Meet Cat Rock

Date published: 8 Apr 2024

Posted by: Kayleigh Page

City Arts and Nottingham Puppet Festival have commissioned a brand-new walkabout puppet! The puppet will be designed and created in collaboration with Nottingham communities. These include Cantrell Primary School pupils, the Nottingham Rebels Theatre Group, and participants from the Hubb Neighbourhood Centre in Sneinton.

We are delighted to have worked with our groups to commission Bristol-based designer, maker and puppeteer Cat Rock to take on this project. Hear what Cat has to say about it…

Over the past month I have had the pleasure of working with three groups from Nottingham; over nine workshops we have learnt puppetry skills, puppet-making and have developed ideas for a large walkabout puppet act that will debut during Nottingham Puppet Festival on the 13th April. 

During the group sessions we discussed Nottingham’s history, culture and people; looking in to ‘what’ and ‘who’ makes Nottingham “Nottingham”. These discussions led to some wonderful stories and inspiration, which were great starting points for a walkabout puppet. But, in the end one idea resonated with all the groups, and that is our act “2 for joy”.

Two giant magpies named Sophia and Benjie (named by Cantrell students) will fly around town collecting treasures offered up by the community.

“What do you treasure about Nottingham?
Is it your school, club or community hub?
Is it your family, friends or a local hero?
Is it a shop, library or happy place?
What local treasure do you want to protect in our magpie nest?”

So, why magpies? For starters they have a lot of similarities to that famous bloke called Robin Hood, who also had an affinity for taking shiny things! Magpies are the stars of stories and superstitions. They represent the good and the bad, and are avid collectors of treasure. They are here to collect our Nottingham treasures and take them back to their nest for safe-keeping. We will be making a large nest for people to add their own Nottingham treasures to over the course of the festival, so that in the end we will be able to see what people treasure about this place. 

We are also very excited that the magpies will be made using beautiful donated local lace from Cluny Lace. Nottingham has such a rich and interesting history in lace and it’s amazing that this heritage will be represented in this walkabout act. 

All the groups were keen for Nottingham to be represented in this act, they want something that could move about and interact with the community and grow over the course of the week.

I can’t wait to find out what everyone’s Nottingham treasures are! 

Look out for the magpies in the city centre on Saturday 13 April and you can catch them at Lakeside Arts on Sunday 14th!