Born: June 2009
Boggle the frog is a theatre ‘luvvie’ with an IQ that is simply off the charts…or at least, that’s what he’d like you to think. He has a fantastic sense of humour and loves to play a game called ‘Fact or Fiction’ – often admitting that he really enjoys ‘making stuff up, to see if you will believe everything!’… So. if he tells you something is a fact, you better be curious enough to make certain he isn’t fibbing…!
BABY RAGGLES AND GRANDPA
Born: June 2009
Baby Raggles and Grandpa were our first ever workshop puppets, and Raggles in particular is a favourite. While Grandpa is easily distracted telling stories to visiting children, Raggles will play hide and seek, often disappearing into many imaginations until bed time!
Born: February 2010
Yabbie is a large, colourful bird who helps children learn how to co-puppeteer and work as a team. He is also something of a chatterbox, and will literally talk non stop to anyone who will engage in conversation with him. Up to five people can puppeteer together to bring this highly interactive character to life – One operating his head and beak, one on each foot and one on each wing. Yabbie is a very popular character, particularly in school workshops.
Born: March 2010
Pepper is a paper moth, who was our first ‘flying’ puppet. She is based on the moth logo that our creative director Clare designed for Symbiotic Theatre, and features in the Aziki stories as a kind of ‘spirit guide’ or ‘guardian angel’. Her job is to guide Aziki the Gorilla through his imagination, helping him to learn about morals, good judgement and consequences.
Born: April 2010
Seesaw is one half of a bearded dragon double act, and was the first brown paper prototype made for these roles. She proved so popular with the children she met, that she has ended up appearing at our puppet making workshops ever since! She also inspired us to take the character concept to a whole new level when creating her sister, ‘Roundabout’.
Born: July 2011
Roundabout is a bearded dragon with a bit of creative flare! Inspired by her sister, Seesaw, Roundabout appears in two different puppet forms – first, we created a ‘stunt double’ by transforming a remote controlled snake car into a cheeky, high-speed character who actually runs across the stage (and sometimes into the audience) and then, we recreated the same character as a talking hand and arm puppet. In some shows, these two puppets play the roles of ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Seesaw’, in others, they both become ‘Roundabout’ – One who can talk, the other who can run! Roundabout’s favourite word of all time is ‘Kerfuffel’, and she really let’s you hear about it if she thinks you are responsible for making one!
AZIKI THE GORILLA
Born: April 2011
Aziki the Gorilla was the first character devised by Clare in response to demand from Symbiotic Theatre’s Community Company, ‘Don’t Mention the Gorilla!’. As part of the team at Symbiotic who were responsible for introducing this theatre programme (for adults with lived experience of Mental Ill health) Clare took the lead in responding to participants suggestions that the company adapted a programme with similar aims for children. From there, it was a small leap towards puppetry and story telling. Initially this character was known as ‘Symbo’, but his name was changed after the work for children’s audiences outgrew Symbiotic’s capacity to develop it.
The Aziki Project was relaunched in 2012, appearing at community festivals, exhibitions, events and a preview performance ‘Aziki and the Pecans’ at Mount Gould children’s hospital. A brand new show featuring Aziki and all his friends will remain ‘in holding’ until we’re fully funded to redevelop it on a larger scale. ‘Under the Stairs’ is being written in our spare time, but is ultimately a show that requires a larger production…
“Thud. Thud. Thud! Went the footsteps, Up the stairs and down again. Down the stairs and Up again. The noise just never stopped! Under the stairs, the cupboard became a hiding place for a small and timid gorilla, named Aziki. Who didn’t like the noise. Who had lost something very important, and had gone exploring inside his imagination to find it…”
Born: August 2011
Shadow the spider is Aziki’s best friend, and appears in all of the Aziki stories. A very friendly and wise character, Shadow’s role is to help Aziki – and the audience – to face and overcome their fears. Shadow appears in many different forms, as a hand/glove puppet, a marionette and a shadow.
Born: August 2013
The Pecans – Lily, Mumma, Pappa, Pops, Cashew and Peanut – are a talkative bunch of snap dragon puppets that live in the Tree on Pecan Point, inside Aziki’s Imagination. Their role is to portray a variety of family dynamics and support the audience to explore lots of problems from multiple perspectives. They are a lively, characterful bunch who enjoy a good, healthy debate, often needing the audience’s help to resolve their own differences of opinion.
The baby of the bunch, Lily Pecan, helps Pappa to learn that Aziki isn’t being rude when he won’t talk to them, but that he is just shy and cannot find hos voice. A popular character with children who are on the Autistic spectrum, these characters are also very easy to make, and performances featuring them are often accompanied by a workshop where we show children and their grown-ups how to make them. Older children may also have the puppets they make put on the tree to become an animated part of the show too!
Born: All the time!
Almost all of our work will use some shadow puppetry at some point. Shadow puppets are beautifully engaging for audiences of all ages and ability levels, and can really help to bring sections of story to life. Our next creative learning escapade, ‘Shadows of Light’ draws on a combination of shadow play and live puppetry performance to tell many tales. We also love to create and use Shadow Puppets in our workshops, and have many shadow screens, light boxes and canvases for children to interact and experiment with. This approach is also brilliant for children who don’t think they are confident enough to perform on stage in front of an audience, as they can learn skills to build confidence without feeling vulnerable, from behind the safety of a screen.
Many More Puppet Profiles are on the way…it may take us a while to list all of them! 🙂