The Firebird

Building the Firebird Dragon Puppet

While all the puppets for this production of the Firebird pose unique challenges, the scale of the Firebird Dragon puts it in its own category.

Firebird Dragon

Dragon Maquette on left and full size body showing puppeteer’s seat on right

Firebird Dragon Skeleton

The ‘skeleton’ of the Dragon has been designed in collaboration with structural engineers and is constructed from aluminium. Specialised parts have been engineered to work with the movement required, meet safety requirements and be light enough to be suspended during the performance.

Firebird Dragon shoulder joint

Custom engineering to support the bearing that acts as the Dragon’s shoulder.

Wings

When it unfurls its wings the completed Dragon will have a wingspan of 10m (33ft), defying its 200 kilograms as it flies gracefully over the heads of the dancers below.

Head

The head is also primarily aluminium, hand bent and welded. It will be powder coated before being having the eyes inserted and then being skinned in vellum and copper. The long ‘horns’ are actually a structural element in that they counter-balance the head.

Firebird Dragon

The dragon’s head under construction

Dragon Eye

Dragon and Bird’s eyes on the workbench after polishing