Part of the Fermenting Change Skills Laboratories program.

Multi-award winning and acclaimed theatre-maker Neville Tranter of Stuffed Puppet Theatre returned to Melbourne in January 2015 exclusively for Black Hole Theatre as part of our Fermenting Change Skills Laboratories program. In a career spanning over 40 years, Neville has made a name for himself as a creator of complex, confronting and thought-provoking original theatre. Since the 1980s his work has tackled difficult subject matters; exploring characters that struggle within their circumstances, their backgrounds, the inevitable passing of time and the often tragic limitations of their lives. Originally from Queensland, Neville has lived and worked in Amsterdam for almost 40 years and is a giant in the international puppetry community, The Sum of the Whole is a unique opportunity to learn from a modern master.

About: The Sum of the Whole

Participants discovered puppetry as a powerful theatrical device, exploring the relationship between puppet and puppeteer and how the use of space, text and sound can shape a dynamic and compelling performance experience. Over five days, Neville guided the group through exercises exploring:

  • The role of puppeteer as performer
  • Puppeteer and puppet relationship – who serves who?
  • How the manipulation of the puppet affects the audience
  • The “body language” of the puppet and that of the puppeteer
  • Choreography, breath, and use of space.

Throughout the masterclass, participants worked individually and in small groups to develop short scenes, building towards more complex work integrating space, text, and sound. This workshop was open to all professional and emerging puppeteers, theatre-makers, and performing artists interested in exploring puppetry in performance.

About Neville Tranter

Born in Toowoomba in 1955, Neville completed his drama studies with US director Robert Gist in Queensland in 1976. He founded Stuffed Puppet Theatre the same year. In 1978 he performed in Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools (street theatre) and never left. In Amsterdam he developed his typical style of visual theatre and large talking-head puppets.

In his own brutal, ruthless but poetic way, he confronts the audience with their fears and dreams, urges and desires, often personified by puppets. Combining a minimal decor with sophisticated music, lighting and sound, using the oldest devices of the theatre as well as state of the art technology, Neville Tranter is capable of evoking images that the audience will not forget for a long time. His combination of down to earth humour, deadly seriousness and virtuoso puppetry has already made permanent converts of many who had presumed puppetry had nothing to offer them.

WHEN: 10am – 5pm, 19 – 23 January 2015
WHERE: Melbourne Polytechnic,  144 High Street Prahran Victoria 3181 Australia
COST: 10am – 5pm, 19 – 24 January 2015

The Sum of the Whole is part of Fermenting Change, proudly supported by the Australia Council.