Colossal Crumbs

A fascination with food, families, cups of tea and wobbly body parts has continually led me to create work about consumption, body image, gender and finding our way home. These themes have culminated in my current work, Colossal Crumbs as a bizarre array of anthropomorphic characters that go on journeys through strange and beautiful surroundings to evoke and nurture the imaginations of the audience.

Picture by Patrick Baldwin

What is Colossal Crumbs?

Escape into a world that is obscure and intriguing, offering smallness in abundance and giant wobbly body parts as a playground for puppets. Gorge on minute details, engage with gargantuan flesh and enter a world that is more precise and more meticulously elucidated than our own…

Colossal Crumbs incorporates large and very small puppetry with performance from people, weird dances and giant gingerbread houses. It follows the story of Mr Crumb (seen above), but not the beginning, middle and end story you might expect - the inbetween parts of everyday life – the eating and of course, the excreting. Join Mr Crumb for a plate of spaghetti, or perhaps a silent read on the toilet. You might even become part of his ever- transforming, ever-increasing load as Mr Crumb starts to eat everything in sight!

Colossal Crumbs is a wordless theatre show, performed by puppets and people. 


From crumbs to Colossal Crumbs

I came to using puppetry in my work after a ‘Puppetry for Film’ module at Brighton University. What I find so fascinating about puppets and object manipulation is its ability to create its own rules – you can crumble rational logic and anything can happen and this is accepted by an audience - the sky can fall down or a tomato can be your protagonist. It feels entirely natural to me to make theatre using puppets as each scene or moment works as a problem solving exercise. Puppetry is a live performance medium where you can create characters that are free of gender, sexuality, age which further allows you to explore themes in a more focused and honest way, making issues with a capital and a lower case ‘I’ much more accessible to an audience. The work remains playful and entertaining as these are the qualities that puppets themselves exude so naturally.

I am continually inspired and influenced by many different types of artists – illustrators, puppeteers, comedians and theatre practitioners. I am visually influenced by the works of Phillippe Genty for his enchanting and majestic performances, John Isaacs for his grotesque beauty, Annette Messager and Rob Ryan.

The work derived from an original idea from me as an individual, devising the narrative, making the set, costumes and puppets and then bringing in a cast to perform. It has now become a collaboration of artists – illustrators, dancers, visual artists, physical performers and puppeteers. The original concept for the work came from a photograph – ‘The Lonely Doll’ by David La Chapelle, which inspired me to make a giant ‘fat’ suit, which I soon changed into a 9ft puppet. The show developed very organically, working with a strong vision of simple images and ideas which I then workshop with performers. The ways in which these ideas are conjured and realized are varied. Many aspects of the show derive initially from beautiful and exciting objects found in junk shops and markets. For instance, the piano-playing jazz zebra was a finger puppet I found in a Christmas market. Other ideas are much more contemplated through sketches and words. Sometimes it’s a silly suggestion or an accident during a rehearsal that just makes sense.

As a recent graduate from Performance and Visual Art at Brighton University, the transition from working in a student environment to a professional one has been steep and daunting yet wholly rewarding. I continually find myself on new and unfamiliar territory, never knowing if we’re quite doing the ‘right’ thing. It seems however, that the dedication, belief and love for the project combined with the hard work and commitment from everyone involved has made this project a successful one.

Show development

The development of the work, both artistically and logistically, has been determined by the events we have performed at. From an artistic point of view, these events have been helpful goals in getting the show to a stage we’re happy with, incorporating new ideas and improving its visual aesthetic. Logistically, we’ve learnt from experience along the way. Colossal Crumbs started as my university degree show. The show at this point was a firm foundation for a ‘first draft’ of the project, but certainly not a complete one.

In April 2010 I gained a residency at the Puppet Centre Trust. When I first started the residency, I wasn’t sure quite how or where to start, however it has since provided many opportunities for me to gain a much wider understanding of the production process and allowed Colossal Crumbs to flourish. Our first performance since June the previous year was to be at the International Student Puppetry Festival, May 2010. After having to rehearse within the constraints of my living room and also deal with mice destroying the set, we performed a successful show to a full audience. We also had to learn on the spot that the ‘get ins’ in a festival environment are a world away from what we were used to at university.

Having experienced Edinburgh festival with other theatre companies in the past, we quickly adapted. This made our next show at Secret Garden Party, an arts festival in rural Cambridgeshire, a better organised and more successful operation. The show at SGP (July 2010) had to be stripped back technically, having a detailed lighting plan reduced to one light operated by a plug socket. It has been these conditions that have made Colossal Crumbs a better show, allowing us to focus on the raw puppetry and actions to create the atmosphere we originally thought would be created by beautiful lighting.

The next show was for the album launch of The Moulettes at the Marlborough Little Theatre in Brighton, August. The obstacle here was that the entire venue was the size of the show, leaving no room for an audience. The soft, amorphous nature of the set allowed us to fold and manoeuvre it into a much smaller space, albeit a tight squeeze for the performers, and we adapted the show effectively.

The varied spaces in which we have performed Colossal Crumbs have educated us about our own show. They have all contributed to teaching us the spectrum in which we can work, from the smallest space with the most minimal technical equipment, to the most spacious and detailed.

Funding and Grants

Colossal Crumbs has recently gained a research and development grant from the Arts Council and will be showing throughout September and October as a work in progress. The work is supported by the Puppet Centre Trust and University of Brighton.

Прекрасно, ответила Крессильда.

Здесь ее не было видно "Книга знаний в вопросах и ответах" сверху из-за раскидистой кроны.

Сникший было Билл внезапно ожил, "Овощи" словно политый цветок.

Осмелюсь "Я тебя никогда не забуду" почтительно просить вас, господин обер-лейтенант, распорядитесь, чтобы мне выдавали двойную порцию.

Все в "Алгебра. 9 класс. Блицопрос. Пособие для учащихся общеобразовательных учреждений. 2-е издание, стереотипное" порядке, послышался шепот и рука отпустила его плечо.

Но "Рецепты для гриля и духовки" потом, некоторое время спустя, один из мудрейших сказал, что "Спокойной ночи малыши Суперраскраска" этого не может быть.