The Rust & Stardust Story

Our first Rust & Stardust production, The Wild Man of Orford was shortlisted for the 2015 Sustainable Practice Award by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Creative Carbon Scotland.

Also in 2015, we collaborated as puppeteers on a production of Beowulf, part of the Sea of Stories season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and also began working with Bright Moon Theatre in Brighton as associated artists on many of their projects. 

With a collective of Brighton artists and puppeteers, we took part in two gallery shows: The Art of Puppetry at the Grange Gallery, Rottingdean and Making Magic In The Museum at Hove Museum & Art Gallery. Both exhibitions featured our puppets, sets and costumes and regular performances.

Our next project, Three Ribbons / Two Sisters, saw us write and perform two short tales of ritual, redemption, revenge and rebirth for the darkest time of the year, with storytelling, table-top and shadow puppetry across Sussex.

Following these initial successes, we created a trilogy of Science Shows written by Sussex playwright Anthony Hope, which have featured at Brighton Science Festival for the last three years: The Poetical Scientist, Under The Apple Tree, and Seeing Stars, which one reviewer called, “enchanting, informative and exhilarating in equal measure.” 

These Science Shows were all accompanied by our first set of educational children's workshops, which proved to be sell-out successes.

Since 2016 we have been working with the Thomas Marshall Education Fund in Suffolk. TMEF supports the education, training and life skills of young people in Mozambique, and has enabled us to bring our shows The Wild Man of Orford and The Green Children of Woolpit to Suffolk to raise money for the charity.

In 2016 and 2017, we were delighted to develop an exciting new show for families with recorder quartet Palisander. Dr Dee’s Daughter and the Philosopher’s Stone was awarded Arts Council England funding for a UK tour.  

The show, set in Elizabethan England and featuring themes of science and magic, was called, “superb on all levels,” “a complete and brilliant package,” and “a family show which will be a hard act to follow.”

The subsequent tour of Dr Dee's Daughter included performances at Brighton Early Music Festival, Newbury Spring Festival, Lake District Summer Music, Beverley Early Music Festival, Cheltenham Music Festival, Wiltshire Music Centre and The Stables Milton Keynes.

Also in 2016, Rust & Stardust launched our Puppet Parties - “magical and special” children’s parties featuring mini shows and themed craft activities. 

From there, we published our first two books The Tale of Miss Fox and The Tale of Piggy Pirate, adapted from our party shows.

After touring our Science Shows and Dr Dee's Daughter, we then began work on a suite of new plays and projects.

One of these projects, in partnership with the Thomas Marshall Education Fundled to the creation and performance of The Green Children of Woolpitanother wonder tale from 12th century Suffolk which we told with music, poetry and life size green children puppets!

In early 2018, Rust & Stardust then collaborated with Reverend Peter Blee at St Michael and All Angels Church, Berwick, on a term-long arts and education project with Alfriston Primary School. 

The project, which grew into The Lost Sheep, involved pupils creating their own puppets, sets and script with us, with the scheme culminating in a public performance in the church.

We have subsequently worked with several other schools to create educational shows and workshops which tie in with the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum, and our successes in this arena led to TMEF facilitating a project with the Arts Award students at Orford Primary School, Black Shuck, in 2018

For Black Shuck, children participated in every stage of the project, from making their own puppets to be used in the show, to rehearsing puppetry, acting, songs and dance, and finally participating in public performances with Rust & Stardust.

Also in 2018, Rust & Stardust wrote and performed our Frankenstein-inspired horror play We Shall Be Monsters at Brighton Science Festival, our Christmas play, The Regency Town Mouse, and wrote two new Puppet Party plays - The Tale of Fairy Rose and The Tale of Piggy Pirate and the Stormy Straits

We were extremely busy in 2019 with a dizzying array of puppet parties, workshops and shows, including touring productions of new family-friendly shows Tweethearts and The Moose on the Moon, performances of Seeing Stars at the Lancashire Science Festival, and a puppet adaptation of The Tempest.

In 2020 we continued to tour our popular family show Tweethearts, and updated our fabulous Puppet Parties to include new seasonal adventures and delightful characters. During the UK lockdown and theatre closures, we brought the magical world of Rust & Stardust online, sharing puppet making and craft tutorials, meet the puppets videos and more on our YouTube Channel. We also collaborated with award-winning musicians to create a free online mini-series, Endo the Earthworm. 

In 2021 we continued to tour Tweethearts with the support of Applause Rural Touring. In collaboration with the Thomas Marshall Education Fund and Orford Primary School, we were able to unleash our newest education project, The Marsh Demons of Iken, to socially distanced audiences in July. 

To keep up to date with our current activities, please visit the News section >