Every year over 30,000 people see the New Wolsey Theatre’s rock ‘n’ roll panto. Over 50% of tickets have already sold for this year’s Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood. However, you may be surprised to know that the theatre also presents a Christmas show for children at New Wolsey Studio, which plays to 8,000 children and their families as well as to nursery and school groups.
This year it’s Penguin by Long Nosed Puppets. This spectacular puppet show is based on the award-winning book by Polly Dunbar and features lively songs by Tom Gray of Gomez.
Long Nose is a Brighton based puppet company. They create inspiring, inventive and colourful puppet shows for the very young. The company was set up by Katherine Morton and Polly Dunbar, who both studied illustration at Brighton University, where they often worked together creating characters and stories. They make the puppets themselves out of anything and everything: latex, wood, found objects and all things sparkly!
Their first show is adapted from the book Shoe Baby, illustrated by Polly and written by her Mum, who is the well known author Joyce Dunbar. The music is written by musican Tom Gray of Gomez. Also part of the Long Nose team, are puppeteers Ant Morton, Claire Gray, George Williams and Lucy Moore.
Shoe Baby has had sell out shows up and down the country and at the Edinburgh Festival. It won the award for the best children’s show at Brighton Festival 2006 and was the main children’s Christmas show at the Komedia in Brighton in 2006 and had a month long run at the New Wolsey Studio for Christmas 2007.
Their second show Flyaway Katie, based on the book by Polly, launched at the Komedia in December 2007 and was the New Wolsey Christmas show in 2008.
The story of Penguin centres around a little boy, Ben, who is delivered a parcel which, on opening, turns out to be an penguin. Ben tries to engage the penguin to no effect. It won’t move. It won’t speak. Ben tries various strategies to get it to come to life. He takes it to a doctor and even resorts to firing it into outer space!
All of these episodes become the occasion for sing-along music, audience participation, much humour and plenty of clever special effects.
The genius of this show is that it is all about simple images and the proof that it is children’s imagination that contain all the fuel they need to fire their own creativity and enthusiasm.
Penguin runs from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 31st December with performances at 11am, 2pm and, on some dates at 3.30pm, at New Wolsey Studio (St George’s St, Ipswich) including an opportunity to play with the puppets.
Tickets are £7 and can be booked online at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk or by calling the New Wolsey Box Office on 01473 295900.