Autin Dance Theatre launches new online puppetry and storytelling programme for children, young people and their families

15 Jun 2020

‘Eko’ the Sea Giant Puppet was designed by Mr Cleaver’s Monsters.

Autin Dance Theatre and partners are pleased to officially launch the first ‘Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ tutorial video on Saturday 13 June at 10am as part of ‘Out of the Deep Blue’ Web Series on their YouTube channels and social media platforms (@autindt).

‘Out of the Deep Blue’ Web Series is AutinDT’s brand new digital programme featuring unique and practical creative step-by-step tutorials to ‘Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ out of reusable household items and includes 5 short films of a puppet telling inspiring and climate change awareness stories to children and young people. This first tutorial video is a part of an online series inspired by the themes around the climate emergency crisis and other environmental issues. Autin Dance Theatre will be using mainly recyclable materials as part of these tutorials.

This digital project will be delivered online weekly throughout June and July 2020 and is funded by Birmingham City Council as part of the Creative Online Connections commission, supported using funding provided by the OffSite affiliate partners (Appetite, Birmingham Hippodrome, DanceXchange, Déda, Derby Féste & Wild Rumpus) and Without Walls Blueprint R&D support.

Tutorials will take place on the following dates:

Sat 13 June 10 AM – Live Launch of the project / ‘How to Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ Tutorial #1

Sat 20 June 10 AM – Live Premiere / ‘How to Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ Tutorial #2

Sat 27 June 10 AM – Live Premiere / ‘How to Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ Tutorial #3

Sat 4 July 10 AM – Live Premiere / ‘How to Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ Tutorial #4

Sat 11 July 10 AM – Live Premiere / ‘How to Make Your Own Puppet @Home’ Tutorial #5

Click here to view the YouTube channel

Following each tutorial, children and their families are invited to join the ‘Out of the Deep Blue’ online community of homemade puppets and storytellers and share their homemade videos on social media using #outofthedeepblue

Johnny Autin, Autin Dance Theatre Creative Director and choreographer said: “This Summer would have seen the creation, development and live performances of our new large-scale outdoor production ‘Out of the Deep Blue’ featuring a 5-person-operated 4 metre-tall sea giant puppet and a female contemporary dancer.

“We have adapted our creative process and audience engagement projects through online distribution and digital arts opportunities, and I am thrilled to present this Web Series online from this Saturday 13 June. We have also been using this opportunity to research and develop remotely the design of the large-scale puppet with Tom Cleaver from Mr Cleaver’s Monsters in order to start the rehearsals for the outdoor show when it is safe for the creative team to get together.

“I personally cannot wait to see your homemade creations, to meet your original puppets and to welcome you as part of the ‘Out of the Deep Blue’ online community!”.

‘Out of the Deep Blue’ Web Series includes the development of a ‘Digital Community’ that will connect isolated individuals and families. The programme will empower and encourage digital audiences to get creative in making their own puppet at home out of reusable household materials, to craft their new creations using their imagination by giving them a name, an identity, a personality and a short story linked with a place or location in Birmingham or the region that is close to their hearts.

Autin Dance Theatre invites the online audience and participants to stage and record their puppets in action and their stories. These short films will be collected online and archived on their website for world-wide showcase on the internet.

To create the programme Autin Dance Theatre have been working remotely (yet closely) alongside puppeteer Ben Thompson, 5 commissioned puppet designers for the tutorial videos (Toby Olié, Emily Cooper, Hugh Purves, Samuel Wyer and Sam Parker), filmmaker Wayne Sables and in collaboration with partners and supporting organisations across the region.


For more information email or Producer Kirsten Tranter

Autin Dance Theatre presents ‘Out of the Deep Blue’ Web Series with the support of Arts Council England, Midlands Arts Centre – MAC, 101 Outdoor Arts, Offsite (Déda Derby), Birmingham City Council, DanceXchange and Without Walls Blueprint R&D support.