On Wednesday 4 July Lempen Puppet Theatre Company came to The NASH to perform for Hawes Primary School. Lempen Puppet Theatre are one of Britain’s great touring theatre companies – they have toured everywhere from tiny and remote Scottish islands to major cities, and regularly take their shows to international Festivals across Europe.
Hawes School were treated to two performances of The Amazing Thing, an intriguing tale about a mysterious creature washed up on the shore who teaches us to step outside of the confines of long-established fairy-stories and make up our own twists and tales.
Infants came in the morning and juniors in the afternoon; the smaller groups enabled the children to be close to the action and really feel part of it. Afterwards the children engaged in a brilliant Q&A session, and the performers Daniel and Liz Lempen told them all about their long careers as puppeteers and the creative and multi-faceted process of building a show.
One thing Lempen touched on was how puppets can be simple or complicated whilst still being magical. Children in Class 1 were so inspired that the very next school day they spontaneously began creating puppets out of balls and other everyday objects, and this kick-started a new class activity – making puppets and building performance elements.
The show was part-funded by The NASH and the PTFA with the intention of giving pupils an opportunity to experience high-quality arts in a professional setting outside of their everyday school environment. Lempen run Skipton Puppet Festival, and it was a real pleasure to connect with such a dynamic, creative team who are located at the gateway to the Dales and are part of the international arts scene.
Hanna Vasey, Headteacher at Hawes School, said: “The children (and staff) loved the show! The children thought it was amazing, they really loved the storytelling and were fascinated by the use of different things to make the puppets. Many of the staff said they themselves had become so engrossed that they felt like children again.”
The children said:
"I loved the wolf puppet - he was so good!"
"It was so clever how the box which the amazing thing was in became part of the story. It was a house, an aeroplane and the tower for Rapunzel."
"I liked how he changed the story and made the prince the hairdresser. It's a bit like we do with our stories."