1976–79 The Mountebanck Zanies
I created this part-time theatre company to perform at fairs and festivals which included ancient Robin Hood plays that I had discovered from manuscripts in the British Library. Other scripts were adapted and written by myself. Live music always accompanied our shows, sometimes with the group Blowzabella.
1980 The Theatre of Lies
Devised and performed music for surreal street theatre using large puppets. Directed by Jonathan Graham and Andrew Bailey.
1980 Epic Theatre Company
Guy Fawkes Big Night Out – actor/musician. Touring small London venues including one week at the ICA. Directed by Richard Robinson. This included Paul James as musician.
1981 Royal Shakespeare Company
The Knight of the Burning Pestle – hurdy-gurdy player. At the Aldwych Theatre, London directed by Michael Bobdanoff. Timothy Spall played the lead.
1981 World Wildlife Fund
Ben Kingsley and Janet Suzman gave poetry readings on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund at the Wembley Conference Centre accompanied with live music. This included myself, Paul James, Chris Gunstone and David Armitage of Blowzabella.
1981 BBC Radio
Radio 4 play – The Dragon in Heaven – Paul James and I devised and recorded the music. Directed by Chris Venning.
1983 BBC TV
All The World Is A Stage – a documentary on the history of theatre written and presented by Ronald Harwood. This included a short extract of Père Ubu performed by Barry Smith’s Theatre of Puppets with live music by Paul James and myself. I believe this was the first time I created a “dark” ambient effect on the hurdy-gurdy.
1983–85 Theatre of Puppets
Barry Smith’s Theatre of Puppets – Music and Drolls, Punch and Judy and Pierrot – musician/actor/puppeteer. Toured extensively in the UK and at festivals in Europe, Israel and the Far East. This again included Paul James of Blowzabella.
Somewhere in Japan with The Barry Smith’s Theatre of Puppets, Nov/Dec 1984. This shows Cliff Stapleton, Joe Gladwin and Barry Smith.
1991–92 Siesta Theatre
Played live music with The Drones for Luis Z Boy’s surreal object theatre at art schools, theatres and Circus Space.
Composer, musical director and performer (musician, actor, puppeteer). Two Christmas productions of Hansel and Gretel (directed by John Roberts) and The Snow Queen directed by the artistic director Luis Z Boy. Also a national tour of The Dragons Head directed by Luis.
Musical director for the show The Grass is Greener, directed by Gavin Glover and Liz Walker of Faulty Object, Theatre of Animation. Also performed at the Seconde Rencontre Internationale des Ecoles de Marionnettes in Charleville-Mézières, France.
1993–94 Mme Souhami & Co
Composer, musical director and performer (musician, puppeteer) for the shadow puppet shows Mrs McCool and the Giant Cucullin and Paper Fish directed by Jessica Souhami. Tours of schools and theatres.
1994 Théâtre Sans Frontières
Composer, musical director and performer (musician/actor) for the French spoken show La Belle aux Cheveux d’Or directed by Debra Maurice. Performed in schools and at The Kendal Mime Festival.
1994–96 Dynamic New Animation
Composer and musician for various experimental shows performed at theatres and puppetry festivals.
Improvised performance of TAPE at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. From left: Adam Bennet, Steve Tiplady, Cliff Stapleton.
1995 BBC TV
Watch – performed live music using a kalimba, acoustic objects and toys for Madame Souhami’s Paper Fish.
Composer and musician for the national tour of Little Redcap at theatres, schools and puppet festivals, directed by Linda Cotterill. Later, we created a new show with the Christmas production of Baba Yaga Bony Legs at Leicester Haymarket directed by Mark Pitman. Again this was followed by a national tour.
1997–98 Mask Studio
Production of The Passion of Kaspar Hauser directed by Christopher Marcus – composer, musician and puppeteer. All music was played on the hurdy-gurdy with a minimum of melody. Drones, harmonics and other ambient sounds were used to create a magical effect. Performed at theatres in the UK and all over Europe.
2000 BBC TV
Later 100 with Jools Holland. Played hurdy-gurdy with Paul Weller for the song, Picking Up Sticks.
1994–present Indefinite Articles
Composer and musician for two live shows, Pinocchio and Claytime, created by Sally Dodd and Steve Tiplady. These performances are largely improvised and tour theatres and festivals in UK and Europe. In 2003, I composed and recorded music for their production of The Magic Lamp directed by Arlette George.
The Magic Lamp by Indefinite Articles featuring Steve Tiplady within The Labyrinth. Tracks 8 and 10 from The Tumbling of Creatures – Labyrinth and Scent – is the music to accompany this magical shadow sequence. Photo © Pete Jones.