‘The Long Home’ 2017

On Friday 3rd March 2017, we gathered at the Green Man Gallery with the Agnew-Watson clan and local, and not-so-local, friends to celebrate the work of our late founders, Chris and Doug Agnew at the launch night of a month-long retrospective exhibition of their work.

The Exhibition

The Shadow Theatre Show

At the launch party, we attempted to create a piece of shadow puppet theatre using the amazing puppets and scenery made by Chris and Doug – a  mash up of their greatest hits. We tried to include all the big shows – The Voyages of Sinbad, The Owl and the Pussycat, the Nativity, The Little Red Hen, Urashima-Taro – accompanied by some of the Youth Group‘s puppets.

Willing and brave members of the audience were recruited to create a short scene out of selected puppets, scenery and projection backgrounds and write a narration to go along with it. These brave people were ex- (although you never really leave!) and current-Funny Wonderers Joe Kelly, Charles Denton, Charlotte Corner, Darcy Flint and Sarah Gordon plus Penny Wilson and Neil Thomson, both of whom had never experienced the chaos and panic of a Funny Wonders show before so proper props to them! They performed their scenes with the help of Funny Wonders Directors, Ali Quas-Cohen and Anna Watson.

The premise of the show was textile man, Mr Ben Brassington (pictured above), recounted an adventure he went on as a young lad to find the land where the bong tree grows (of The Owl and the Pussycat fame). Our audience participants each created a step of his journey. Ben crossed oceans, deserts, bamboo forests, the south of England and Manchester’s Oxford Road on a bus…eek! And dealt with, amongst others, angry farmers, giant chickens, frightful, talking pigs, bongo-playing cannibals and a jobsworth customs officer.

The show was made complete with live sound effects, narration and music by members of the Funny Wonders team, Sandra Worsley, Jason Lewis and Laurie Agnew. Whilst the scene-changes took a while, the audience kept us going by laughing and cheering us on so many thanks to those lovely people; and a thank you to Neil Scowcroft for looking after the filming. You can see a trailer for the film, out-takes and film of the show (albeit it heavily edited) below.


The Trailer

The Outtakes

The Show

For us, it was lovely to see the puppets being used and in such a creative, inclusive way. Getting people involved in art was what Chris and Doug were about and is one of the most fundamental aspects of Funny Wonders. We do not perform for you, you perform for us!

The show was partly to celebrate Chris and Doug and partly to show ourselves to new people in the town. In order to continue the legacy of this amazing couple, we need more people to get involved in the organisation. If any of you have any time spare, please consider joining us or supporting us in some way. You could join us for a monthly, evening meeting, join our practitioner team and help take our work into schools, help us at community projects and events or simply share our social media posts to help us spread the word of our work. Please get in touch if you are interested.