Frolicked is a theatre company specialising in creating puppet-orientated experiences for unusual locations.
Captivating people of all ages and nationalities, and featuring a set of self-crafted characters, the company’s shows and games are interactive, engaging, intimate and (they hope) a little bit magical.
Beka Haigh of Frolicked Outdoor Puppet Theatre explains how it all works.
What’s the big idea behind your company, what do you aim to do?
We like to tell very human stories with very unusual creatures and characters, and we want to give everyone the chance to experience the weird and the wonderful.
Do humans have a primal need for theatre?
Storytelling is something that human beings do every single day. It seems fundamental to us as a species to share, hear about and learn from the triumphs and tribulations of ourselves and of others. In our view, theatre is just a different tool to use to tell these stories.
Is creating a suspension of disbelief more difficult without a fourth (or any) wall?
Surprisingly not. We have created shows where the puppeteers are dressed in black and masks, shows where our faces are on show and shows where the costume completely envelops the puppeteer. At almost every gig, there is someone that will express laughter and surprise that they are ‘speaking to a puppet’, whether they can clearly see us or not. Our job as puppeteers is to disappear and it is a huge compliment to us if people are swept away by our characters, especially if we’re obviously right there beside them – it definitely means we’re doing something right!
What can you offer an audience that a traditional theatre can’t?
Close encounters of the puppet kind! Puppetry has a quality that allows us, as puppeteers, to get very close to people without them feeling as uncomfortable as you or I attempting to do the same, and we think that offers a kind of intimacy and a relationship with an audience member that you wouldn’t get from a more traditional show. We improvise a lot in our shows, responding directly and immediately to the people we talk to and the environment around us, which often makes our audiences the centre, and sometimes the stars, of our shows.
How do local authorities help or hinder what you do?
Local authorities have been a massive source of support to us over the years. It is mostly local
Read more in Issue 3 of Trebuchet magazine, available here.