Monthly Archives: February 2011

Puppets in Opera

16 Feb
by Into the Shimmer Heat, posted in Design, Opera, Puppetry, Theatre   |  No Comments

‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ isn’t the first opera that features puppets and puppetry.

Puppets have been used in Opera since the first recorded instance in Venice in 1679.

More recently the film director Antony Minghella worked with the UK’s Blind Summit Theatre to include puppetry in Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ for the English National Opera

Improbable Theatre‘s Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott used puppetry with their production of Phllip Glass’s all-Sanskrit opera for the New York Met about Gandhi’s early life, Satyagraha. Crouch and McDermott, better known as the guys behind  Shockheaded Peter made some extraordinary images using puppetry

satyagraha by the New York Metropolitan Opera

Satygraha for the Metropolitan Opera

The production of ‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ carries on this great tradition by bringing two of the finest puppet artists in Perth, Jo Foley and Ian Tregonning to work together to create moments of extraordinary puppetry for this chamber opera.

A camel is created and animated out of the wreckage of a hot air balloon to carry the mute girl into the shimmering heat of the outback.

opera camel

There are scale changes to show distance and insignificance in the face of the enormous Australian landscape

small opera puppets

Of course with two highly talented puppeteers and theatre makers on the creative team, this production will be a visual feast as well as an aural experience.

Heath Ledger Theatre opening, Perth

04 Feb
by Into the Shimmer Heat, posted in Culture Australia, Theatre   |  No Comments

Heath Ledger's family

Heath Ledger's mother Sally, father Kim and sister Kate attend the opening of the new State Theatre Centre and Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth. Picture: Stewart Allen Source: PerthNow


The state theatre venue where ‘Into the Shimmer Heat’ will stage it’s premiere performances opened to great fanfare on January 28th 2011

Unveiling the world-class Northbridge complex yesterday, Premier Colin Barnett called it a remarkable event to rival the opening of His Majesty’s Theatre in 1904 and the Perth Concert Hall in 1973.
theatre seating
The family of the late Perth-born film star Heath Ledger were in the gold-toned, timber-lined theatre named in his honour for the opening.

Heath Ledger’s father Kim, sister Kate and mother Sally Bell said they were overwhelmed by the construction and design.

“I think Heath would have thought it was magnificent. I have said this before, and we all agree, that he must have been a bird on the shoulder of the architect,” Kim Ledger told reporters at the opening.

Kate Ledger added: “It’s reflective of the way he was as a person. The theatre is eerily reflective”.

Ms Bell said she was humbled by the honouring of Ledger’s memory and the day was a “very mixed emotional time for us, but ultimately we’re very, very proud”.

theatre foyer

For a full gallery of images of the theatre and event, visit Perth Now