Career Highlights 1986 -2019, News and Reviews

Career Highlights 1986-2019

Maritime Marionettes Career Highlights

International Highlights

*World Puppetry Festival, Charleville- Mézières, France
*Flushing Town Hall NY, USA
*Salt Lake City, Puppetry Festival USA*Hsin Kang Children’s Arts Festival,Taiwan,

*MONACO, Dance forum
*Dubai, Festival of Dolls
*Lubbock Texas Symphony Orchestra, USA* Children’s Festival, Honolulu, Hawaii:*Kidfest, Bermuda

National Highlights

* Concert with Québec Orchestre Symphonique PQ
*Festival for Young Children Montréal, PQ * Puppet Festival, Almonte ON
*Tours of the Yukon Territory
* Tour of NWT: Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith
* Festival of Puppetry, Jonquière, PQ
*Spectrum Fest. Medicine Hat, AB 

*Port Moody Art’s Festival, BC
*Film- “The Conclave”
*Tours of Newfoundland and Labrador *Tours of Alberta and B.C.
*Tours of Saskatchewan and BC
*Tours of New Brunswick Children’s Series *Evergreen Cultural Centre, BC

* Ontario Children’s Series: Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Terrace Bay, Timmons, Iroquois Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Geraldton, Red Rock, Sudbury, North Bay, Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Atikokan, Ottawa, Trenton, Huntsville, Belleville, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Milton

*International Children’s Festivals:Peterborough ON, London ON, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Prince George.

Maritimes Highlights

*Stan Rogers Folk Festival
*Tall Ships: Lunenburg, Dartmouth
*G7 summit Halifax
*Chinese New Year Banquet, FLK Tai Chi, Halifax
*Exhibitions: Maritime, NSPE, Bridgewater, Fredericton, Queens
*Canada Day: Bible Hill, Sydney*Christkindle Market, Alderney Landing *NS Bluegrass Festival
*Caledonia Orchestra Show
* G. Bell Museum, Baddeck
*Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival *New Glasgow Jubilee
*Chocolate Festival, St. Stephen’s NB *Sussex Balloon fiesta
*Festivals Acadiens: Caraquet, Tracadie, Clare*Festival Antigonish
*Antigonish Highland Games
*Women’s Institutes of NS, Truro
*Ship’s Company Theatre
*Alderney Landing Theatre, HRM *Marigold Theatre, Truro, NS
*Chester Playhouse, NS
*Savoy Theatre NS
*Boardmore Playhouse, Sydney *Harbourfront Theatre, Summerside *Tours of Atlantic Canadian Theatres

News and Reviews 2019

In the News

Pulling at their heartstrings
Published on October 19, 2012, Sally Cole -The Guardian, Summerside PE

Heather Taylor remembers the first time marionettes pulled her strings.

She was 12 years old and attending a live performance of Pinocchio at a marionette festival in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.

“They touched me . . . . Because the puppeteers were distanced from the actual figures,
their strings became invisible, giving the marionettes a presence and a power that spoke to me,” says the Truro, N.S., native who is bringing her marionettes to Summerside on Oct. 26.

Around the same time, she saw the movie, The Sound of Music, and was drawn to the puppet show scene where Maria and the children perform The Lonely Goatherd for Captain von Trapp and the Baroness Schraeder.

“I felt inspired and immediately found books on marionettes so I could make them and put on shows with four friends from my neighbourhood all through junior high,” says Heather, whose passion for the art form grew with her.

So, when she met her future husband, Darryll, in the early 1980s and shared her enthusiasm for puppets with him, it became infectious.

He joined her in the workshop.

“The marionettes have certain energy about them and a mystique that really drew me in. The work is also much easier than horse-shoeing,” Darryll, a ferrier by trade, says with a laugh.

Shortly after they met, Heather received the opportunity to apprentice with David A. Syrotiak, an American puppeteer, at the National Marionette Theatre in Vermont.

Darryll went along with her.

“We saw one of his productions, Peter and the Wolf. It was an elaborate main stage show. I thought, ‘Wow! This is really, really awesome.’

“I also thought it could it be a very creative way to earn a living . . . . Suddenly it was a career possibility,” says Darryll who quit his day job, took puppetry training and together with Taylor formed Maritime Marionettes in 1986.

Since then, they have worked side by side.

From designing and building marionettes and their wardrobes and making them work, to writing shows, doing lighting cues and adding soundtracks they have been together every step of the way.

“In some ways, it has been the secret to our success . . . . It’s not unusual for married couples to be involved with puppetry. It’s like circus performers and magicians. They are often family units.

“On a personal side, we draw from each other’s strengths, which is important. I bring a more practical, hands-on way of solving problems and Heather brings a more insightful creativity to it,” says Darryll.

Heather agrees. For her, the administrative side is the most challenging.

“It consumes more time than anything else. It’s a hidden thing that people don’t see. We book our own shows, do our own contracts, put together our own promo material and do our own photographs and videos.

“We’re actually sorting receipts while we do this interview,” she says, with a laugh.

Heather notes that after producing 13 different shows and giving hundreds of performances, the couple still has no plans to retire.

“So why do we do it? We feel a responsibility and a love for it. We’ve been given a skill and we’ve worked so hard on it.

“Our puppets are fashioned by hand and brought to life for the younger generation,” says Heather, adding that Maritime Marionettes is excited about bringing Jack and the Beanstalk to the Harbourfront Theatre audience on Friday, Oct. 26.

“And the kids love it,” she says.

 

Maritime Marionettes, fun on strings for kids and kids at heart Dartmouth, August 2011

The world reknowned Maritime Marionettes call Alderney Landing home, their home theatre that hosts many of their exciting and creative plays and performances. The husband and wife duo have performed across Canada, the U.S and overseas captivating audiences for over 25 years, most notably performing at various festivals in Dubai, Taiwan and Germany. Developing what was once a childhood hobby, into exhilarating and fascinating careers. Audience members will be entwined within such captivating stories, life-like movements and features of the characters that at times the play seems almost real, until the glimpse of light is caught shining off the puppeteers legs, bringing you back to reality. The troupe is returning to Alderney Landing to perform at the annual Mother Goose Festival on August 1st as well as regularly for the last two weeks in October. Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart the Maritime Marionettes never cease to amaze, mesmerize and entertain.

“People can’t complain about children spending too much time in front of the computer or television if we don’t offer them other alternatives,” says Darryll, explaining why he feels that exposure to the arts is such an important part of childhood. “And we often get comments from people who can’t believe how attentive their kids are at our shows. We work really hard to captivate them with the whole package of visuals, music, movement and stories.”

-Darryll Taylor, excerpt from Halifax News Net

“Technology has gone in leaps and bounds and has left all these things in a cloud of dust, but actually people are very taken by these little figures,” (Heather Taylor said.) “We’ve hand made them so they have a certain energy to them like any work of art that attracts people and it may not be something they’re consciously aware of it but when they’re watching, it reaches them in a different way than our electronic media.”

-Heather Bishop Taylor, excerpt from Northern News Services

Check out the Maritime Marionettes online at www.Maritime-Marionettes.com and on Facebook at Facebook.Com/MaritimeMarionettes

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Feedback and Reviews

New Brunswick Performing Arts Concerts Program St. Patricks, School

“This is the second year we’ve had the Maritime Marionettes at our school. The performance was excellent and held the children’s attention well. All children and staff greatly enjoyed the performance.”

Ethel McGrath- teacher and enrichment coordinator ——————————————

Mountainview Elementary, Cape Breton

“Excellent! It thoroughly captivated the audience – they were spell-bound. Best Children’s performance yet.”

——————————————– Cousen Memorial, Lyman Elementary, Maine, USA

“Maritime Marionettes came to Lyman Eementary School and performed “Land of the Little People” for grades K through 6. Students of all ages were glued to the performance and teachers hailed Maritime Marionettes as one of the best performances that has been at our school. From my perspective this performance did it all: captivating story, ethical messages, visual artistry in the marionettes, performing artistry (including music) , and a good dose of wisdom and personal conquest. The truly amazing thing is that all this fit smoothly into the story without a distraction that it was trying to teach something.”

Sincerely, Jon Gale Principal

—————————–
July 2001, L’Ardenne Charlesvilles- Mezieres, France, World Puppetry Festival

“The Canadians, Maritime Marionettes, deliver a classical and virtuoso adaptation of Stravinsky’s ballet.” Mathieu Dubois

“The perfect complementary style and the masterful technique of the two
marionettists, create a fluidly choreographed performance. The puppets twirl and pass from hand to hand without the slightest break in rhythm. In short the virtuosity of the two Canadian artists is undeniable.”

“From this grand dance classic, Heather and Darryll Taylor have developed a classical adaptation… presented with virtuoso hands. The audience praised the performance without contest.”

———————————————–

Re: Maritime Marionettes
Heather and Darryll Taylor of Maritime Marionettes recently completed a seven-show tour

for the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils.

Heather and Darryll were very good to work with in advance of and during the tour – cooperative, dependable, and professional. Evaluations are just now starting to trickle in; following are some of the comments that have been received:
“This was an excellent performance and all ages enjoyed it. Appreciated the Taylors taking time to talk about marionettes hands-on experience and photo opportunity.” Joanne Weiss, Assiniboia Arts Council.

“Heather and Daryl put on an awesome show. The sound quality was exceptional (even in our gym!). The Marionettes were awesome as was the way the team manipulated them.” Marilyn McCutcheon, Estevan Arts Council.
“We had a lot of children with their parents in our audience, and the show was thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike. The artists very generously spent time after the show demonstrating the marionettes and technique.” Valerie Bell, Kipling & District Arts Council.

“The audience loved the show.” Kathy Strutt, Kindersley & District Arts Council.

I would not hesitate to recommend Maritime Marionettes as an excellent addition to any presenter’s season.

Sincerely,

Karen Mondor
Performing Arts Coordinator
Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils

——————————————————

I am pleased to recommend this performance. The wonderful set and effects captivate the students and the story is brought to life through the skill Darryll and Heather have in manipulating the marionettes. The response from audiences is reflected in the comments we received:

“Great! Awesome! One of the best so far!”
“It was a wonderful show, unlike anything we have seen before” “Students enjoyed this new medium”

It was a pleasure to work with Heather and Darryll throughout this tour. They are very professional and extremely organized. Their tour was a great success and I highly recommend this performance.

Sincerely,

Beryl Madden
Performing Arts Coordinator
Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, Junior Concerts

website feedback

I was wondering if you used to perform at the Kingston and District elementary school in Kingston, NS ? I went there when I was a child, I’m now 24. I have never forgotten how delightful your work was, if this is in fact who I am looking for. Judging by the immaculate work on your marionettes, it looks so. I have never gotten over your shows… Thank you, J. Anderson

——————————————————–

Before I moved to Ontario, I was a volunteer Pre-school teacher in Glace Bay (Nova

Scotia). We took the children to see you perform Molly and the Oak Island Treasure at the Savoy. I was in awe. I was so excited I volunteered to take another group of kids the next day. Top notch quality entertainment. It was great. Words alone cannot describe the look on the children’s faces as they witnessed what marionettes were all about, not to

mention when Molly found the treasure…the glow from the treasure chest had them doing a double take. They loved it. So did I. Keep up the good work. I recommend that
everyone should see your shows at least once…a year that is.
Ken Crawford

——————————————————–

Dear Heather and Darryll-

On behalf of the Salt Lake City Public Library system, thank you for participating in the 10th Annual Puppetry Festival. We were overjoyed with your performances ofPetrouchka and with your very valuable workshop. Accolades are still arriving from delighted patrons. We wish you and the Maritime Marionettes all the best and hope to have you here again in the future.

– Mary Anne Heider, Librarian

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New! Outdoor stage, colourful gypsy caravan.

This May our outdoor stage  will be getting the final touches, and we can’t wait. Wayne and Philip at Wayne Smith’s welding shop have been have been working hard measuring, cutting and welding all the aluminum pieces to make our dream a reality. We will be trimming it out and painting next, to have it ready for the summer!

Several shows from our current repertoire will work in this stage.  Just think of the places that we can now take our marionette shows: celebrations of all sorts, weddings, reunions, festivals, birthdays, community events, the list goes on.

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The process of remaking Red Riding Hood

From July to September 2018, was a busy and creative time in our Young St. puppet studio. We now have a 2018 remount of our production Red Riding Hood, originally produced in 1988, 30 years ago. This is one of our “small shows”. The marionettes stand from 2 inches to 8 inches tall. The opening of our theatre is about 7 feet wide. We present the show for up to 140 people in one performance, and find that small is beautiful.  The charming quality of this little bridge marionette theatre captivates and softens the heart of all in attendance.

What a treat to retrieve the characters, Red, the wolf, Grandma, and the hunter from marionette retirement. Their sweet costumes by Kathryn Belzer, still looking fit for the stage. This time around we had ample time to let the ideas percolate and worked many hours creating additional characters,  with the goal of presenting the show without dialogue. We have the opportunity to imagine the choreography, blocking and music most suited to the marionettes, sets, and props. Our goal is to uncover the story that  the all of the pieces of the play want to tell.

The Grimm’s version of this story included some unsavoury elements, which we felt weren’t necessary to tell the story. Whatever is acted out with puppets seems very real and has a strong effect on the viewer.  We knew we needed many more characters to accomplish our vision, thus the creation of the forest creatures: rabbit, porcupine and owl. We also added a cat for Grandma, and a loyal hound dog for the hunter.

We created new backdrops and added set pieces, a swing in Red’s yard, a sign with an arrow in the forest, a rocking chair, window and wardrobe in Grandma’s house. All of the set pieces played some part in the unfolding of the play.

Initially we put the blocking for the puppets and props on paper. The first rearranging came as we physically walked through the original blocking with the marionettes. We were feeling our way with the puppets, some things seemed in sync and others out of  place. We had  worries about how things would turn out for the wolf. It all came together so beautifully when we saw how much fun he was having eating from Red Riding Hood’s basket of food. He obviously  needed to have the basket at the end of the show, and creating a demise for him did not fit with the story

Finally we added the musical pieces and did more shifting about of who needs to appear when and where in order to keep it fresh, light and moving along.

That’s a bit of how the show unfolded, the photos fill in some of the details about the building of the sets, and our new characters.

Thanks for reading my post, we hope Red Riding Hood has a long and successful run from 2018 into the future.

Heather Taylor

styrofoam shape for house

Styrofoam stonehouse being covered with cotton fabric

layering thatched roof

finished house and stone wall, with mother and Red

styrofoam shape for tree, pre- covering and painting

early stage of backdrop

scene nearly ready, just missing something, but what does it need? An arrow sign!

scene with sign, wolf, hunter, hound dog

self explanatory

partially complete

porcupine

owl

cat is taking shape

some in the forest

cat and grandma

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reunion of Rag Bag Puppeteers

This past weekend was the 40th year reunion of Heather’s High School class. We had an awesome time, and a mini reunion of 3 of the 4 members of my first puppet troupe.

This short video clip is in honour of those busy and happy days of our youth!

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Summer 2018

We are excited to have a nice summer line up of performances! 

In addition to these shows, group workshops can be booked by contacting us directly.

We are busy in production with Red Riding Hood, which will open at Deep Roots, in Wolfville, Sept 29.

Have a great summer!

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Season update

Our Christmas season schedule is online, starting with a performance of the Bremen Town Musicians at the Berwick Fire Hall, Sunday Nov. 27 at 3:30 pm (free will donations for the food bank.) Also, presenting the Bremen Town Musicians at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside Dec 11. (Full details).

img_3017Here are the Bremen Town Musicians hanging around backstage!

Dec 2, 3 and 4 we are at Alderney Landing with the Nativity and also at Berwick Baptist church on Nov 27, and 3 shows at Christian Fellowship Church in New Glasgow on December 18. Full details 

nativity

The Nativity

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Summer 2016 Highlights

We are looking forward to performing at the Deep Roots Festival, Wolfville, Sept 24,  and getting our marionette shows and workshops back in the schools!

Enjoy slideshow of our summer highlights!

Featuring! Molly at Peggy’s Cove Festival of the Arts; Lonely Leprechaun at Mother Goose Day; Alderney Landing; Jack and the Beanstalk at Glasgow Square and at Flushing Town Hall, NY; Workshop  marionettes are touched up and repaired!

 

 

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References from Schools

A few references for our workshops and shows. Thanks to Perform NS, we are continuing to offer school workshops in Nova Scotia at affordable subsidized rates. We encourage schools to apply early.

Porter’s Lake- Molly and the Oak Island Treasure
Amazing show … not often we are able to find something that engages grades P-6 alike. : ) – Adrienne Blumenthal

Wentworth Elementary- Puppet Making Workshop
“Wonderful experience for all of students from p-6. The children had a very creative day” Elizabeth Aikens

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The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association/Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique

Hey puppet enthusiasts, here is a great opportunity to connect with other puppeteers and to learn more about the art form.

The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association/Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique has now been formally registered under Nova Scotia’s Societies Act.    So it’s time to invite you to become a charter member.

– Our organization will have its headquarters at Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

– We’ve created a provisional Board of Directors drawn from the four Atlantic       Provinces, pending our first annual general meeting in the spring of 2015.

– Our organization will have a vote (and a board seat) in UNIMA-CANADA.

– A portion of your membership fee will be directed to UNIMA-CANADA as well as UNIMA International.

 – Our immediate objective will be to share our region’s puppetry news both within Canada and abroad. (Please unima-canada.blogspot.com).

application:

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Alderney Landing- Rumpelstiltskin

via PressSync

Such a great space at Alderney. The Primaries from Astral Drive were a fun audience.
Two more shows to go.

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