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Arts Alive Commission Series of Insect Puppet Shows
16 Jun 2021
by Cathy Block

Arts Alive, Shropshire and Herefordshire’s rural touring scheme, are celebrating a flourishing relationship with The Fetch Theatre Company after having commissioned a raft of outdoor performances for 2021.

The West Midlands theatre group have a passion for puppetry and whilst live performances have been unable to go ahead during the lockdown, their Artistic Director, Andrew Purvin, devised a new puppet show that supersizes insects. Purvin is an internationally renowned puppeteer and puppet maker who has many years of experience in directing and designing for the professional stage.

After researching the insects, Purvin went about hand making the puppets on a large scale with natural and recycled materials. He said, “When you actually get up close to these creatures you can see they’re doing the most incredible things. These creatures are our key workers. They’re the ones feeding us, cleaning up after us. They’re the ones actually keeping this world alive.” The Fetch is using scientific knowledge from the Lapworth Museum to feed into their performances, such as a startling prediction that all insects could become extinct by the end of the century.

The outdoor touring show features three performers – a spider, a fly and a beetle. 

dragonfly
mantis

The puppets being prepped for Insect Safari

Cerin Mills, Live Events Programmer, said, “This is a fun, quirky and beautiful show suitable for all the family, and delivered outdoors in a Covid friendly set-up. The insect performers take you on a safari from their amazing bug hotel into a fantastical world of creatures that creep, crawl, fly, flutter and buzz. The show features incredible stories and facts from across the world. The original music, extraordinary puppets and ingenious set really bring the stories to life, and will truly amaze the audience!”

The Fetch Theatre adds, “Our safari is inspired by a wealth of fascinating insect facts and international stories that voice the myths and folklore of insects from the farthest reaches of the globe and closer to home. Take heed of the wisdom of the worlds oldest spider who roamed the lush, tropical swamps of the West Midlands over 30 million years ago and join us in celebrating the wondrous world of everything that creeps and crawls.”

Arts Alive has facilitated ‘Insect Safari’ to be performed at a number of events this year.

Arts Alive has partnered with The Hive and Shrewsbury Bid for free performances on Saturday, June 26 on the grounds of St Alkmunds Church in Shrewsbury at 11 am and 1:30 pm. 

They will perform at the Ludlow Fringe Festival on Sunday, June 27 on the grounds of Millennium Green at 11 am and 1:30 pm.

There are also performances planned on July 13 at Goodrich Primary School, July 18 in Whitchurch, August 4 as part of the Malinslee Park Picnic in Dawley, August 21 at Brilley Village Hall and September 4 and 5 at Shrewsbury Food Festival.

The 45-minute show is suitable for ages 5+. For more information on individual events visit artsalive.co.uk or www.facebook.com/ArtsAliveAndFlicks.