Meet Claire – The Puppet Master

Name: Claire Harvey

Role in Leaper: Puppet designer and builder

Day in the life of LeaperMy job is fairly straightforward, I talk to the director and we decide what puppets are needed, and I go away and build them! On an average day on Leaper I head to my workshop, say hello to the workshop cat and from then I can be found drawing, sculpting, drilling, sanding and drinking tea. I’m working very closely with set designer Annie Brooks to make sure that our aesthetic styles fit together, so we share photos, ideas and help each other problem solve.

What do you like most about your job? I’ve really loved the research process for this project, I’ve been to aquariums, pet stores, read fish books, watched salmon swimming online, drawn thousands of pictures of fish faces, and have come to the conclusion that despite their importance, salmon are not very pretty creatures to translate into puppets!

Why is teaching children about conservation important? I’m hoping that the show will be able to convey some of the important conservation issues we have come across  and provoke conversation between children and their adults. As a society we are so out of touch with our beginnings in nature, we have and continue to abuse it, and this is simply not sustainable.

Why use theatre? Theatre is a powerful vehicle and one that I think will provoke these conversations and encourage change not just in our generation, but in our children as well, through sharing an experience together.

 

What part of the show are you most excited about? I’m really looking forward to creating the plastic monster. It’s a really important scene, which highlights a fact about the sheer amount of plastic in our oceans. At the moment I’m trying to decide how abstract to be with it (whether it needs things like eyes and mouth or if I can be shapes) and the balance between scary and too scary! I’ve made a lot of very dark looking puppets in the past and this is my default! I’m planning to send photos to one of my little nieces and if she is too scared – I’ll change it!

Which sea creature are you most like?

In terms of sea creatures I think I’m most like some sort of hilarious bug eyed gold fish. I’m hoping to make this particular creature I’ve just made up for one of the sequences…see if you can spot me the fish when you watch the show!

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