Sapporo Meets Buxton 2007
By the end of the 2005 Buxton Puppet Festival, we decided it would be interesting to combine the groups in a performance at Yamabiko-Za's theatre in 2007. So we devised a piece called 'The Silk Road' as an east-west collaboration complete with musicians who devised the score with the other performers from the start. The show was essentially shadow puppetry but with live action and music and back and front projection. Funny Wonders' leaders had also devised a shadow piece 'Voices in the Garden' and 'Red' which was essentially a dance piece.
In August 2007, twenty-four Funny Wonderers travelled to the city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. To prepare for the trip and produce the show to perform, the group participated in after-school sessions, a three-day residency and day workshops.
In Sapporo, the group stayed with host families as they had done in Buxton in 2005. During the trip, the group experienced different Japanese cultural activities, food, puppetry performances and workshops including learning traditional bunraku puppetry and taiko drumming.
Added to this was a symposium called 'Arts in Education and Community'. Chris, upon arrival, discovered that she was one of the main guest speakers(!) and was diverted to the podium accompanied by polite applause. But any Funny Wonderer can turn a mistake into a half hour polished performance! This is what we do.
The exchange was possible through funding secured from The Arts Council East Midlands, Derbyshire Community Foundation, Derbyshire County Council, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Sasakawa Foundation and Japan 21.