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No strings attached to prize for Frome puppeteers

Frome puppet winners

Nik and Sarah from Noisy Oyster

TWO FROME puppeteers have  scooped a prize at the World Puppet Carnival in Indonesia. 

Nik Palmer and Sarah Rowland-Barker of puppet theatre company ‘Noisy Oyster’ were among artists from over 40 countries at the Wayang World Puppet Carnival 2013, the biggest puppet carnival in the world.

The duo took their lovable character ‘Plain Bob’ to the Carnival earlier this month, and their show won the ‘best street show’ category. It was also nominated for ‘best children’s show’.

The show has no dialogue, making it easily accessible to non-English speaking audiences, and involves a lot of audience participation.

Nik said, “We had lots of compliments from people who thought the show was brilliant. It was one of the best audiences we’ve had – and we had a big audience of Indonesian kids who were very excited!

“The whole festival had quite a cross section of different styles – how they chose the prizes I’ll never know! It’s very stimulating, and great to see other people’s work. Although there was a bit of a language problem with some, they were very visual as well.

“The whole experience was fantastic, though a little chaotic at times. The festival started with a big parade where each country processed behind their own country flag and banner bearers, just like the Olympics! The opening ceremony was a very grand affair with traditional dancers in lavish costumes and gamelan music, and was attended by the vice-president of Indonesia.”

The duo won £1,000 US dollars, which went towards their travel costs.

One advantage of the Plain Bob show is that it is small enough to be transported with Nik and Sarah on the plane. But it did take up their luggage allowance – leading to problems when they were presented with their trophy!

Nik said, “We were very limited with our aeroplane weight allowance as most of our allocation was taken up by the show. So we had a bit of a problem when they presented us with this heavy trophy. We had to dismantle it, discard the wooden bits and post the rest home. I will have to make a new base for it when it arrives.”

Nik and Sarah have been working together for eight years, performing locally and at festivals at home and  abroad. They have made appearances at Glastonbury Festival, Skipton Puppet Festival, and travelled to many other countries including the Czech Republic and Denmark.