre puppet tells beloved tale
BOLTON’S beautiful Queen’s Park played host to a performance of Gulliver’s Travels, the last of the 50th anniversary shows of the Octagon Theatre and the last to be directed by Elizabeth Newman, the current artistic director, before her departure for Pitlochry.
Ben Occhipinti co-directed the show.
His work, recently seen by Bolton audiences, was his sensitive treatment of Ayub Khan Din’s play, East is East, that breathed new life into this iconic work of the 1960s.
The philosophy of theatre in Bolton has always been that the people are the theatre, an integral part of the theatre ‘family.’
Theatre staff work closely with all community groups and are particularly proud of their work with refugees and asylum seekers.
Involved in the creation of this Gulliver’s Travels show were Bolton Fire Brigade, Jumbles Sailing Club, Sea Cadets, the RNLI, the 216 Battery, Bolton Music Service, Carrs Pasties, BATS and the Bolton Events and Parks Team.
Ben said: “It was fantastic to be bringing together a company of young performers, community companies and choirs, joined by a cast of professional actors, working together to bring Gulliver’s Travels to life.”
Gulliver’s Travels is based on the novel by Jonathan Swift and the story has relevance to society today.
There are insights into the uses of power, the erosion of good intent by power in the people who possess it and the recognition of the flaws inherent in human behaviour that are magnified with the possession of power.
This new adaptation, written by Satinder Johan and Mike Kenny, contains the element of the joy of theatre that allowed us to enter into the realms of a child’s world where happy endings and love ever after is the norm, the element of audience participation creating a joyful and enjoyable experience for all ages.
The puppetry used in this production was remarkable – Gulliver standing a full eight metres tall.
He was moved with dexterity into each of the four locations and was truly amazing as was the one eye that peered over the battlements of the king’s castle as Gulliver’s fate was discussed by the Lilliputian emperor.
Made in Hebden Bridge at Handmade Parade, the original concept for Gulliver was that of Sue Hill, while the design and making of the puppets was that of Kerith Ogden.
Gulliver’s Travels was an exciting performance, its staging and direction remarkable, a fitting tribute to Elizabeth
●●The puppet of Gulliver, used in Gulliver’s Travels on Queen’s Park, Bolton