Monsters have a ball

Monster creation. Photograph Michaél Beaty.

Monsters have a ball

Sandra Conte

1 February 2014

There were no monsters hiding under the bed at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, instead, they were parading the streets, every day, and forming an integral part of the epic opening and closing ceremonies.

The accompanying photgraph shows a monster design prepared by children from their imaginations – they drew them and wrote up descriptions of their monsters’ personalities which were then interpreted by teenagers and master puppeteers at community workshops. The final winning entries were built by a specialist in giant puppet making, Daniele Poidomani, from Adelaide company ‘Knee High’. Over the years Daniele has built a huge range of puppets, seagulls, snails, elephants, and a 17 metre long Blue Whale, the longest puppet he has ever built. For the Woodford Folk Festival, Daniel created his first ten-headed puppet!

Throughout the building of the puppets, the workshop was open for locals to come and learn more about the art of puppet creation. The puppets took three weeks to build and the team rehearsed for the big festival performances with special effects incorporated to highlight one monster’s fire-breathing qualities!

Daniele recommends that all aspiring giant puppet makers should realise, “The beautiful and perfect ideas in your head may come out somewhat differently than expected. Yet once realised and out in the real world you can see, touch and hear them and you’ll know how to make progress with your next work.”

The monster puppet project came about from the 2013/14 Woodford Folk Festival theme based on the quote by Mahatma Ghandi that ‘”the only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought”.

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