Graeae Theatre, Touring

Adaptation of The Iron Man by Ted Hughes with a deaf and disabled cast. 

Working with Designer Sofie Layton and Artist Mike Pattison I was asked to make the giant Iron Man, his small version and his giant mechanical hand.

After R+D sessions with the Graeae performers and much head scratching, working designs and concepts were reached. The Iron Man was to be 5.5m high, fully mobile and compiled of makeshift limbs making him overtly asymmetric. With parts like a wheel for his leg there’d be reference to disability whilst remaining autonomous to his own identity. 

The “mini” Iron Man was 80cm high and primarily held at the neck and steadied on it’s wheel leg. A second puppeteer manipulated the right arm and leg.

For the “big” man Mike Pattison built a base powered by electric wheelchair motors and operated by a wheelchair user. His internal skeleton brilliantly allowed an easy 90degree pivot at the waist operated from a chair behind the body.

Aluminium bar, sheet and mesh were used extensively as well as found objects such as bike wheels and ventilation components.

 The giant hand was based loosely on an over the shoulder tombola with a handle driving 4 cranks that made the fingers crawl along.
The key was to express minimum movement from the puppeteers to graceful and purposeful gestures through our giant robot.

Fabrication Assistace: Debbie  Mingham, Edwina Rigby