‘Scrap’ is a show that was first created during my third year of study at East 15 Acting School on their Contemporary Theatre Course. After seeing Robbie work magic with just a few bin bags to create what felt like a real living breathing dog, we spoke together about creating a story that belonged to this character and a world that fitted its ragtag materials.
With the bin bags came the link to rubbish, to waste and what it is we throw away. We both have a love for found object puppetry and the idea of creating puppets from what you’d find in a skip or a dump really appealed, the DIY feel was exciting.
Exploring the themes of renewal and recycling, we came up with the story of a young boy and his dog who must try and save their new home, the dump, from the rubbish that is piling up.
We performed the show at Launch Festival at East 15 with a cast of 8 and an absolute mountain of a set. We learnt a lot from the process and came away desire to scale things down.
Having secured University funding for the company, Robbie and myself are now hard at work redeveloping the show almost from scratch.
We decided to move rehearsals down to my home town of Ringwood after Forest Forge offered to support our company. Sharon and the team have been great in making us feel welcome and it’s been amazing being back in the building creating work after spending a large chunk of my childhood here. I joined the youth theatre aged 12 and was a founding member of The Gap project. The place feels like home and I wouldn’t have got into acting without it.
Puppetry still feels like a performance skill I’m getting to grips with so it’s been great to have puppeteer Anna Galek (a graduate from Central School of Speech and Drama’s puppetry course) join the cast and bring plenty of skill and experience with her. Josh Elwell, has taken on directing duties and has been brilliant: guiding us and helping us to shape the piece as an outside eye with years of experience in making puppetry theatre.
At times the process has felt unlike anything else I’ve done in theatre. With an absence of words, the storytelling is all visual and therefore every movement, every thought, has to be incredibly clear and precise. Rhythm, pace and fixed point of focus is so important in puppetry and being disciplined in really hitting each beat is proving to be challenging.
There’s been a lot of making to do and we’ve been busy in the workshop chopping bins, gluing cans and moulding toilet paper into owls. The pieces are starting to fall into place though and, along with the beautiful score Beatrice Granno is composing, it’s shaping up to be a lovely textured show.
We’re performing at a handful of schools at the end of this month before looking to book a more extensive schools tour in the spring. Also, there are plenty of other exciting plans on the horizon for this project- so watch this space!
Shoot First Theatre Company