Poppet Project

The ACT Natimuk team worked in Bendigo over a ten month period in 2018 to create a new aerial and projection performance centred on the iconic poppet head in Rosalind Park . This new work, one of the Regional Centre of Culture commissions, and supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, the Capital Theatre and the City of Greater Bendigo, captured and expressed stories of Bendigo and its people. Partners in the project included the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Bendigo Historical Society,CreateAbility, Bendigo Field Naturalists, & ZFit.

Poppet was be presented on Saturday October 20th 2018

Poppet short trailer by Jacqui Shulz

Poppet full show by Jacqui Shulz

More on this project...


Poppet Post #6

All roads lead to Bendigo →

Or so it seemed in the gold fever of the early 1850s. Join the throng making their way to the Poppet Head on Camp Hill this Saturday October 20th for this one-only free performance of Poppet from 8pm. Bring a rug, chair, picnic, family & friends, and a sense of wonder as you experience a layering of evocative and poetic images expressing a multifaceted sense of this place, Bendigo – told through aerial performance, interactive projections, shadow puppetry, live performance  & sound, co-created with the people of Bendigo. 

Did you know Camp Hill was the site of protest against both the Gold License fee (1853) and the Chinese Protection Tax (1859) ?      

Large-scale site-specific work with community is a quite a challenge but one that the ACTNatimuk crew and associate artists, rise to and relish. This Regional Centre of Culture Commission through Creative Victoria has provided the opportunity to work on this scale on this iconic structure. Working on three sides, with three projection surfaces & three teams of aerialists adds to the complexity together with co-ordinating the performance of over 100 community members from choristers to young shadow puppeteers.

The ‘crunchy’ work is happening right now as all the different strands of performance and production are wrangled and woven together in a massive team effort to realise this unique work.

We hope to see you there

Team Poppet

Poppet Post #5

The home stre——–tch!

As you will see from the photo thanks to our 3 wonderful, creative, Natimuk riggers, we have been rehearsing with 2 out of the 3 ‘skins’ up. To make up the aerial performance team, along with the 3 experienced aerialists, we are training 3 young local people from Central Victoria. They are coming along in leaps and bounds – literally.  Check out footage of one of their rehearsals this week.

The project got a great write up in Melbourne’s Broadsheet publication so just follow the link if you want to read an engaging comprehensive wrap up of the aerial work, the training, the ACT Natimuk artists and the project.

A reminder too, if you are in or round Bendigo on Friday October 12th (yes – just next week) you can get a sneak preview at an open rehearsal we are holding from 8-10 pm during Artlands Victoria, the Biennial Regional Arts Australia Conference hosted this year by Regional Arts Victoria. (Actually given the location on a Poppet Head on top of Camp Hill in the Centre of Bendigo it may be hard to miss!!)

Point of interest: given the shape of the Poppet head all the projected images and indeed the projectors themselves will need to be in ‘profile’ aspect.

For further information or inquiries about this project or other Made in Natimuk work please email producer@madeinnatimuk.com

Poppet Post #4

The latest from team Poppet

Getting to the pointy end of the project now but still great opportunities for the local Bendigo community to get involved. There will be free school holiday Shadow Puppetry workshops and also a chance for people into fitness to be incorporated into a celebration of the Poppet Head as a ‘work out zone’ at the start of the performance. For up to date information about these go to – https://www.facebook.com/poppetbendigo/

Rigging of the Poppet Head will be taking place over four days from September 24th in preparation for starting aerial rehearsals on October 1st. If you are in town there will likely be activity on the Poppet Head from then until performance night on October 20th. Apologies to all the very fit people who regularly use a run up the Poppet Head stairs as part of their exercise regime. We would love you to be involved in the event however  – refer above!

There have been some terrific animation and shadow puppetry workshops at Camp Hill Primary School with the children learning about their local fauna from Karen Thomas of the Bendigo Field Naturalists Club. Participants in the community shadow workshops have also created and filmed some striking images.

If you can save the date – October 20th – we would love to see you at the Poppet event to view Bendigo in a new light and also perhaps to check out if this model of performance building is something you may interested in for your community.

(note: bad weather contingency October 21st)

Poppet Post #3

Community workshops in full swing

Exciting times – the shadow and  aerial  workshops have begun. Great to see the joy of experiencing (& sharing) new skills, bodies defying gravity and magical worlds created through light. The next sessions in both series are on Sunday August 26th & Sunday Sept 2nd respectively. Check out the Poppet facebook page for details. 

If you are planning on being in Bendigo for the Regional Arts Australia conference, Artlands, put the evening of Friday 12th of October in your calendar to see a Poppet ‘work in progress’ rehearsal. Where? …. Yes, on the poppet head in Rosalind Park.

Another story-shaping session is happening this Friday with a specific focus on our Dja Dja Wurrung collaboration.  This shared creative process hopefully guiding our way towards developing authentic content & expression of these intrinsic veins of this complex story of ‘a place’.

Meanwhile behind the scenes ‘skins’ are being constructed, projectors being sourced, caribiners ordered, copy written, paperwork signed, budgets scutinised …….

With about 8 weeks to go things are hotting up!

Poppet Post #2

Hey again from team Poppet!

Our June Creative Development was jam-packed with a range of activities, workshops and community connections. These included –

  • A light painting workshop run by projection artist Dave Jones with the CreateAbility performance group supported by Kate Stones & Sam Thomas
  • A descent by Dave & Jillian to the 9 levels of darkness at the Central Deborah Mine
  • A talking tram history tour taken by Mary, Verity & Jillian
  • An early morning catch-up with the young aerialists from ZFit
  • A wonderful information sharing session with the Bendigo Field Naturalists with a follow-up guided walk in the whipstick forest
  • A visit to the Bendigo Joss House Temple – the oldest Chinese Temple of traditional design in Australia and the only surviving temple in regional Victoria.

One major focus for this visit was a full day story-structure planning session with the core creative team. This included a review of all the ideas that have emerged thus far from research, our project partners, individual artistic strengths/passions, and community engagement; then a look at what is missing and a flexible plan for a way forward, including room for new discoveries.

Meanwhile other (perhaps less exciting to most!) essential ‘behind the scenes’ admin and project logistics work continues, lead by Poppet producer, Greg Pritchard.

Did you know?   The brush tailed phascogale is a local threatened marsupial and there is a nesting box project to help with their survival.

Keeping you in suspense – starting in August are some aerial-performance ‘taster’ workshops for interested community members 😉

Poppet Post #1

Hi from the team bringing you the Poppet project.

We would love to share with you this project as it evolves. For those who haven’t heard of it yet the Poppet project will see the creation of a new aerial performance, projection & sound spectacular on the iconic poppet head in the heart of Bendigo. Poppet is a Regional Centre of Culture commission being presented on October 20th 2018. Built into the project are a series of Creative Development periods with community in Bendigo. Local partners in the project include the Golden Dragon Museum, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, the Bendigo Historical Society and CreateAbility.

We aim to gather a range of stories and lived experience of Bendigo, and work with community and artists to celebrate and share these on this iconic structure in the heart of Bendigo.

Thus far with visits in March & May we have gathered the artistic team, shared research, met up with partner organisations and ran some introductory workshops in shadow work and animation. With the help of our riggers we have also tested the skinning of the Poppet head to identify best method and materials to use. We will be projecting onto three sides of this tower. We also had a delightful morning gathering stories from members of the Bendigo Historical Society and recording some VoxPops in the street about life in Bendigo.

We are returning at the end of June and among other activities we aim to include some aerial workshops, a Walk on Country, and catching up with the local Field Naturalists.

We’ll keep you posted!

Sponsors & Supporters