On the 15th December 2012 in John Lewis, Southampton shoppers witnessed Too Much Normal – a series of puppetry performances exploring beauty and magic in everyday things. The piece had been created by the students of The Nuffield Youth Theatre with support from Max Lindsay, Creative Learning Associate at The Nuffield Theatre and me, Isobel Smith. The performance marked the culmination of the first part of Grist to the Mill’s residency at The Nuffield Theatre.
Too Much Normal was the culmination of ten sessions with the Nuffield Youth Theatre, run by Max Lindsay for young people from Southampton aged 13-21.
The students created junk puppets and began to explore the material qualities inherent in each, before starting to devise scenarios for them. They made mermaid puppets from floor cloths and sponges, and worked together on routines to make them swim. Max and I added guidance, enthusiasm, props and costumes, and were thrilled to watch Too Much Normal unfold.
The highlight of the performance was seeing the shoppers transfixed as they watched the washing line scene and overhearing someone say “That’s amazing, they’ve done all that just with washing on a line.” So, very well done Nuffield Youth Theatre and thanks to Arts Council England, Max Lindsay, John Lewis, The Nuffield Theatre and Puppet Centre, for your support throughout this project.
Link to: Animations Online Blog, reporting on Too Much Normal