Friday, 3 August 2012

Mini Freo Monuments V - Freo's puppets

Some mini Freo monuments
Source: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre via
This edition of mini Freo monuments is entirely devoted to Fremantle's puppets - and no, I'm not talking about the Fremantle Dockers.

Freo is lucky enough to be the home of one of Australia's best puppeteering outfits - the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Anyone who grew up in Perth in the last thirty years will no doubt remember seeing a show or two. They even made it up to Karratha when I was a dodgy, roof-rocking teenager.

However, to consign Spare Parts soley to the realm of childhood entertainment is to do it an injustice. Some of the productions are pure art: strange, fantastical beings floating around in beautiful sets like something out of a dream.

When my wife and I were growing up, it was the shows of Noriko Nishimoto that we saw. Noriko was the artistic director of Spare Parts for many years and it was her talent that elevated the theatre to something really special, that was recognised nationally as one of the best of its kind. Every now and then, Noriko puts writing her haikus on hold and comes out of retirement to direct a special show - Tim Winton's The Deep being her most recent production - or lend her experience to up-and-coming directors.

In a time when gold medals for athletic prowess don't seem to be coming our way, maybe the answer is to look to the world of puppetry instead? Because Noriko was just awarded one of the highest international awards in the world of puppetry. In May, the Union de la Marionette Women’s Commission acknowledged Noriko’s Outstanding International Contribution to Puppetry at their World Congress and Puppet Festival. This award is a big deal. Noriko is the inaugural winner, and it will be presented only once every four years.

When my wife and I went to check out 'The Deep', we spent some time afterwards looking at the amazing puppets on display. They are real works of art, full of personality. It struck me that each of these puppets are mini Freo monuments in their own right. So here are some images of my favourite puppets that I've sourced from the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre website:

'Bunyip' Source: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre via
'Ruffy' Source: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre via
'Enid the Chook' Source: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre via
'Cat Balloon' Source: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre via

To find out more about adopting these awesome puppets (aka mini Freo monuments) click hereNoriko's next production will be the classic 'Cat Balloon', scheduled to be performed this October at Spare Parts. I'm going to be there with bells on. My thanks to those involved at the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre for all of their wonderful mini Freo monuments that they've brought to life over the years.

For more info about this awesome Freo based organisation here is the website: 


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