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Puppetry and Spectacle : Selected works

Contemporary Performance Work by Jessica Wilson

Puppetry and Spectacle : Selected works


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This collection eatures excerpts of seven selected works by Jessica Wilson, including: Stormy Night, Frankenstein, Dream Masons, Dr Egg and the Man with No Ear, The Western Ring Cycle, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Under the Big Sky. 

These works are defined by their rich visual narratives and seamless combination of artforms including puppetry, physical performance and projected image. 

Stormy Night - live acetate animation from the picture book by Michelle Lemieux which explores philosophy for children, produced for Terrapin Theatre - 2001 - 4 mins - in theatre puppetry for family audiences.

Frankenstein - bunraku puppetry in a haunting rendition of the Mary Shelly's tale, produced for Terrapin Theatre - 2004/6 - 3.5 mins - in theatre puppetry for family audiences

Dream Masons - produced by Salamanca Arts Centre on the facade of that building, for the opening of the Ten Days on the Island Festival - 2007 - 3.5 mins - open air spectacle

Dr Egg and the Man with No Ear - a fable for the post human family, produced by Redmoon Theater in Chicago from the story by Catherine Fargher. - 2007/8 - 6 mins - in theatre puppetry

Western Ring Cycle - three distinct works developed with local community and viewed from moving buses for the Big West Festival - 2007 - 3.5 mins - community work

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs - marionette puppetry and projected image exploring a journey in one woman's mind, produced for Terrapin Theatre - 2003 - 4 mins - in theatre puppetry for adult audiences

Under the Big Sky - produced by Brink Performance on a 20 metre cliff face for QPAC's Stage X Festival - 1997 - 3.5 mins - open air spectacle

Full production credits found at

Find Part 2, a full performance of Dr Egg and the Man with No Ear, here.

Jessica is a director, writer and producer of non-text based theatre.  Her work is defined by its rich visual narratives and combination of artforms including puppetry, physical performance and projected image.  She directed many works as Artistic Director of TERRAPIN THEATRE, Hobart between 1999 and 2004, including THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS (2000) which played at the Australian Performing Arts Market and in the Ten Days on the Island Festival in 2004.  As Director and co-founder of BRINK PERFORMANCE GROUP in Brisbane, between 1994 and 1999, she directed UNDER THE BIG SKY, a theatrical work on a cliff face, and a number of other site-specific pieces.  

Now freelance, her project highlights include the co-direction, with Jim Lasko, of DREAM MASONS, a large spectacle that opened the Ten Days on the Island Festival in Hobart on the façade of the Salamanca Arts Centre in 2007. Also DR EGG AND THE MAN WITH NO EAR which she conceived and directed for the Sydney Opera House in the same year, followed by performances at the Victorian Arts Centre and the Awesome Festival in Perth.  DR EGG played in Chicago in 2008 where it was nominated for 4 Jeff Awards.  It presented at the IPAY Showcase in Cleveland, and then toured Canada in 2010 (Vancouver, Whitehorse, Ottawa and the prestigious Coups de Theatre in Montreal).

Jessica has extensive experience as a community cultural development director, conceiving and realising projects such the WESTERN RING CYLCE (2007), for the Big West Festival, where the audience sits on three buses to view shows in suburban front yards, RUMOURS (2008), a large-scale outdoor work on the façade of the Sale Performing Arts Centre with young people from the Gippsland area, and THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD for Polyglot working with parent child pairs affected by bushfire to produce an interactive exhibition in Healsville.

She also directed the WARBURTON WINTERFEST (2005), a regional festival and performance in a disused factory, BONEGILLA (2005), for Ian Pidd, a series of puppet performances in wardrobes in the abandoned dormitories of a migrant camp, and MATERIAL WORLD, a large installation with refugees on bridging visas, in Federation Square for the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2006).

She is currently working on three new theatre works for young audiences, HOW HIGH with Polyglot and STILL AWAKE STILL with Jump Leads, as well as a large scale spectacle on the facade of 64 shipping crates in Melbourne with DREAM MASONS.   Jessica was recipient of an Australia Council Professional Development grant to travel to the USA and Europe in 2004, to research concept development processes in the creation of non-text based work, and has sat on the Australia Council Theatre Board as an advisor.

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