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CULTURE : Puppets take to the streets in dynamic new event.

The International Puppet Festival Consortium in the West Midlands, which comprises Midland Arts Centre, Puppetlink and Puppeteers UK, has announced a new puppet festival to take place this summer at venues around the West Midlands region.

The first of what it is hoped will be an annual event, dynamics 05 runs from today (May 23) until June 12, and features some of the most respected puppeteers and puppet theatre companies in the world.

As well as theatres, which include, mac, Number 8 in Pershore, Wolverhampton's Newhampton Arts Centre, and The Edge Arts Centre in Much Wenlock, dynamics 05 will also take shows to libraries, museums and parks, as well as Telford Shopping Centre, Castle Vale and Sheldon Heath artSites in Birmingham, and even a Farmer's Market.

Clive Chandler, Festival Director, said 'I've wanted to produce an international festival like this for several years, and thanks to our partners in the International Puppet Festival Consortium, we've finally made the dream a reality.

'There is so much depth and scope in puppetry, both from international companies and UK artists, that I think people will be really surprised by what they see. Puppetry has moved with the times, but it is unique, I believe, in that it is one of the few artforms where you can completely marry tradition with innovation. Within dynamics 05 audiences will be able to see many traditional and well loved tales recreated, but also lots of new stuff, using new technology and mixed media to bring puppets slap bang into the 21st century.'

Dynamics 05 will present performers from all over the world, including Switzerland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Canada, Hong Kong and Portugal, as well as from the UK. Highlights include a specially commissioned new work, King Of The Castle, directed by Steve Tiplady, Artistic Director of The Little Angel Theatre. Steve recently collaborated with Greg Doran on the RSCAEs award-winning production of Venus and Adonis, and King Of The Castle will combine music, physical theatre, object manipulation and shadow-play in a fascinating re-working of Macbeth.

Other highlights include a World Premiere from Canada and Hong Kong's All Theatre Company, and a UK premiere from S.A Marionetas & Bonecos from Portugal. The weekend of the 11th and 12th June will feature an array of companies and artists transforming the whole of mac into a puppet heaven, with performances taking place in the theatres, studios, both indoors and out during a two day extravaganza.

Accompanying dynamics 05 will be a series of training and professional development workshops aimed both at puppeteers as well as members of the public, and an education and outreach programme with local schools Eight schools in Birmingham have been selected to take part in an extraordinary one-off event produced by the BBC and Shakespeare Schools Festival.

On the evening of Sunday July 3, pupils will take part in 'One Night of Shakespeare', involving 400 schools across the country performing 30minute Shakespeare productions in 100 professional theatres across the UK on the same night.

The cast will perform their own interpretation of a 30minute version of one of Shakespeare's plays at either The Crescent or The Artrix in Bromsgrove.

At The Crescent will be Fairfax School (The Taming of the Shrew), Hamstead Hall School (Romeo and Juliet),The Earls High School (A Midsummer's Night Dream) and Hodge Hill Girls' School (Macbeth).

At The Artrix will be King Edward VI Five Ways School (The Tempest), Baverstock Foundation School and Specialist Sports College (Romeo and Juliet), Highclare School (Twelfth Night) and Forest Oak School (Macbeth).

From The Shetland Islands to Bodmin, Enniskillen to Norwich 'One Night of Shakespeare' involves a huge amount of work in schools across the country.

Teachers will attend director workshops specially devised by the MAP Consortium for the event, receiving guidance on how to direct Shakespeare on a bare stage, focussing on physical theatre direction, staging and ensemble work. Every cast member will also attend workshops delivered by the National Youth Theatre, Scottish Youth Theatre and National Youth Theatre of Wales and the Ulster Association of Youth-Drama.

Later in the year, as part of the BBC's continuing commitment to Shakespeare, Shirley Henderson, Rufus Sewell, Sarah Parish, Billie Piper, Damian Lewis, James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes will star in modern adaptations of Shakespeare plays on BBC One

Vulture hears that BBC brass, going through a little dispute with the workers at the moment, have actually intimated that they can't pay out money to the hoi-polloi as they need all their cash to tie in their on-air and on-screen 'stars' (yes, they mean Adrian Goldberg) for fear they will fly to lucrative jobs in the commercial sector.

Why not get rid of all these 'personalities' and spend the money on making programmes again. Remember those? Bring back wireless, says Vulture
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 23, 2005
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