This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. Today’s video is ‘Beauty & Beast’, an animated Toy Theatre film illustrated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
‘Beauty & Beast’ features illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, model designs by David W Slack, lyrics from Olivia McCannon, and music from composer and songwriter, Paul Sartin.
The animated film was originally intended to serve as inspiration and encouragement for artists and performers to show what could be achieved in toy theatre. However, it ended up becoming a bigger project that was developed over several months. While originally published in short acts on Instagram, the film went further than imagined, and was published on YouTube so that it could be appreciated in its own right.
‘Beauty & Beast’ was an ambitious project as the creators pushed boundaries and achieved results that they previously only thought possible in the world of digital animation. However, by pushing these limits the film aims to inspire free thinking and experimental creativity. Animator Clive Hicks-Jenkins commented that ‘the overall effect would be to encourage anyone performing the toy play to be inventive and give creativity a free hand.’
When it came to creating the script, Clive Hicks-Jenkins wanted to make sure it included elements of nineteenth century toy theatre production. He said: ‘I’d asked Olivia to give me a play-script that incorporated all the traditions I associate with nineteenth century toy theatre productions: actors directly addressing the audience, rhyming verses, jokes, songs, political references, allegorical characters and opportunities for sumptuous stage effects.’
The toy theatre can be purchased and comes with 10 cards to cut out with drop scenes, actors and puppets so that the story can be performed by anyone who wishes to experiment with it.
The complete fairy tale, as retold by Olivia McCannon in ‘Beauty & Beast’ and illustrated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins is to be published by Design for Today. Watch the video below.