Puppet theatre start up wins funding boost
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
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Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre is the brainchild of Helen Hopcroft, Frank Oakes and a group of actors from Maitland Repertory Theatre who range in age from 19-74. Oakes, a past president of the Repertory Theatre, attended the Centre for 21st Century Humanities Startup Workshop in 2017, which provided inspiration, advice and practical assistance to develop fledging humanities businesses. Frank’s pitch for the puppet theatre was one of the winning start ups at the workshop and was awarded seed funding to launch the theatre.
The team behind Frank's puppet theatre are fundraising to convert an old horse float into a portable puppet theatre so they can take the theatre on the road. Theatre manager Helen Hopcroft says their vision is to tell traditional fairy tales in new ways for contemporary families, and to share puppetry with audiences across the Hunter Valley, however they need some new equipment to enable them to do that effectively.
“Our theatre is currently three large sheets of plywood that are transported on top of someone’s car, then bolted together when we reach our destination,” Ms Hopcroft said.
“Our vision is to take a donated horse float and convert it into a portable puppet theatre so we can share our performances with more families across the region.”
“So far we have performed at festivals, markets, art galleries, birthday parties, libraries, daycare centres, shopping malls and on the street in Maitland. We’ve travelled to Newcastle, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock, and further up the Hunter Valley to places like Singleton.”
The theatre’s next performance is at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney on Sunday 10thJune at 12.30pm at a free event as part of The Australian Fairy Tale Society conference.
“Puppetry is a literacy-rich and accessible art form that engages children and shows them that stories, and literature, are highly malleable things. With a horse float, we could travel further afield and bring puppetry to more venues and events across the Hunter,” Ms Hopcroft said.