Saturday, April 16, 2011

Puppet Chicken

At the end of 2010, friend, clown and sometime collaborator Arran, commissioned me to construct a puppet chicken to be included in a performance him and three other clowns were doing as Clowns without Borders in Somalia. A chicken was selected as it was easily reconised, and it was built around a builders hat in order for it to be placed on the head.

The legs were contructed of wire and newspaper jointed with bolts, strung from behing to give realistisc chicken movement, the wings were made from truck inner tube bolted to the builders hat

The finish of the chicken was exposed newspaper paper mache, as the clown show was called 'Good News' utilising newspaper props, so the show didn't look too flashy, and keeping accessible to all audiences.

This was the first time in twenty years an international performance group were in Somalia as it is a country with no government to speak of and a chaotic situation for much of the inhabitants, who are mostly displaced within their own country.

I felt honoured to be involved in a small way in such an inspiring project, as bringing smiles and laughter to situations where hope and joy is in short supply has been an ambition of mine for a long time, ever since reading the circus to iraq blogs in 2004 (

The puppet was constructed in my freezing workshop with the wood burner was on constantly, and the water would freeze as it came out of the tap into my kettle as i fed my need for constant cups of tea.

So it felt a little sureal that in those conditions it was then whisked to the 30-35 blinding sun to become part of  a circus clown routine to entertain children who'd witnessed untold horrors in there short lives

A very inspiring project, and one i was very happy to have a small part in.
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