Movingstage was established in 1979 with the aim of producing marionette theatre. This type of theatre requires all elements to be in accord, including the venue. In 1982, after extensive touring, the company opened a theatre on a river barge. The theatre seats 55 and has all the conveniences and facilities of a modern venue. It is licensed by the City of Westminster.
The Theatre Barge has been open for over thirty years and during that time it has hosted thousands of performances. It is now an established venue on the London theatre scene and is based in Little Venice, close to Marble Arch. Each year during the summer, the floating theatre makes a tour of the river Thames. The company has undertaken three British Council sponsored tours in the past. It has also received funding from The Arts Council, Richmond Council, Westminster Arts, Westminster City Council, the Lottery and various charitable trusts including the Gulbenkian Foundation, The Edward Harvist Trust and the Unity Theatre Trust.
The company aims to present innovative quality theatre with a view to raising the status and profile of the marionette. It therefore continues to commission new scripts and musical scores, whenever possible, from contemporary writers and composers. The company has an active educational policy and runs a programme of work in schools, reaching large numbers of children every year.
Movingstage is working to generate a wider recognition of quality live animation as a means of dramatic expression and as an accepted art form in the UK and Europe.
Juliet Rogers trained and worked with John Wright MBE at the Little Angel Marionette Theatre before starting up Movingstage in 1978. She has operated puppets on many television shows and has toured in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Gren Middleton trained as a lighting cameraman and photographed some 14 feature films, as well as numerous documentary films and TV dramas before starting up Movingstage with Juliet. Movingstage is now a family run business comprising three generations. A number of people are associated with the company, many of whom have worked with the group from its inception to the present day. These include specialist designers, composers and actors who are employed for different projects. Freelance puppeteers and artists take parts in all the Movingstage productions and presentations.
To promote live animation
To give the audience an experience of the imagination
To present new music and writing where and whenever possible
To ensure excellence in voice and music recordings
To be aware of: The equal importance of every element within a presentation
The scale and perspective of light
The centre of gravity of the marionette
Silence and space
Live animation is a fine art with a history alongside classical sculpture and drama. The medium has the depth required to crystallize and distil text from such diverse writers as Shakespeare and Becket, as well as being able to present magic and fantasy. It is a form capable of diverse theatrical illusion and effect. The work produced is not ephemeral but long lasting; in this respect marionette theatre is crucially different from other live performance arts, all of which are essentially ephemeral.
"... So imaginative and well judged it grips the spectator throughout."
"...the puppets have a delicate charm and an inner silence."
"...the skilful puppeteers breathe life into each animated gesture."
"...One of London's more elusive treasures."
"...The Movingstage Marionette Company has broken into a strange new world."
"...carved and manipulated with simplicity and strength... sensitive staging, memorable lighting and visual effects."
"...true theatrical magic."
THE YORKSHIRE POST
"...the scale of puppetry forces you to surrender your imagination in a way that flesh and blood actors never could."
The Barge at Richmond