The Frog and the Lion Fairy (June 1998)

A touring set for a show commissioned by the National Theatre of Cyprus which toured Greek (Cypriot) 'schools' and community centres in London for three weeks.

Sam Roelandts' workshop

View of set half complete

The set came apart in five sections. The cast comprised four girls and only one male actor which made carrying the set any distance tiring, especially when performing in two venues a day. We'd hoped for help at each venue which, when available, made life very easy but, unfortunately, willing hands were not often available! The actors complained about the weight of the door section and stage left unit in particular which had been constructed in a heavy guage steel box section. However, the weight of the set was an undeniable advantage as it made it very stable as a free standing unit. There was very little shake from the door's movement, used frequently as the upstage centre entrance/exit.

The Lion Fairy was a nine foot high puppet designed in collaboration with and made by Amelia Rowcroft, a final year student on the Technical Arts & Special Effects course of which I was the course leader at the time. The job suited Amelia at the time as she wanted a final project which didn't incur too much personal expense.

Another student Nicola Hatch, in the second year, made a delightful dragon head also used as a puppet flying along the top of the set.


Lion Fairy appears Rehearsing with the puppet Puppet rehearsal 2
Scroll to the right for the image sequence

The Lion Fairy appears above the set, then enters, right, threatening the Princess. The puppet was operated by an actor inside wearing a harness and taking most of the weight. The arms and hands were manipulated by two actors as can be most clearly seen in the second photo. These are all rehearsal photographs, none were taken of a performance.

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