Canadian puppeteer, Ronnie Burkett, has brought his hilarious show The Daisy Theatre to Australia for the Sydney Festival this January. It is on until this Friday. Ticket details at the end of the post.
You recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes, how long have you been doing puppetry?
This is currently the middle of the 31st year of Theatre of Marionettes. I began my fascination with puppetry at the age of seven, and by age fourteen started touring my own shows. Prior to starting Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes in 1986, I had worked for other puppeteers, done a considerable amount of television and film work, won an Emmy at the age of 21, and performed in schools, armed forces tours, cabaret, pretty much every and anywhere I could think of!
What first attracted you to puppetry?
The magic of making stories come alive, creating the actors from my imagination, the endless limitless possibilities available. I loved making things, loved storytelling and performing, and here was the perfect platform, all combined into one.
Did you study at a dedicated school?
I went to theatre school and trained as an actor, but found that very unsatisfying. My puppetry education came about through various mentors in the field who took me under their wings when I was a teenager.
Do you make the marionettes yourself?
I do. I design them, sculpt them, carve them, joint and paint them. I have a small team of amazing artisans who I have worked with for many years who help in the process.
Have you performed in Australia before? If so, where?
This will be my 7th tour to Australia. I’ve performed in Perth, Brisbane, twice at the Sydney Opera House, and several times in Melbourne.
Where has been your favourite place to perform in the world?
Do you have a dream performance place or audience?
Not really. I perform a lot, and at this point, the thrill of finding out who each audience is, is the thing that keeps me interested and excited.
What’s special about your show The Daisy Theatre?
One man, no script, 50 marionettes, musical numbers, a puppet stripper, and a character who will steal your heart. Where else can you see that?
The Daisy is very much current, but not one of those shows that is driven by the news of the day. It’s about our life during these times. And it’s also very silly, naughty, musical, fun.
Also, is it lonely travelling and performing solo?
No, it’s what I was trained to do, what I was told to expect if I wanted this career. I get to see many places, and I have friends in all of them, which is a lovely thing. I also tour with my stage manager, so it’s less alone than one might think.
Sum up The Daisy Theatre in one sentence.
A one-man improvised marionette show for adults only.