In February 2014, Emmy Award winning puppeteer Noel MacNeal (who has worked on Sesame Street, The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House) came to Sydney from Brooklyn USA to teach 2 one-week master classes on puppetry for film and television. Kay was really excited to attend!
Over the 6 day workshops at Carriageworks, participants worked with a range of moving mouth puppets and learned about principles in lip-sync and eye focus (while getting used to working with a TV monitor where what you see on the screen is the reverse of what you are doing – this was a challenge in itself!). There were also exercises in developing puppet choreography and staging, which included creating music videos (with props!) and short variety acts.
The course also included a day where the participants were invited to ‘play’ with some of the amazing puppets from Erth like their dragon, dinosaurs and Australian animals, all of which explored skills in full body puppets and bunraku-style operating techniques.
All in all it was a fantastic masterclass - it was amazing to have Noel share his extensive knowledge and experience in puppetry and children’s television, and we were also very thankful to Erth and Carriageworks for making this all happen – we hope Noel will visit Australia again soon!