Eight-me­tre pup­pet tells beloved tale

Rochdale Observer - - WHAT’S ON WITH ALL ACROSS THE ARTS -

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

New­man and her devo­tion and pas­sion for

●●The pup­pet of Gul­liver, used in Gul­liver’s Trav­els on Queen’s Park, Bolton

Ge­orgie Scott in­clud­ing na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ra­dio and print in­ter­views and was in­volved in the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 film Suf­fragette. The Sun­day be­fore In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day each year, He­len leads an an­nual

●●He­len Pankhurst

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