Dirty Beasts brought to life as puppet theatre recreates Road Dahl favourites

Norwich Puppet Theatre's production of The Pig from Dirty Beasts. Picture: Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre's production of The Pig from Dirty Beasts. Picture: Norwich Puppet Theatre - Credit: NPT

The twisted works of one of Britain’s best loved children’s authors have been brought to life by the team at Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Norwich Puppet Theatre's production of Little Red Riding Hood from Revolting Rhymes. Picture: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's production of Little Red Riding Hood from Revolting Rhymes. Picture: NPT - Credit: NPT

As the venue celebrates a milestone anniversary, the team has turned to two of Roald Dahl’s poetry pieces for a series of special online performances - as the venue awaits to return to full use following the lockdown.

Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts were the iconic author’s first poetry collections and presented some of his most wicked and comically dark children’s offerings.

From a gun-toting reinvention of Red Riding Hood in Revolting Rhymes, to aunt-guzzling anteaters in Dirty Beasts, the collections created long-lasting memories for children of a certain vintage that survive well into adulthood.

Now, in a 40th anniversary year that has been marred by coronavirus, the Norwich Puppet Theatre has recreated these unmistakable works for an online series of short performances.

Ian Woods, Norwich Puppet Theatre manager.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ian Woods, Norwich Puppet Theatre manager.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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Zara Goodfellow, who masterminded the series, said: “After feeling sad, lonely and confused as the worries of the world changed our lives, I decided I wanted to try to spread some happiness by sharing and celebrating some of the things that I love.

“I am a life-long fan of the work of Roald Dahl. I love stories and I love puppetry. I believe that stories bring us together and sharing stories and creative experiences can make the world a better place.”

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Ian Woods, general manager of Norwich Puppet Theatre, said: “In these challenging times for artists and theatres it is great to be creating something new in our 40th anniversary year, and we are delighted that this is based on work by our one-time patron Road Dahl.”

The series has been created with the special permission of the Road Dahl Story Company, and with the support of Arts Council England and the Martin Laing Foundation.

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Tummy Beast Picture: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Tummy Beast Picture: NPT - Credit: NPT

The performances will be released on a weekly basis and broadcast on the puppet theatre’s YouTube channel, with a new show uploaded every week leading up to the October half term.

And once every performance has been uploaded, viewers will have until early December to watch them.

Each performance will also showcase a wide range of different puppetry techniques, including shadow theatre, stop-motion animation and pop-up theatre, reminding patrons what they have to look forward to when the theatre can return to full use.

They will also feature music from Ali Houiellebecq and Jonathan Lambert, who have created original scores for the credit sequences.

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Lucy Enskat in Little Red Riding Hood Picture: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Lucy Enskat in Little Red Riding Hood Picture: NPT - Credit: NPt

The Online Puppet Theatre channel can be found on YouTube.

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Lion Picture: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Lion Picture: NPT - Credit: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Cinderalla. Picture: NPT

Norwich Puppet Theatre's Roald Dahl production. Cinderalla. Picture: NPT - Credit: NPT

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