Company / Producer Name Folk of the Puppetree/Sky River
Contact Person Sky River
Contact Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Website: http://www.skyriverart.com.au/
Genre: Children and Family
When time mysteriously stops, dream dragons hover on the brink of extinction and light pierces the underground world, Sunny discovers she belongs to a much larger story.
A magical show for all ages Digby and the Dragon is a small story embedded in a larger ecological story carried on the wind. Wheeling her suitcase theatre, Green Narrator tells a story of Sunny, a little girl who lives in busy Boxtown with her parents. Boxtown is ruled by a constantly ticking clock and made of suitcase houses, beds, buses ect. When the Dream Dragon ceases to visit Sunny one night, Sunny mysteriously stops time and the town is left in darkness. Sunny embarks on a quest through the South West bush, using film and land music. At wise old Granny’s cottage, Sunny finds Dream Dragon starving, as people are too busy to dream and dreams are dragon food. Devastated Sunny makes a wish at the wishing well and discovers a boy, Digby, living in a forgotten world. Meanwhile, underground, Digby has been creating a lantern to capture the little ray of light that shines into his lonely underground room. It is Digby’s dream to bring his invention to the world and Sunny’s quest to find dreams. Digby’s dream brings Dragon back to health, they fly back to Boxtown and the place is transformed. Sunny’s parents slow down, spend time together and regenerate their own dreams. Suitcases transform into flowering garden beds, boats and surf boards. Digby shares his dream, bringing his lantern to light the town and together they question their need to reinstate the clock. Weaving modern life and mythic imagery the story follows the ancient wind on a magical journey and back again.
Digby and the dragon is a fictional puppet based theatre production aimed at a children/family aged audience, blending traditional storytelling conventions with animation and puppetry. The show requires a total cast of five performers, comprising three semi-life sized Bunraku inspired puppets (manipulated by one puppeteer per puppet), a leather Dragon costume and human performers as the 2 parents and Green Narrator. The actors playing the parents double as Granny’s puppeteer and the Dragon. The show is driven by a narrator who engages in the show moving scenes and engaging with onstage action. Boxtown scenes include elements of object theatre as the suitcases are used to depict different places and activities in box town such as houses, televisions, beds, garden boxes and skateboards. The set includes animation projections onto a rear screen and 2 screens on either side of the stage . Digby and the Dragon explores how the wider ecological story can be given a role in the context of contemporary theatre. To explore this larger timescale, reference is made to 200 billion year old granite outcrops and the journey of ancient wind, including audience participation, holding breathe and blowing the wild wind. Set in an imaginary South West, the film footage and sound effects are of WA’s South West Bush and include local bird calls and insects. The land’s voice is depicted through the soundscape with intention of giving voice to the more-than-human world.
“Sky’s handmade puppets are captivating. They live in worlds that draw on the deep traditions of folk storytelling, transplanted to the South West of WA. Sky, Digby and their community of puppets have urgent messages for us about better, ecologically connected ways to live, delivered with a sense of humour and playfulness. Sky’s original works of puppetry are a distinctive feature of the South West arts scene, speaking for its regional distinctiveness and advocating for its care.” Vahri McKenzie Honorary Senior lecturer WAAPA
“The production values of this show were the equal or better of most touring productions this in itself is an amazing achievement” Andrew Frith Arts Margaret River
“Seeing Digby with my 6 year old grandson alongside was an absolute delight. A huge achievement for Sky River to have worked with community performers to deliver such a supurbly crafted piece” Margot Edwards The Wilding witer/director/producer “Digby and the Dragon swept us away into a magical land…part dystopia part fairytale, the story created conversations about the World we live in now and the way we want it to be. The ethereal nature of the puppets, the landscape and soundtrack meant that above all, there weas beauty and hope.” Chrissy Maddison – Jam Bop Music & Dance for little people
Duration of performance 60mins
Maximum performances per week 12
Remount: $ 35,931
Weekly Fee: $17,714
Date the performance is available from From 2021
No. people in Touring Party 5+2=7
First Possible Performance 2 hours after bump in
Minimum Break Between Shows 2 hours
Theatre formats any of the three named theatre formats can work provided there is potential for rear projection
Minimum stage dimensions: 8m x 6m deep
Digby is predominantly set in the Australian Bush – a stage width of 8m x 6m deep is ideal but can be adapted to work in a smaller space too. All scenes are supported by digital images projected on an upstage cyc or wide projection screen and further imagery replicated on two light frame set pieces that house TV’s or projection -orientated vertically. The Narrator wheels on a vintage suitcase theatre and positions it down stage prompt side, it stays there for the whole show. Boxtown is a miniature vintage suitcase town featuring suitcases with small windows and doors. These boxes serve as object theatre devices becoming buses and beds ect. Boxtown houses are positioned centre stage – Digital projection is of little linocut houses and busy animated cars. A large digital clock is projected on the prompt side screen. Leaving Boxtown moving digital images of the Bush are projected on the rear wide projection screen with accompanying images on two side screens. We visit Granny’s House a 3Dimensional small bush shack positioned opposite prompt with a rocking chair just outside. There is an open acting space in the centre. We visit an Underground World via digital imagery and there is a 3D wishing well positioned upstage prompt side. Digital imagery responds to onstage action as Digby comes up through the Underground and pops out of the 3D well onto the stage. A few boxes return for final scene, one as a flower box, Narrator closes suitcase theatre and wheels it off stage.
Lighting requirements Lighting for Digby can be easily realised from a standard theatre lighting system The Bush Shack needs 1 x Dimmable circuit run back to your dimmers it just has a 60w light bulb to give the Shack some life. . A detailed, venue specific lighting plot can be provided as touring circuit is confirmed.
Audio requirements Digby can be performed in smaller venues that don’t require microphones just a small sound system to replay sound scapes and music underscore We will provide the sound via laptop plus spare playing from Q-Lab For venues larger than 100 PAX we will tour Headset Wireless Mics (8) We just require the use of your standard house system, that we can patch our mic receivers at stage (8) in a rack via XLR If you could provide 1 pair of fold back monitors DS off stage for playback that would be appreciated.
Other technical or performance notes . Bump in set up could be: 1 x Set person / Stage hand 1 x Sound tech such as how many techs are needed for (music and microphones ) 1 x LX lighting / Vision Imagery person If bump in touring professional venues – the venue would need to do a lighting and AV pre rig to spec prior to arrival If touring small venues semi pro – we may have to look at touring with a small kit of equipment.
What marketing collateral is available? A video promo trailer, A professional poster, A flyer, photographs
Community Engagement: Story and puppetry create an accessible way to explore deep and sometimes confronting themes in a non-threatening way. One theme we explore in Digby and the Dragon is how humans connect with the natural world around them. Exploring the connection between humans and the natural world could drive several community engagement activities including artist walks through nature, nature writing invitations or regionally relevant nature photography that can be shared on social media or displayed in foyer installations. A workshop could be offered to children/families using the Deep Ecology model of ‘A council of All Beings’, which is a process of exploring connection to the natural world by taking on a non-human character, making a mask and speaking on behalf of that being in a group. Another theme in the play explores the importance of following your dreams, there is a potential engagement opportunity here to create an audio of community members recording their dreams and creating a soundtrack to play in the live show as an audio during the “town dreams’ scene. “What dream food would you feed the Dragon?” Sky River is a drama teacher and familiar with primary school arts curriculum. A video document of the making of Digby and the Dragon,that explores the elements of Drama and production elements including puppet making, set design, animation, characters, lighting and soundtrack. This video could support arts education and compliment Digby and the Dragon engaging with schools prior to the show. Puppet making, puppeteering, drama skills workshops and artist talks are also possible avenues for community engagement.
Tell us about the skills and experience of the people involved: Sky River- writer, puppet/theatre maker, producer- award winning, published writer, 2021 National Regional Arts Fellowship recipient. Leads teams of regional artists to develop relevant theatre in magical ways. Drama teacher and Arts co-ordinator for adults with disabilities, Theatre Studies (Griffith University) BA Honors in Visual Arts & English (ECU). Sara Walker- lighting, special effects, performer- BA Theatre Arts USQ and acting course NIDA, Won Charles Chavel and Panasonic Film Maker Awards. Worked for major theatre companies, Channel 9, 10 and Fox Studios, backstage includes Sydney Olympics, The Matrix, The Lion King, Sydney Dance, Australian Opera Company Perth. David Skeats- leather master, shoes, masks, costumes, puppets – over 50 years design and making experience Dave is a skilled artisan who has generously mentored and supported numerous artists, through the South West. Anton Blume – photographer, filmmaker-Multi award winning artist Advisor to Board of Directors, Gascoyne In May Inc – WA, Board of Directors, Art On The Move – WA, Member, Artsource – WA Danny Jenning- film, animation- Phd Curtin University, Margaret River HEART technician, Director of Blackjar Studio, award winning filmmaker, Saul Harvey Cresswell – Music composition for short films and live performances, including award-winning short film My Nan and the Yandi, featured on ABC; four distinct shows for Folk of the Puppetree
primary school aged audience and famil