Dog Days - chapter one. Few people in the world are lucky enough to love their job. I am one of the fortunate few. Recently, my work with the Theatre Factory has become even more exciting now that we have launched ‘Dog Days’. Our new project will give me the opportunity to combine my two loves - Dogs and Puppets and will also involve taking our performers out of the Theatre and into the woods!
As a company, we’ve been meaning to perform outside for some time now, but we always seem to get drawn back to the comfort of four walls, using our own theatre, market, library or museum as a stage. We know they’re warm and dry! However, the Covid pandemic, with all of its restrictions has actually provided us with the real push we needed to brace the big ‘cold and wet’ outdoors.
So here’s the plan so far: We hope to build a giant, 3 metre long Border Collie puppet with Artist Aya Nakamura and make smaller rod puppets from recycled bottles and umbrellas. These will then be performed by our cast at a popular dog walking area as a pop up show. This way we’re not tied to times and dates that could, over night, be cancelled. A master plan I hear you cry! We’ve decided upon the woodland that wraps itself around Barrows ancient Furness Abbey. Abbots wood is a local beauty spot that should provide us with an audience no matter what day we visit. It is also a place that our company has history with.
Many years ago (I won’t say exactly how many!) I performed in Abbots wood with Rachel Ashtons earlier youth theatre, which also included my colleague and friend, Phill Gregg. We were just teenagers back then and my small part as a Starling, gave me the chance to stomp around the woods at night in stripy tights and Doc Martens, whilst squawking at unsuspecting audience members and having a lot of fun with my friends. Now it’s my turn to take this generation of young performers, including my own teenage daughter, to the very same woods, in the hope they too will experience something as life-affirming.
Watch this blog for more Dog Days.