Jungmin Song:

Revitalizing Shakespeare: Puppet Co-productions in Britain

The paper critically examines two of the most notable Shakespeare productions with puppets in the UK: a Shakespeare’s erotic poem Venus and Adonis (2004) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013). They were staged as a co-production by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Little Angle Theatre, produced at the Bristol Old Vic by the creators of War Horse, director Tom Morris and South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. The insertion of puppetry into mainstream theatre has revitalized the over 400-year-long British tradition of staging Shakespeare. Through the fresh interpretation of texts, innovative uses of material and thoughtful juxtapositions of human actors with puppets, these productions have brought out new meanings in Shakespeare.

Jungmin Song completed a PhD from the University of Roehampton with a thesis titled Animating Everyday Objects in Performance (2014) and regularly reviews puppet and object performances for Animations Online. Trained as a puppet maker at London’s Little Angel Theatre, her credits include assistant maker (under Lyndie Wright) for the RSC/Little Angel Venus and Adonis (2004). She also performs live art, with solo performances including Spill (Hayward Gallery, 2012), Mulle: A Spinning Wheel (Mullae Arts Center, Seoul, 2010) and Hamlet: (Tissues) (Chelsea Theatre, 2010; Spill National Platform, 2011).