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