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Huge puppets roam streets of Keyham

The Barbican Theatre team brought its popular giant Puppet Parade back to the streets of Plymouth this summer.

Following the success of the first event in St Judes last summer, which attracted nearly 1,000 people, Barbican Theatre and Above Bounds Theatre Collective brought a parade of giant ocean-themed puppets to the cobbled back alleys of Keyham.

Working with expert puppet makers Ruth Webb and Zenna Tagney, from Lostwithiel Puppets, Barbican Theatre held puppet-making workshops at St Johnstone’s Sport & Social Club in Keyham the previous month.

Watch our video of the street puppets above

Working with local people (in creative bubbles to ensure safe social distancing), over the two days they built their own Funky Prawns to accompany a custom-made 7m-high fisherman puppet.

Materials used were predominantly scrap or upcycled, much of which was sourced from Plymouth Scrapstore.

Also joining the parade in Keyham were members of Barbican Theatre’s ReBels, who designed and built their own giant jellyfish, as well as members of Above Bound Theatre who brought their Fish-Go-Disco light up puppets to entertain residents.

Accompanying the parade – and getting everyone in the party spirit – was the Theatre’s own Junk Band, featuring members of ReBels who had been working with percussionist Benji Isbel.

A spokesman for Barbican Theatre said: “What an incredible evening we had with our ocean-themed giant puppet parade along the cobbled back alleys of Keyham.

“We met some amazing people and were so overwhelmed by how many of you came out to watch and support.

“We’d also like to say a massive thank to our team of performers which included our ReBels, the superb Above Bounds Theatre Collective and members of the Keyham community.

“Plus the wonderful Ruth Webb and Zenna Tagney from Lostwithiel Puppets who made our bespoke 7m tall fisherman, Charlie Rankin who choreographed our Funky Prawns, and Benji Isbel who led our parade junk band.

“A huge thank you to Nigel Cross and the wonderful team at St Johnston Social Club 2019 in Keyham who let us use their brilliant space for the puppet-making workshops, our dressing room and base. Your generosity and support has been outstanding.

“Lastly, big up to our awesome team of crew and core staff who made it possible, including James, Jamie, Suzie, Tim, Nathan, Seb, Laura, Jo, Andrew, Bella and Henry.”

A spokesman for Barbican Theatre said: “What an incredible evening we had with our ocean-themed giant puppet parade along the cobbled back alleys of Keyham.

“We met some amazing people and were so overwhelmed by how many of you came out to watch and support.

“We’d also like to say a massive thank to our team of performers which included our ReBels, the superb Above Bounds Theatre Collective and members of the Keyham community.

“Plus the wonderful Ruth Webb and Zenna Tagney from Lostwithiel Puppets who made our bespoke 7m tall fisherman, Charlie Rankin who choreographed our Funky Prawns, and Benji Isbel who led our parade junk band.

“A huge thank you to Nigel Cross and the wonderful team at St Johnston Social Club 2019 in Keyham who let us use their brilliant space for the puppet-making workshops, our dressing room and base. Your generosity and support has been outstanding.

“Lastly, big up to our awesome team of crew and core staff who made it possible, including James, Jamie, Suzie, Tim, Nathan, Seb, Laura, Jo, Andrew, Bella and Henry.”

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