You may have seen Frankie the puppet strolling down King St with Farrah the Fox back at the beginning of July for Streets Apart Festival - but where did Frankie come from?
We started to work with Streets Apart Festival at the beginning of this year, with the brief of designing a puppet that "represents someone from Wigan."
We needed to figure out what they looked like, how old they were, what kind of job they might have, what clothes they wear… and that they like to do in their spare time. So Emily, Everyday's Engagement Director, ran several workshops with our community to find out who our puppet needed to be!
"I designed a simple puppet diagram and then developed a workshop alongside to help people imagine what a Wiganer of the future might look like, what job they had, what kind of clothes they would wear. It was made very clear that the kids thought there was more to Wigan than cotton, coal and carbohydrates! And even though I love all of those things, the young people we worked with decided to be more focussed on other elements of Wigan, such as the growing creative and music scene, our waterways and wildlife and festivals such as Diggers and Pride. It was also exciting to take the workshops to WigLe Dance Festival as well as running it with our community groups."
Overall we worked with 84 young people who provided a variety of amazing puppet designs and the final puppet you saw in the festival is the combination of all of those ideas!
After the design stage, Emily was invited to build the puppet, along with the other artists from the towns who were involved in Hi!Street Fest too. A life long Muppets fan, Emily had the most incredible time learning how to build a 10ft puppet, from forming the face and hair to sewing the biggest pair of dungarees we’ve ever seen!
"It was a great chance to make and only focus on making something. There was lots of late nights but I met loads of other creative people and it gave me a chance to live out my inner Jim Henson dreamlife and learn loads about how to make gigantic puppets! I'm really excited to take these skills back to Everyday and pass on my new knowledge to the community!"
Frankie then made the journey from Oxfordshire to Wigan to make her grand debut on Saturday 9th July in the Streets Apart Festival parade!
"I felt really proud seeing the puppet that we had designed together walking down King St as well as our communities very own mini puppets!"
We had the most amazing time being involved with this project, a big thank you to everyone who joined us for puppet designing and making and to those who braved the rain to walk in the parade!