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Forkbeard Fantasy

   
forkbeard bonfires

www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk
ff@forkbeardfantasy.co.uk
Wellington, Somerset
England

  Forkbeard Fantasy are a multi-media theatre company. The idea of Forkbeard Fantasy came in the early 1970s with three brothers - Simon, Chris and Tim Britton. Simon was a painter and maker of kinetic mechanical sculptures; Chris, fascinated by experimental and physical theatre, devised constructions and gadgetry to perform within; and Tim, a poet, writer and cartoonist, could see how his imaginative world might be realized in live performance.

In the early days, Forkbeard found that they fitted most comfortably within the new wave of British experimental performance and performance art that had been burgeoning since the 1960s. It was a time of much mixing of media, kinetic and ‘living’ sculptures, performance art, happenings, poetry performance and squeaky-bonky jazz, all elements, art forms and media.

Forkbeard have been producing and presenting their highly individual brand of comic surrealism, creating performances, theatre shows, films, cartoons, automata, sculptures, special events, installations and interactive exhibitions across the UK and abroad without stop since the mid 1970s.

image right from Invisible Bonfires.

 
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Productions and Projects

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Invisible Bonfires
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2007
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Forkbeard Fantasy tackles climate change with surreal comedy, invention, film and animation in Invisible Bonfires.
    On a global tour of climate change conferences, the Brittonioni Brothers explore global warming through such topics as the Evolution of the Carbon Weevil, the FairyAngel Conundrum and the coming of the new Plactic-ene Era. With special guests Mammon and Pan and live music by The Lotus Pedals, Invisible Bonfires is run by horse power and hot air.
The show tours nationally from May - June 2007 and from September 2007 - February 2008, in venues including Nottingham Playhouse, Buxton Opera House, Warwick Arts Centre, Toynbee Studios in London, The Lowry at Salford Quays, and venues in Lancaster, Devon and Bristol.

The show is based on Forkbeard Fantasy's Royal Shakespeare Company commission 'Rough Magyck' in 2006. Invisible Bonfires - The Exhibition starts touring in August 2007, and is an interactive environment for gallery spaces and museums.

Funded by a DEFRA Climate Challenge Award.

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forkbeard bonfires horse
Invisible Bonfires

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Frankenstein
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2001, 2002
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A co-production with the Bristol Old Vic and the Lyric Hammersmith, this was the chilling tale of one woman, three men and a Bolt from the Blue.

It was an immense stage journey into the Frankenstein myth with nods towards the whole horror genre - movies, comics, and creation myths from The Golem to Terminator.

Determined to oust the great Professor Sailcloth’s domination of Frankenstein academia, David G. Scrivener travels to Switzerland to uncover the actual Spark of Life, which he is convinced is secreted in a remote churchyard in the mountains. But the diabolic hotelier Count Obladee confounds him every step of the way, until David G. finds himself drawn into a hellish parody of the original novel itself, replete with a grotesquely cartoon-like Igor and the ghastly Monster himself. Here he is forced to use his knowledge of all things Frankensteinian to make The Monster’s Mate.

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forkbeard frankenstein
Frankenstein

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The Barbers of Surreal
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1998
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For the Barbers, business is booming. Their traditional hairdressing skills have been shamelessly extended by recent breakthroughs in genetic engineering - an exciting new line in organic toupees is already in production.

But the shop's newly acquired ex-Laboratory chain-smoking rabbit has formed a dangerous liaison with the steamed-up mirror, and also a curiously Alice in Wonderland-like old crone and the egg shampoo is acting funny .....

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forkbeard barbers
The Barbers of Surreal

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A Serious Leak
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1989, 1990
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High on the rooftops of government buildings, strange scientific advances are rumoured to be in progress.

Secret doorways have been built into cine-screens showing films of vast unspoilt wilderness. The Ministry of Environment is filling these locations with waste to become their newly established 'Garbage Archives'. Waste Disposal has been solved for Humankind.

But the fantastical imaginings of the employees charged with the maintenance of this new dimension are resulting in escaped pterodactyls, Yetis and giant crows.

The show was inspired by the privatization of The Water Board and a water pollution disaster in Camelford at that time.

The show ended with a real vertical Devon waterfall in a cupboard with water cascading down over rocks and mosses. After the audience gets a fleeting glimpse the door is slammed shut and rendered out of bounds forever. This show (rather hilariously in retrospect though certainly not at the time) caused a mass walk-out of Stanislavskiists when it appeared in Oslo. As they left in mounting numbers they had to climb over the rope that connected us to the film world.

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forkbeard leak
A Serious Leak

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The Cressida Folly
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1988
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Capillary matting drew water from the pool and, together with its spinning head and non-stop dripping body, the Folly sprouted hydroponically fed cress during The Red Strimmers’ stay in Glasgow.

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forkbeard cressida
The Cressida Folly

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The Red Strimmers
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1988
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The Red Strimmers was a special commission for 'Art In The Garden' at the Glasgow Garden Festival.

The top to toe bright red garden machinery addicts demonstrated their portable gardening aids, their glowing redness battling with the horticulture surrounding them. It was very much inspired by the growing market for ludicrous must-have tools available to the devoted gardener.

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forkbeard red strimmers
The Red Strimmers

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The Brontosaurus Show
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1983
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The show was set within the skeleton of a young Brontosaurus (the set of the show) recently shipped over from The Siberian Fossil Works.

Further crates arrived during the performance as the two palaeontologists prepared for a world lecture tour, trying out their theories on the audience who were referred to as colleagues from the museum world. Finally the neck (concertina'ed in its crate) and the skull arrive. They find the skeleton of a tiny angel curled up in a nest of feathers inside the cranium of the skull, thus rocking the very foundation stones of Science, History and Religion itself in one fell swoop.

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forkbeard brontosaurus
The Brontosaurus Show

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The Clone Show
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1979
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This was a show, about genetic engineering, set in a Cloning Factory.

The Clone Show saw our first use of 16mm film in the form of a cartoon Tim Britton made and interacted with, called ‘Could a Whale Fly?

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forkbeard clone show
The Clone Show

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On An Uncertain Insect
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1978
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Two estranged entomologist brothers hunt the same rare Lepidoptera, a species whose baffling elusiveness has been the death of a long line of ancestors before them. The mechanisms and entanglements separately devised to encounter this maddening night creature become increasingly fantastic.

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forkbeard uncertain insect
On An Uncertain Insect

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The Cranium Show
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1976
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This was a highly disturbing wildlife documentary concerning a day in the life of a half-arachnid half-humanoid Cranius Kithchenetus, male, female and zookeeper, played on different occasions by Lol Coxhill, Simon Britton and Tom Powell.

The crane-operator male, and his dangerous though legless trolley-borne female, were separated from the audience by wire mesh caging, providing delightful parallels with matrimonial bliss. This show saw us gain our first foreign touring to the Lantaren Rotterdam’s Unrequited Love Festival.

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forkbeard cranium
The Cranium Show

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Experiments
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1974, 1975
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This was a period of events and processes exploring solitary eccentrics and insect life-forms which we tried out in locations like scrap-yards, hilltops and desolate docklands. The aim was not to attract audiences but to experiment with ideas and gadgets.

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forkbeard experiments
Experiments

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  Forkbeard Fantasy
www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk
ff@forkbeardfantasy.co.uk

Waterslade Studios
Hockworthy
Wellington, Somerset
TA210NS
England

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