It's almost a year ago that I first saw a Snuff Puppets performance. It was at Testing Grounds where the world's largest human operated puppet gave birth live. It was a captivating and intriguing experience and have since looked forward to seeing more of their magic and fun. Fortunately, that moment is not too far off as during the Big West Festival, the Snuff Puppets will open up their Snuff Skool, with participants having the opportunity to learn the snuff way of life.
It's important to understand though that a snuff puppet is not just a puppet. "Snuff Puppets arrive like a circus, parading through town ambushing audiences and enticing them into the world of theatre. Our art explores, provokes and inspires progressive cultural change. We are unashamedly hand-made and experimental in a world obsessed with perfection and mass-consumption," I am told by the Snuffies.
"A lot of thought processes go in to a development; engineering, artistic, theatrical, and philosophical. Each new Snuff Puppets work involves the creation of a whole new world of puppets with their own rules, relationships and spirit. It takes a giant investment to create, build and breath life in to every Snuff Puppet."
And this is what the Snuffies hope to achieve with the participants in their upcoming workshops. "Puppeteers will learn the Snuff approach to performance: improvisational, group-devised, spontaneous and always with the freedom to play. They will have the chance to shed personal identity and strip away language to embrace a non-verbal performance mode that explores the physicality of communication."
"They will also undertake a collaborative theatre-making process, sharing ideas and developing narrative that is relevant and resonant to the group. They will have the chance to rehearse and perform a roaming act at Footscray train station, where they interact in character (and in puppet) with the public and create their own Snuff brand of public puppet/audience collisions."
Aside from the extreme level of fun and unique experience that Snuff Skool will provide, their intention is for people to walk away with an awareness of the purpose of this type of art form. "We want people to have a greater understanding of the ideas and techniques behind Snuff Puppets performance style and as a chance to see the outdoors – or any space – as a place for artistic freedom and expression," the Snuffies say.
"We want our audiences to feel opened up to experience whatever feelings our puppets provoke. The Snuff Way is to be creative, imaginative, with a sense of freedom, and to be physically engaged, strong and present." And who doesn't want that? So put aside the doubts and sign up for one of these wondrous workshops. "After all, you have nothing to fear from Snuff Puppets."
Venue: The Drill Hall, 395 Barkly St, Footscray
Season: 21 - 28 November | Sat 9am - 5pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: Snuff Puppets