Feature in Issue 7-1 | Spring 1995

What's in a name? ‘Mime’ Theatre has often been viewed as a restrictive way of describing performance which encompasses a range of physical and movement approaches. Now, it seems the puppetry world is finding the word ‘puppet’ limiting. In the feature on Manipulating the Material we look at the way in which performers are using the new materials of our age in theatre performance. No longer is the manipulator necessarily simply concerned with giving a Puppet human characteristics or telling a narrative. Watching The Umbilical Brothers at this year's London International Mime Festival demonstrating their unconventional, and amazingly cruel, but also hysterical, propensity towards small furry inanimate creatures brought this home to me. Even so there is no doubt that the more traditional storytelling forms of puppet theatre do continue to delight and entertain.

In the feature, Challenging Convention, Augusto Boal is concerned with an audience that can change the shape of a plot, take on characters and an active rather than passive role. In a series of articles we examine the dynamic that exists between the performer and the audience.

And, with the recent trend in physical, violent and often gruesome films, Total Theatre looks at the work of current exponent Quentin Tarantino in the feature, Physical Film as well as Peta Lily's debut movie of her theatre production, Beg! and the highly charged work of DV8, Nigel Charnock and Wendy Houston.

The features in this issue highlight some of the developments in our ‘Total Theatre’ world, but, sadly, a sign of the times is a lack of commitment to funding project companies working at the cutting edge. Project allocations of the funding bodies have been progressively cut over the years and recent decisions at the Arts Council have meant that companies such as Forced Entertainment and Reckless Sleepers may now be forced to disband. Mark Cunnington discusses some of the issues in his letter on Page 19.

But ‘Signs of the times’ also show exciting new companies emerging every day. Lets hope we can continue to have a funding structure that supports the innovators of the future.

This article in the magazine

Issue 7-1
p. 3