What would Paul Currie’s Wikipedia say about him?
Paul Currie is a Belfast based artist, puppeteer, stand Up comedian and circus clown, street performer and community circus tutor.
Can you tell us what you’re doing at Cinemagic?
I’ll hopefully be inspiring young people, and maybe even adults, to play with and find the magic again in puppet manipulation. It’s such an amazingly diverse and ancient art form, but people have forgotten the power and levels that puppet performance can reach.
The workshop will be held after the October 10 screening of documentary Being Elmo – A Puppeteer’s Journey.
For Kevin Clash, the creator of Elmo, Henson was his idol. Who influenced you to get into puppetry?
Jim Henson and all the Muppet Show performers were my idols growing up. When I was about five or six I saw a documentary on the Muppets. I clearly remember seeing these bearded men performing with the puppets I had fallen in love with and was mesmerised by. ‘They look like my dad,’ I remember thinking. ‘They are adults playing with cool puppets, and this is their job!! You mean you can be a full grown adult and not gave to work in a factory or as an electrician or in a bank or as a bus driver!!! You can be an adult and THIS can be your job??!!’ That documentary was a massive mile stone for me, although at the time I was not aware how significant it would be.
In a world of CGI and 3D stop-motion, can you still make a career out of being a puppeteer?
Yes, very much so I think.
Animatronics are making a come-back now. People have realised that the human eye knows what is CGI and what is actually real. You can not beat a real ‘thing’ that has been made and built, like a castle or a space ship, or an alien.
Give me a puppet or a person in a suit any day, before you offer me a CGI effect. It’s flat, and the brain and our eyes know this. My best example is Yoda. Nothing compares to a talented puppeteer’s hand up some beautifully moulded sculpted latex puppet, certainly not a flat computer generated creature that only exists on a computer.
What’s the process of making a puppet?
You must first start with a charter, a personality. There is nothing more inspiring than simply people watching on the the street. Or you can base it on a famous musician or celebrity.
If you could take your puppets to any venue in the world – where would you most love to perform?
To the Charleville international World Puppet Theatre Festival in France. It’s the most inspiring puppet festival in the world, I think. I was there once performing my puppets on the streets.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in puppetry?
Start by making your own puppets and get performing in front of anyone and everyone. You have to keep your eyes and ears peeled for any puppet productions be that TV or a age and just ask to be on set to help and assist as much as possible. Oh, and partake in as many workshops as you can.
Why are people afraid of puppets?
I think because people are afraid of inanimate objects coming to life.
Who was your favourite muppet?