Cariad Astles

Research interests

  • Puppetry training
  • Puppetry as cultural identity
  • Political puppetry
  • Applied puppetry
  • Latin American women’s performance
  • Latin American religious performance and religion in performance
  • Latin American popular performance
  • Applied theatre in health

Catalan Visual Theatre

This focus of research explores the emergence of Catalan visual theatre over the last forty years in response to the political events within Catalonia and the new vocabularies and languages of theatre forged through attempts to re-negotiate Catalan identity and culture. There is a particular emphasis on spectacle and puppetry. Research focuses on a number of companies and practitioners, including Joan Baixas, Els Comediants and La Fura dels Baus.

Publications and presentations:

  • 2010: (forthcoming): ‘Shadows and Objects’ in Butterflying Barcelona, University of Wales Press, ed. Helena Buffery
  • 2009: ‘Dancing Giants and Bigheads: Processions and Puppets in Catalonia’, Animated Advances, ed Dorothy Max Prior
  • 2009: ‘Barcelona: Earth, Puppets and Embodiment’ in Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory, eds Roberta Mock and Colin Counsell
  • 2008: ‘Absent Bodies and Objects’ ; talk given to conference ‘Contemporary Barcelona: Visual Cultures, Spaces and Power’, March 13 – 14
  • 2007: ‘Catalan puppet theatre: a process of cultural affirmation’, in Contemporary Theatre Review 17: 3, ed. Maria Delgado and Lourdes Orozco
  • 1998: ‘Lorca the puppeteer’, Garcia Lorca conference, Newcastle

Puppetry training and animation

This area of research examines and discusses what it means to be a puppeteer; defines and considers the techniques and skills of animation within interdisciplinary and multi-contextual environments and articulates new processes for developing an understanding of the anthropology of the puppeteer.

Publications and presentations:

  • 2010: Masterclass in Directing for Puppetry, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2010: Residency grant at the Institut International de la Marionnette
  • 2010: ‘Directing on the Puppet Stage’, Central School of Speech and Drama
  • 2010: ‘Puppetry Training in Contemporary Live Theatre’ in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, ed. Simon Murray & Jonathan Pitches
  • 2009: ‘Training in Puppet Theatre’, University of Evora
  • 2009: ‘Wood and Waterfall: Puppetry training and its anthropology in Performance Research: On Training, 14.2, ed. Richard Gough & Simon Shepherd
  • 2008: ‘Alternative Puppet Bodies’ in Moin-Moin, ed. UNIMA Brazil
  • 2007: ‘Collaborations between things and disciplines’, Tournai, Belgium
  • 2007: Round table: ‘What can the puppet teach the actor?’ Central School of Speech and Drama

Latin American popular performance

This area focuses on questions of identity in performance, in particular in relation to Cuban and Brazilian puppetry, applied theatre practices and popular performance.

Publications and presentations:

  • 2010: ‘Puppetry and Dialogism’, presentation to IDEA conference, Belem, Brazil
  • 2009: ‘African spectacle within Cuban theatre’ in African Theatre Journal, ed. Osita Okagbue
  • 2000: ‘The Masks of Sor Juana’, presentation to Latin American theatre conference, Kansas, USA