Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre is a portable puppet theatre based in Maitland. We decided to start a puppet theatre in early 2017, spending most of the year making puppets, building a theatre, and writing scripts. Our vision was to tell traditional fairy tales in new ways for contemporary families, and to share puppetry with audiences across the Hunter Valley.
Our theatre is currently three large sheets of plywood that are transported on top of someone’s car, then bolted together when we reach our destination. So far we have performed at festivals, markets, art galleries, birthday parties, libraries, daycare centres, shopping malls and on the street in Maitland. We’ve travelled to Newcastle, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock, and further up the Hunter Valley to places like Singleton. Our vision is to take a donated horsefloat and convert it into a portable puppet theatre so we can share our performances with families across the region.
Our project is important because, well, the Arts are important. People form their attitudes to culture very early in life, and we see kids being entranced by our puppet theatre. It’s a literacy rich and accessible art form that engages children and shows them that stories, and literature, are highly malleable things. With a horsefloat, we could travel further afield and bring puppetry to more venues and events across the Hunter.
Our team includes people who range in age from 19-74. At the moment, it’s the 74 year old- Frank- who carries the plywood theatre around on his roofracks. Using a horsefloat as a theatre would reduce many of our handling risks, as the plywood sheets are heavy to handle. They can be difficult to erect in windy conditions.
A horsefloat theatre would make our operation much easier, safer and sustainable. We’d also be able to store puppets, props and sound and light equipment in the float.
The donations will be used to convert the donated horsefloat into a functional puppet theatre. We’d also need to buy new tyres, and pay for registration and insurance. Much of this labour we can do ourselves- we’ve got a strong DIY ethos and a decent collective skill set- but in some cases (wiring and welding) we’d need to hire tradespeople to work on our float. The horsefloat does need some TLC, but we’d like to bring it back to life. We’d love you to be part of this journey!