All posts filed under: The Firebird

This production of The Firebird, directed by Janni Younge of Handspring Puppet Company and choreographed by Jay Pather is a puppet and dance performance set to Stravinsky’s original score.

Below are the blog posts about the creation process, click here for full information on the show and here to see the cast and creative team.

workshop visit

A visit to the puppet studio

Video Tour The puppet studio is buzzing right now as our puppets are coming together in time for rehearsals to begin on Monday. Many friends have visited us over the past weeks, and we’ve been doing a very brief tour around for them. I know many others would like to have a peek too so here’s a little 2 minute guided tour.

firebird workshops

Firebird workshop process

Workshop Process Over the period of a year leading up to the rehearsals for The Firebird we have been engaged in a series of creative firebird workshops. This is a method of creation used by Handspring Puppet Company in the development of War Horse with the National Theatre in London. It is a very effective way of developing a final product drawn from the cast and refined over time.


The Firebird

Presented by IMG Artists in association with Janni Younge Productions A live performance to the original composition by Igor Stravinsky Puppetry and dance performance designed and directed by Janni Younge of Handspring Puppet Company Choreographed by Jay Pather   Jump to Synopsis The Characters Director’s Note Choreographer’s Note Introduction This production of The Firebird, directed by Janni Younge and choreographed by Jay Pather, is a puppet and dance performance set to Stravinsky’s original score. Janni Younge’s Firebird draws on the symbolism and dramaturgy of Fokine’s original choreography (based on figures from Russian folklore) and reinterprets them in a contemporary South African setting, using larger-than-life puppets and African dance forms. Background The Firebird began as a conversation between IMG Artists and Handspring Puppet Company in early 2013. The proposal from IMG was to create a puppet theatre production to be performed to live classical music in large summer concert venues throughout the US. As the idea took hold The Firebird was settled on partly for its powerfully rich and moving musical score and partly for its association with mythic …

Building the Firebird Puppets

Transposing the Characters of the original Firebird We have created puppet figures as visual metaphors for the emotional content. So the qualities of inspiration and passion (the original firebird character) are represented by birdlike images. At first these images are created simply with sheets of paper. As the Seeker builds her confidence the birds become clearer, more strongly manifest. They are her birds, her own creative forces. We found form for the energies of doubt and aggression (the original Kastchei) in the increasingly detailed snakes and dog-like creatures. The qualities of innocence and playfulness (the original Princesses) take the form of children. In designing these puppets I recognised that particular materials had great resonance with specific energies. So the paper became the signature material for the creative forces while sticks and rattan became the material representation of the sharper, harder qualities of the destructive power. The innocent is captured in the translucent vellum, a soft and flexible material which, when dry, forms a beautiful but brittle skin. As the apparently conflicting forces interact, they begin to …