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Army of Animals Assembles in Scarborough for Song of Leviathan

Animated Objects artistic director Lee Threadgold with the puppet of Hanuman, the Monkey King

An army of animal puppets including a giant Monkey King is assembling in Scarborough for a procession and performance on the town’s seafront next month.

The Song of Leviathan, the story of Ivan and Vasilissa and their voyage aboard a great mechanical whale, will be told by a cast of dozens of community volunteers under the direction of local theatre company Animated Objects. It can also be seen online from Monday in a shadow puppet version created with over 1,000 pupils from schools across North Yorkshire.

The puppets, ranging from illuminated fish to the giant Hanuman, the Monkey King, will be seen in a series of events during Scarborough’s annual arts festival, Coastival, on the weekend of Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February, culminating in performances in the spectacular Spa Sun Court at 6.30pm on the Friday and 6.00pm on the Saturday and a procession along the South Bay at 1.30pm on the Saturday.

Linked events on the Saturday include a puppetry masterclass, giant colouring seascape, puppet display, and ‘meet the creatures’ walkabout.

Animated Objects artistic director Lee Threadgold said:

“It’s a bit like putting on a production of The Lion King – but with four times the cast and only a fraction of the budget!”

In recent months, Lee and creative director Dawn Dyson-Threadgold have visited 13 primary and infants schools across the county to work with pupils who operated the shadow puppets and provided narration, recording over three hours of performance which were then edited down to a 15-minute film.

Dawn says:

“It was brilliant to work with schools ranging from those which only have a handful of pupils, like Rosedale Abbey Community Primary School to much bigger ones like Scarborough’s Northstead Primary School.

“Some of the smaller or more remote schools don’t always get the chance to work on large projects like this, but funding from Arts Council England and North Yorkshire County Council’s Music Hub has made that possible, so we’re very grateful to them both.”

Other schools in the region which contributed to the shadow puppet film are: Gladstone Road Primary School, Braeburn Primary and Nursery School, St Peter’s RC Primary School, all in Scarborough; Pickering Community Infant and Nursery School, Hovingham CE VC Primary School, Nawton Community Primary School, Gillamoor CE Primary School, Foston CE Primary School, Terrington CE Primary School, Rillington Communty Primary School and Carr Infants’ School, York.

The children also composed poetry based on the characters in the story, and Animated Objects will be releasing an online collection of their work in the weeks running up to Coastival.

Pupils from Scalby Secondary School in Scarborough and Caedmon College in Whitby are also involved in creating puppets and operating them on the day.

Tickets for the performances of The Song of Leviathan are free, but spaces are limited, so booking is recommended – please visit:

For further information on Animated Objects and The Song of Leviathan, please visit: and

Army of Animals Assembles in Scarborough for Song of Leviathan Reviewed by Editor on 19:39:00 Rating: 5

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