Forkbeard Fantasy run regular workshops and residencies as an integral part of their artistic programme. Courses range from one-day workshops to their popular six-day residential summer schools, covering film animation, animated props, the celluloid divide, sound, lighting and editing. They take place at the company’s studio complex in rural Devon, well-equipped for set and prop construction, with film and video editing facilities. Post-course contact with the company enables participants to seek technical advice or even set up mentoring schemes.
Forkbeard work with young people at local colleges and occasionally offer participatory workshops during tours to explore their techniques. Chris says, ‘We find that 15 – 16 year olds really like working with video. It somehow gets over their inhibitions.’ A selection of the inspiring show programmes can be ordered from the company’s online shop as well as The inComplete Works, a double DVD featuring fascinating extracts of animations, films and shows. A new resource pack is in the offing, which will showcase and outline company methods with practical exercises for students. The company recently presented an interactive exhibition – Forkbeard: Architects of Fantasy – which ran successfully for two years at London’s Theatre Museum to almost 400,000 visitors.
You can see some incredible examples of animations produced at the Forkbeard Summer Schools in this video.
The research and development period is well under way for a new show planned for September 2009, based on another ‘Big Theme’ – The Imagination. At this early stage Chris thinks the show might be about a cartoonist whose drawings come to life. ‘Government circles are fearful of the unbridled Imagination. It could seriously destabilise things. Much better that it is heavily sedated by an endless dribble of media drivel. After all what happens if it gets out of hand or even worse into the wrong hands?’
This article first appeared in Teaching Drama (Rhinegold Publishing Ltd). © David Farmer 2008.