Norwich Puppet Theatre presents The Steadfast Tin Soldier this Christmas

Steadfast Tin Soldier puppeteer Jonny Storey at the Norwich Puppet Theatre.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY Steadfast Tin Soldier puppeteer Jonny Storey at the Norwich Puppet Theatre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Monday, December 23, 2013
7:00 AM

A fairytale about a little tin soldier and a paper dancer is entertaining audiences at Norwich Puppet Theatre this festive season.

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Hannah Punchard with her creations at the What Goes On a Tree? Workshop at the Norwich Puppet Theatre.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYHannah Punchard with her creations at the What Goes On a Tree? Workshop at the Norwich Puppet Theatre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

An adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, is the Christmas show at the Whitefriars venue, and it tells the tale of a tin soldier who falls in love with a beautiful paper dancer and then tumbles out of a window into a perilous journey into the unknown.

The show is magically brought to life through an array of inventive paper puppets, animations and projections which puppeteer Jonny Storey interacts with. He said the focus on using paper was a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen.

As well as the paper ballerina – which Mr Storey cuts out before his audience’s eyes – there is also a paper castle, a boat made of newspaper, a tracing paper river, a paper heart which is transformed into a rose, and a wastepaper basket fish, among other ingenious inventions.

Mr Storey said: “The show tells the story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier using different kinds of paper in different ways because in the original story there is a paper castle and a paper dancer who the soldier falls in love with.

Aidan Penrose with his creation at the What Goes On a Tree? Workshop at the Norwich Puppet Theatre.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYAidan Penrose with his creation at the What Goes On a Tree? Workshop at the Norwich Puppet Theatre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

“Also, Hans Christian Andersen was fascinated by paper and would illustrate his stories with paper cuts.”

About the show as a whole, he said: “I think it is a very simple and beautiful show using a mixture of puppetry, object play and animation.

“It’s not your typical Christmas story, but there’s something magical about the show. It’s quite touching.

“It’s a story about the unwavering love of a tin soldier who goes on an adventure and lots of things happen to him, but he remains steadfast.

“He doesn’t forget the dancer in spite of being washed out to sea. It’s a tale of loyalty and love.”

The show is at the theatre until January 4, and on Saturday the theatre also held a Winter Solstice Wonderland workshop day where families inspired by the Christmas show created their own festive decorations of tin soldiers, dancers and other characters to put on their trees at home. Gemma Khawaja, from the theatre, said: “There’s so much paper in the show and we thought it would be lovely for people to make paper decorations for their Christmas trees.”

Kerry Murphy, from Ipswich, watched the show and took part in the workshop with her three-year-old son Nico and husband Naas. She said: “It was brilliant. We had a great time. It was really magical and great for Nico’s imagination.”

Alice Leftley, from Earlham Road in Norwich, came to Norwich Puppet Theatre with her daughter-in-law Sally Salmon, from Cringleford, her grandsons Oliver, six, and Hugo, four, and her mother Olive Chamberlin, from Southampton.

She said: “It was a fantastic day, very creative. The workshop was a nice thing to do after the show.”

The Steadfast Tin Soldier is at Norwich Puppet Theatre until January 4. Tickets cost £6.50 for children, £8.50 for adults and £7 for concessions. A family ticket is £24. For more details and to book tickets visit www.puppettheatre.co.uk or call 01603 629921. The theatre regularly holds puppet-making workshops and details of these can also be found on the Norwich Puppet Theatre website.

Do you have story about the arts in Norwich? Contact reporter Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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