String Bean Puppets is a small Wellington puppet company dedicated to sharing the wonder of puppetry. Its performances can be see in the streets, at local festivals and at the Harbour Side Market most fine Sundays. They will also do shows for schools, kindergartens, birthday parties or any other occasion that might require a puppet show!!
String Bean Puppets was set up in December 2009 by Anna Bailey after she returned from an inspiring Au Pairing trip to Italy. While au pairing in Perosa Argentina, a small mountain village in the north of Italy Anna took the children she was looking after to a puppet show in a theatre in a nearby town and was blown away.
In faltering Italian after the show she spoke to Damiano Privitera, the director of the theatre, about how much she enjoyed the production and would love to see more but she was due to finish Au pairing in three weeks. He asked if she knew how to use a sewing machine (yes!) and then suggested that she come and live in the theatre (they could put a bed in the room above the theatre with the sewing machine) and she could sew curtains and costumes. And that was literally that! During the 8 months Anna lived at Teatro Del Lavoro she was exposed to a lot of different forms of puppetry as she helped with the festival that the theatre ran in June “Immagini dell Interno” and helped with the regular weekly programme, travelled with the family to Festival Mondial des Theatre de Marrionettes in Charleville Mezieres. Had unlimited access to the library of texts about puppet theatre, after hours access to the puppets and the theatre. In the evenings after the shows had finished she made and experimented with puppets. Damiano Privitera gave her lessons on the tradition of Pulcinella and Sergio Barrios, of Apokellen Marionetas, helped her make and move her first marionette. Also that summer she travelled to Bread and Puppet Theatre in Vermont where she did a six week internship creating and performing with large parade puppets and being involved with the weekly puppet “circus” and paegents.
She has just returned from a six month tour in China and around Europe, taking her shows to many different puppetry festivals and busking in many different cities and participating in some inspiring workshops.