Produced by Moving Parts Arts, City Stadium, Newcastle, Sunday 22nd August 2021.
Tyne Rising – a specially commissioned outdoor theatre performance for the award winning Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2021 – took place at the City Stadium in Heaton and, fair to say, it was a huge hit among the sold out audience.
Directed by Andrew Kim, who has put on innovative puppet spectacles all over the world, this ambitious performance consisted of giant puppets and a costumed ensemble accompanied by a live band (Hannabiell & Midnight Blue) and music composed by Hannabiell Sanders.
Set fifty years in the future, when the River Tyne has broken its banks and strange giant creatures have been unleashed across the city, it sees the people of Tyneside having to work together to put things right and save the day.
We were seated in our social bubbles on blankets and deckchairs in the middle of the arena, while the performers used the natural slope of the landscape as the stage. (As we unfurled our blanket and settled in for the performance, the sun came out – hooray!)
One by one large headed people clad all in white wandered down into the stadium like a surreal 60's sci-fi film, before carefully choreographed rolling waves and a cast of various giant creatures began to appear from behind a curtain of trees.
Giant jellyfish looked magical as their silver strands caught the light and floated in the breeze; and an impressive giant teeth chomping creature by Thingumajig Theatre (who bit one of the human performers on the bum – which raised a laugh) was so believable that for a moment I forgot there was a real person working it.
The bouncy bright orange fish and dancing flowers looked as though they were having a ball and some very clever staging and striking colourful theatre design brought all the elements together.
This was a Moving Parts production, but a word too for the other acclaimed makers in the field – who helped to make this event so special – that included Judith Hope, Handmade Parade and Hazelsong Theatre, as well as the performers from Bell and Bullock Street Theatre. And I’d also like to offer a big pat on the back for the huge team of over 120 volunteers and placement makers who all added to the uplifting community atmosphere.
The environmental theme appealed to both families with young children and adults, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this talented production team create next.
Moving Parts Puppet School is now taking bookings for their new Autumn courses starting in September.