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Helen Ainsworth.

My first experience of puppetry was in my local park at the age of two, where every summer we sat on a moth eaten blanket and watched Punch and Judy. After this introduction I played with puppets and toy theatres throughout my childhood and experimented during my university studies. It was only in my early twenties, when inspired by the colours and sounds of an eye-opening trip to India, I came home and constructed a set of obscure and grotesque characters which formed the basis of my first public puppet presentation.


My theatre work explores the re-interpretation of story through the acute observation of character within movement on the stage. I believe the craft of puppetry should not be limited to traditional design nor infantile application, nor rules of presentation. I approach the construction of the puppet as a sculptural object, but one imbued with the mysticism and magic which lies at the primaeval roots of puppetry – in iconography and religion. My work explores the influence of constructional matter and form on the analysis and presentation of the puppet character on stage and the investigation through play of the theatre that thus ensues. But above all I hope to celebrate theatre as enlightenment through live entertainment.


I have worked all over the world in many aspects of theatre. After training in theatre design I travelled to and worked in places as diverse as Wolverhampton, Portugal, Hungary and India constructing and designing sets, creating posters and running youth theatre education projects.  During my life I have spent time living in a tiny remote hamlet high in the Portuguese mountain ranges, a studio on the Regents Canal and an old palace in Lisbon, I have played clarinet in marching bands in the great "Marchas" of Portugal, studied yoga in India and cycled around the Iberian coast, I have had the privilege to work with Punjabi school children, inner London youths and centenarians from villages who only 30 years ago connected to the national grid. All these life experiences, and more, enrich my work and sustain my inspiration and my dedication to theatre as a relevant, worthwhile and exciting art form.





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