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View Article  Off to Slovakia
I have just been invited to perform at a festival in Slovakia in September.  This is currently in the planning stages.  It will be in honour of my very good friend Anton Anderle who sadly died quite suddently last year.  Anton was an excellent performer of a wide range of marionette shows in his native Slovakia, and across Europe.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to invite him to the England in 2005 and again in 2007 to tour with his Smallest Circus in The World as part of the Dynamics International Puppet Festival.  Anton was one of those performers who had the ability to carry forward traditional forms of puppetry, and his work was directly linked to what would be Victorian Times in England.  Yet there was never a sense that he was presented purely museum pieces.  Everything he did was vibrantly alive in the momment of performance and he had a magic ability to transfer performance energy down the strings and into the figures.  He was also a great collector and when I visited his house I was aslonished to be shown a room with a thousand beautifl puppets all hanging without a hand to move them.  I wouldn't presume to put myself on the same level as him, but I am proud to be asked to celebrate what his life with puppets meant by being part of a performance festival.
View Article  Change in the funding Climate.

We are all sick of hearing about the credit crunch.  I have been patting myself on the back and telling myself I am well buffered from its worst effects as so much of my work is in schools.  However I also do a lot of festival organising and there are a few things worth noting.  Firstly we have only just begun to see the cuts that will be coming in local authority spending.  I have been working with Walsall council promoting puppetry through their events programme for 20 years.  All of a sudden their entire Summer Programme looks to be dead in the water.  More Striking, their huge Walsall Illuminations which has been running for more than 50 years is also dead.  There was a time when I was involved in performing there for forty nights every Autumn.  On top of this those of use who are looking for funding from Arts Council England are finding them cranking up their expectations of required partnership funding to levels which even in good times are hard to achieve. And to make matters worse all the trust funds that we go to for this partnership money are finding their funds vanishing.  In simple terms trust funds give away the interest on their capital reserves.  In the current climate that interest is all but non existent.  Soon we will find ourselves with an Arts Council which has been stripped of cash to cover the Olympics which is not prepared to fund high percentages of projects at the same time as partnership money is simply not available due to council cuts and trust funds vanishing.  I wouldn't be the first to see this as the beginnings of a perfect storm - or as they say round here, its looking a bit black over Bill's mother's....