Keith Frederick is the puppet maker for Jack V Giant, a contemporary adaptation of a fairytale classic, which opens Polka Theatre’s 2023 Season.
Join Jack, a brave young girl who embarks on a giant adventure when she sells the family cow in return for magic beans… Come on an unforgettable musical journey from underground gold mines, climbing the beanstalk, to a golden castle in the sky.
From the team behind We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and How to Hide a Lion, Jack v Giant is an exciting new musical based on the classic fairytale, enchantingly brought to life through beautiful puppetry and music.
Jack V Giant is at Polka Theatre 11th February – 26th March 2023.
You’re the puppet maker for Jack V Giant, what can you tell us about the show?
It’s a contemporary reimagining of the classic fairy tale set to music by the brilliant Barb Jungr. I can’t say more than that because it should reveal itself to those that go to see it and remain enticing enough for others to want to see it.
How do you go about imagining how the puppets should look for a particular production?
The reference for the puppets were dictated by the actors, who the puppets are meant to represent. Their overall design is based on Laura McEwen’s incredible costume and set designs for the show.
And what kind of style have you gone for with Jack V Giant?
The puppets are inspired by Bunraku, rod and tabletop puppetry. However, with there being a cast of only two performers operating the puppets, I had to design and make them to be single person operated, unlike Bunraku puppets, which normally have three operators per puppet.
How long does it take to create the puppets for a show like this
For the amount of puppets in this show, as general rule it takes about 6 weeks to build, but that doesn’t include research and development which can take place over several months.
What’s it like to see your creations brought to life on stage?
Oh my word, that’s a tough one. I would say it’s a mixture of nerves and excitement and very much depends on how integral the puppets are to the story. If I have made a complete cast of puppets I remain on tenterhooks, hoping I have made them strong enough and well enough, for the entire run. Whilst I feel like that with all my puppets, I am more confident when it’s only a few. What I like most is seeing the audience’s reaction to them.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Jack V Giant?
Don’t think about it, just do it. Treat your kids to a trip to the Polka because along with a cracking good show there’s so much to see and do.