In Phillip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials‘, there is a world in which each person has a ‘dæmon‘ – a kind of animal spirit which is a part of their being, with them always and at times can act like a conscience. I joined Blind Summit in what would be an epic production of Pullman’s series that involved many different approaches to puppet construction.
Working under the guidance of Nick Barnes – myself, Paul Vincett and many hard working interns helped produce larger than life polar bears, tiny Gallivespians on dragonfly steeds, and a variety of plastazote animals designed to be puppeteered by a single actor.
My part on the project involved carving what seemed like hundreds of polar bear claws, (a dozen in reality). Carving and clothing three Gallivespians.A crash course in freeform plastazote pattern cutting, (which until that point I had only done by sculpting a form and taking the pattern from it). My most challenging achievement on this project being the head of Hester the Hare. It took me many attempts to get her head looking just right and I’m still very happy with it.
‘His Dark Materials’ was directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and Sarah Esdaile and shown at Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse and various national theatres on tour in 2009.