Today, in honour of April Fool’s Day, the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow is hosting a special online event. Fantasy and Puppetry: Animating the Fantastic is a celebration of puppets and of the art of puppeteers in bringing fantasy and the fantastic to life, on stage, on screen and on the page. This online programme of talks and demonstrations features five of the best puppet designers, directors and performers working today: Brian and Wendy Froud (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, etc.), William Todd-Jones (The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, etc.), Mary Robinette Kowal (Sesame Street, LazyTown, etc.; also a Hugo and Nebula Award winning author), and Howard Gayton ( The Little Angel, Norwich Puppet Theatre, The Eden Project, Hedgespoken, etc.).
In addition, there will be a panel discussion of puppetry in fantasy literature -- with Mary Robinette Kowal, Rob Maslen (co-director of the Centre for Fantasy), Marita Arvaniti (scholar of theatre in fantasy), and me. We'll be looking at depictions of puppetry in fiction by Carlo Collodi, John Masefield, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Russell Hoban, Helen Oyeyemi, A.S. Byatt and others, as well as Mary Robinette's own work.
It all takes place online (via Zoom) from 11:00 am to 6 pm, British Summer Time. For the full programme, go here.
Tickets are free, but you'll need to register to access the link for Zoom: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fantasy-and-puppetry-animating-the-fantastic-tickets-293661648897.
If you miss it, don't worry, the talks will be recorded and put online at a latter date. (But if you can join us today, in real time, you'll be able to participate in the Question-and-Answer sessions at the end of each talk.)
Edited later to add the following links to the recordings of the talks:
Brian and Wendy Froud, William Todd Jones (sadly, there were tech problems with the visuals on this one, but the audio is good and well worth listening to), Howard Gayton, and the panel on puppetry in fantasy literature.
Some of you will have noticed that many of the speakers today live here in Chagford. It's Puppeteer Central in this village. I'll be up at Brian & Wendy's old farmhouse this morning (pictured above), helping out with their talk; Todd's takes place on the other side of the village; then I'm back home for my husband Howard's talk (in his studio on our hill), and my panel discussion (from my own studio next door to his). Rob and Marita join us from Glasgow, and Mary Robinette from Nashville.
We hope you'll join us too. We've been working on this for awhile now, and at last we can share it with you.
Thank you to everyone who has been sending good wishes during my absence from Myth & Moor. Yes, I'm still dealing with Long Covid. It's getting a little better all the time, and I appreciate your kind thoughts and support.