INTERVIEW: Tyne Rising | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The folk at Newcastle-based Moving Parts Arts have successfully encouraged audiences to cast aside any preconceptions they may have about puppetry over the last few years, thanks to their large-scale productions and innovative puppetry school.

This year they’re embarking on their biggest production yet, with a two-day outdoor theatre spectacle taking place at City Stadium in Heaton on Saturday 21st-Sunday 22nd August. Tyne Rising will be an awe-inducing production filled with giant underwater puppet creatures and with an environmental message at its heart, perfect for people of all ages.

When most people think of puppetry they think of Punch and Judy and sock puppets, but the puppets in Tyne Rising are like nothing the North East as seen before.” Enthuses Moving Parts Arts’ Erin Connor. “They are beautiful, giant sea creatures that are so incredible to look at. We know they are going to amaze our audiences!” The puppets were designed and created by Andrew Kim from Hebden Bridge-based Thingumajig Theatre who has years of expert experience in building large-scale puppets for outdoor performances.They really are things of beauty. The sea creature puppets looks so realistic and when the puppeteers begin to move them, they come to life in the most amazing way.”

Puppetry presents some of the most universally shared stories, in the most accessible ways

A soundtrack composed by Hannabiell Sanders will contribute energy and vibrancy to the production. “We needed a skilled composer and musician to be able to read Andrew’s script and create music that makes brings the underwater world to life. Hannabiell [who is working alongside Jeremy Bradfield] is working on a beautiful underwater soundscape that is going to create the perfect experience.”

The story of Tyne Rising revolves around the eponymous river; set 50 years in the future, the Tyne has overflowed its banks and mysterious creatures are unleashed across the City. The people of Tyneside must search their souls and work together to bring the Toon back to balance. The environmental message is one which resonates with Erin, who believes the theatre industry as a whole is looking towards more sustainable ways of working in the future. “Now more than ever, the theatre industry is re-evaluating the ways we make shows and trying to explore new, more environmentally friendly ways to work. I think (and hope) we are going to see a continued movement within the industry, to commit to taking environmental responsibility, both on and off stage.”

Tyne Rising’s themes are certainly universal, and Erin is enthusiastic about puppetry as an artform being relevant and accessible to everyone, able to transcend barriers. “There can be no words, no sound, and still a story is brought to life. Kids and adults can be taken on a journey without words, which means so much when we think of the language barriers that audiences can face.”

At at time when unity and coming together has never held more resonance, it’s productions like Tyne Rising that can keep us connected. “I’ve watched as audiences have sat in silence or been moved to laughter or tears by puppetry. Puppetry presents some of the most universally shared stories, in the most accessible ways. A complex artform that looks effortlessly simple on stage, means everyone can experience the same story at the same time together.”

Moving Parts Arts present Tyne Rising at City Stadium, Heaton on Saturday 21st-Sunday 22nd August. Tickets must be booked in advance and are priced as ‘Pay What You Can’

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