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Nathan Ritson

Prop Maker, Story Teller,

Bio

Sheffield based after a three year stint down in Brighton, where I recently graduated from the university of Brighton studying 3D design and craft, it is here I developed a love of puppetry and storytelling to compliment my work with props. After volunteering with a local theater and free lancing with the prop making company Plunge Productions in Brighton for the summer of 2018, I have now moved back up North. 


The Frog and Bone 

Currently I am part of a start up enterprise with other recent graduates looking at heritage and local history and exploring these themes through craft and immersive theater, Collectively we are "The Frog and Bone Theater company".

Hope Streets

The latest venture I have completed as part of Frog and Bone, is the first year launch of the Hope Happenings Project, a heritage lottery funded scheme that aims to get young people in the Northwest more involved with their local heritage.

This project allowed us to run creative workshops during the February half term with youth groups from areas in the Northwest, to gather their stories and get a feeling for how they currently engage with museums and heritage. After this initial tour we decided on our 'Mobile Museum' design and set about construction. During this period I compiled the array of stories we'd gathered into a cohesive narrative for each area, forming a script and list of puppets we'd need for each performance. 

The idea of the mobile museum was that we could set up in any space we were provided with and run a show that made use of both large wicker framed puppets and shadow puppets that invited the audience on stage to engage in the stories their homes helped inspire. In the guise of the Story Peddler I narrated and interacted with audience members during these shows which ran through the Easter period.

The Project as a whole was exceptionally well received, and proved to be an extremely valuable learning experience for all involved. Frog and Bone have also been invited back by several of the sites to take part in the festivals that they will be setting up next year, so exciting times ahead!

Fire in the Fens

A video clip from our recent show Fire in the Fens, in which we drew inspiration from some of the more obscure local folklore of the Cambridgeshire area, can be seen bellow. 

The Fire in the Fens show was an alternative bonfire night, where the focus was on the folklore of the area rather than politics. It involved a set built entirely from dead or dying timber, recycled cardboard and chipboard, some old sheets that were going to be thrown out, and thatch made from fallen and pruned branches. All the nails that were used in it's construction were collected from the ashes the next day with a magnet. The show consisted of a shadow puppet performance that I wrote and narrated featuring local legends from the Cambridgeshire area. 

The climax of the performance involved burning down the set for it to become the bonfire.

As the set burned, we brought out some of the large Puppet/costumes we had made and set them loose in the audience, before a small firework display and stew, cooked on an open fire for the spectators to indulge in! 

NuTopia

Working for part of Manchester based company, Sense in Dimensions, I took on the role of a NuTopian scientist/boarder guard at the NuTopia immersive experience event during Lunar Festival 2018. This role saw me improvising scientific mumbo-jumbo whilst scanning festival goers and administering some basic PH tests!

To a Bright and Zesty Future

Now, for anyone wondering why I have a lemon in my mouth, that's down to my final year project at university, a conceptual work where I posed the question, 

What would Britain be like if we powered everything with lemons?

The answer, probably not amazing. I created a series of 3 videos, teaching myself as I went, that included three lemon based contraptions demonstrated by myself and a friend. These can be seen on my vimeo profile.