Significant Object believes in putting objects on stage and moving them about a bit. Whether they are small, household objects with lives of their own, hulking giants or elegantly designed characters or creatures, we know that they compel and excite an audience in their own way.
We love the extraordinary, and we love to break new ground. Like the time we made a puppet to play the lead role at one of Europe's great opera houses (and streamed to over half a million viewers). Or when we went to Japan with Paul McCartney. When we helped design and animate a god to fill the stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company. A performance with imaginary puppets at the O'Neill puppetry conference. A crocodile on a tricycle in Zürich. A giant dragon that disrupts a city and then, actually, really flies. Collaborating with Basil Twist and the Jim Henson Creature shop to develop the puppets in My Neighbour Totoro. Joey from 'War Horse' on the roof of the National Theatre, or in virtual reality. If you want help to make something impossible happen, come and talk to us about it. We love interactive, responsive, detailed art.
We've worked with large and small organisations and created work for all sorts of audiences. We employ the best puppet makers with the right skills for the work we are doing. Makers and designers we have worked with include Daisy Beattie, Zak Bernard, David Cauchi, Josie Corben, Monica Corder, Amber Donovan, Emma Douglas, Helen Foan, Seonaid Goody, Charlie Hoare, Matt Hutchinson, Maia Kirkman-Richards, Jo Lakin, Seb Mayer, Christine Rippmann, Carl Robertshaw, Bryony Rumble, Yvonne Stone, Claire Strickland, Paul Vincett, and the Jim Henson Company.
Partner organisations include the Opera de Paris, Royal Shakespeare Company, Burgtheater Vienna, Residenz Munich, Schauspielhaus Zurich, The Royal Court Theatre, The Works Entertainment and Sir Paul McCartney. Our puppets have been seen on four continents including at the National Theatre, London Palladium, Madison Square Gardens, in Las Vegas, the Sydney Opera House, and the Opera de Bastille.
Mervyn Millar - Director
Mervyn is a Creative Associate for the National Theatre's War Horse, having been involved in the creative team since its inception and directing casts in London, New York, Toronto and Berlin. He was Artistic Director of Handspring UK and has a longstanding association with Handspring Puppet Company in Cape Town. For Handspring, he has directed Crow, co-directed Stiller (at the Bayerisches Staatschauspiel) and Jubilee Salute (at the National Theatre London), was Assistant Director on Tall Horse and appeared in Or You Could Kiss Me and War Horse. He's also the Puppetry Associate on the RSC's incredibly successful My Neighbour Totoro, collaborating with Phelim McDermott and Basil Twist.
He has a hatful of other puppetry design and direction credits over twenty years of work, taking in the RSC, the Strasbourg Opera, The Royal Court, the Young Vic, the Bolton Octagon and the National Theatre, amongst many others. Awards include a Herald Angel Award and a Total Theatre Award (both for his collaboration with Kazuko Hohki, Evidence for the Existence of Borrowers). In 2010 Mervyn was awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship.
His teaching includes sessions and workshops with organisations including Wimbledon College of Arts (UAL), for whom he designed a MA in Puppetry, The O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, The Arvon Foundation, RADA, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the University of East Anglia, the National Theatre, the Royal Court, London College of Fashion, Masterclass, London International Mime Festival and The Actor's Guild. For more information on Mervyn's previous work and work outside Significant Object please click here.
In 2015 he made a TEDx talk about puppetry and the imagination:
Tracy Waller - Associate Designer
Tracy has a background in theatre design, and fabrication of puppets, costumes and props. Her puppet designs with us include Circus 1903, work for Handspring UK's Crow, James II with the National Theatre of Scotland and our Rubicon Mangoes project.
Her other work includes Trigger Happy TV, wireframe's The Lusiads, and for the RSC and numerous commercial clients.
Ed Dimbleby - Associate Designer
Ed has a background in design and making for film and stage. His puppet designs include work for Handspring UK's productions of Crow, co-design of Newman and all of the puppets for Stiller.