"We hope to raise standards in family entertainment"

 

Noisy Oyster is a company from Frome, Somerset (United Kingdom) formed by: Sarah Rowland-Barker, dancer and circus actress (No Fit State Circus) Nik Palmer, puppeteer, creator of puppets and musician (DaSilva Puppets, Norwich Puppet Theatre, Parachute Theatre). Recently they participated in the  PUN International Puppet Festival.

Why the name Noisy Oyster?

When Nik and I started working together and were trying to find a name, we spent two days only being able to say two words to each other - like Green Wellies, Ohkams Razor, etc. It became quite frustrating. Nik eventually texted me with Noisy Oyster. I liked it, so said 'Yes'.  We were very relieved, and could talk normally to each other again.

There is a rhyme, and a song -What noise annoys a noisy oyster? A noisy noise annoys a noisy oyster.

Noisy Oyster was established in 2006. What inspired you to form this company? What contribution do you hope to make to the puppet theatre community?

Nik's previous company had disbanded. We met and he needed someone to perform a show Dangerous Dave with him. As I'm from a performing back ground I offered.

We hope to raise standards in family entertainment. And we hope to find innovative ways to make and control puppets. We also want to make people happy.

What kinds of stories do you like to tell with your shows?

All our shows are very different, but we feel it's important to entertain the whole audience not just the children. We want to entertain the adults too, especially as they are the ones paying for the tickets. So we often put in a few jokes for the adults.

What do you find are the similarities and differences between British puppet shows and those from other countries?

Similarities - We all suffer from low wages. Differences - Some countries use a lot of words with little action. Some countries have the backing of the government and are able to put on very big shows with very big scenery and effects. Some countries revere their puppeteers. In England we don't have government backing, and we are not revered. People always think of Punch and Judy with regards to English puppeteers. And English people see puppets only being for children.

Given the ever-more digital performance scene, what do you think is the role of puppetry today?

It is important to see live performance. As an art form it encompasses a wide range of skills. Puppets can say and do things which live actors cannot.

Do you think that art has the potential to bring people together in a way that other diplomatic tools can not?

Absolutely - you only have to see all us puppeteers sitting together. We have a whole world-wide family because of puppets.



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