Theatre Design students help with technical rehearsals for UK puppetry production tour

Students Michael Morrison and Suwoo Son work with NTU alumna and Ding Foundation founder Amelia Pimlott on new production

Ding Foundation staff and students on stage
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(L-R) Ding Foundation founder Amelia Pimlott, students Michael Morrison and Suwoo Son, and composer Hannah Marshall

The Ding Foundation is a London-based theatre company run by NTU alumna of BA (Hons) Theatre Design, designer and maker Amelia Pimlott, together with musician and composer Hannah Marshall.

The work produced by the foundation is intended for touring and combines objects, puppets, people and sets in a unique blend of visual theatre, object animation and music, with the aim of telling stories about the human condition and society in surprising and playful ways.

The Ding Foundation’s most recent production, Wild Life, saw Amelia returning to the theatre space in the Waverley building 22 years after graduating from the course. She worked with several undergraduate students of BA (Hons) Theatre Design, and a postgraduate student specialising in puppetry and digital animation, to prepare and rehearse the set before taking the show on tour across the UK.

The Wild Life story combines physical theatre & puppetry to address issues of loneliness & fear, focusing on a woman living alone in a flat where strange things start to happen around her. The production has been created in collaboration with Brazilian actress and director, Angela de Castro, who specialises in theatrical clowns.

The company spent a week with the students in preparation for their tour – the connection for the collaboration having been firmly established through contact with senior lecturer and professional puppeteer, Sean Myatt.

Ding Foundation students working in the studio
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Theatre Design students Michael Morrison and Suwoo Son helping on set

Sean commented: “ This is a great opportunity for our students to work on a live production with a professional theatre company. We’re very grateful to Amelia and her team for the hands-on experience this has given them of putting together a live show. The whole year will also be visiting the production when it is staged at the Nottingham Lakeside Arts venue later in October."

Final-year student, Michael Morrison, was involved in helping to develop set and props for the show. He said: “I met Amelia Pimlott, one of the founders of the Ding Foundation, during my placement last year where I was working as an assistant designer with Stephen Tiplady, a shadow puppet director."

"I made puppets and props and had the opportunity to comment and help the project, since it was a devised piece and the team was small so we all had an opinion. This extra experience with the Ding Foundation has really helped me to understand how everything comes together.”

Suwoo Son was also involved in the rehearsal development process. She said: “I really enjoy the model making and puppetry aspects of the course. This has been a great opportunity to make props and watch rehearsals; I particularly enjoyed observing the puppet manipulation.”

Commenting on the process of coming back to NTU and working with the students, Amelia said: “ Being back at NTU feels quite surreal – I really enjoyed my time here, it’s a fantastic course. The process of working with the students has been great – they are very engaged and full of ideas – give them a brief and they get on with it!”

Find out more about the Ding Foundation on their website.

Theatre Design students help with technical rehearsals for UK puppetry production tour

Published on 17 October 2017
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design

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