Restoration for the University of Bristol Theatre Collection A project to catalogue and clean puppets in the Mander & Mitchenson Collection (part of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection) is currently underway.
The Heritage volunteer group, under the leadership of Debby Sandow, has been working at the Bristol University Theatre Library and Archive.
We are now working on TUESDAY afternoons; if you are interested in helping with this fascinating project, please contact us here.
UPDATE October 2017 (thank you to our volunteers)
A large collection of marionettes and puppets bequeathed to the University by two London actors (Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson) is being described, cleaned, researched and recorded by a group of The Arts Society Bristol’s Heritage Volunteers. The process will make the collection accessible for research and display. An example of the kind of work is the description of an East Asian puppet researched most recently. It is a large, wooden, string puppet. The female figure with oriental features and meticulously painted make up, including apparently Hindu markings is dressed as a dancing girl. Her full length straight costume is heavily encrusted with gold, green and possibly silver sequins, as is the splayed peplum. She is adorned with three bangles on each wrist and many strings of pearls around her neck. A circlet of red flowers surrounds her real black hair which is dressed in a bun. Her exquisite hands express the movement of Asian dance and her bare feet are decorated with gold nail polish. The group has also made protective Tyvek bags in which to safely store individual puppets.
UPDATE March 2017 from Debby Sandow
We started our association with the University Theatre Costume collection just as they, in turn, started a major reorganisation of their premises. This meant they had no space for us to do our work so a very small loyal band sewed in my home making padded coat hangers and Tyvek bags for storing cuttings books.Their reorganization is now complete and we can move on to a more interesting project. They want us to work on the puppet collection cleaning, repairing, researching and then packing the puppets. The puppets are part of the Mander and Mitchenson collection of over half a million items bequeathed to the Theatre Collection. We can work in a group of four or five, probably on a Monday afternoon.
I am hoping to have two groups working on alternate Mondays so that it will be a fortnightly commitment for volunteers. This will be in the Collections premises which are behind their display area on Park Row. If anyone is interested in volunteering please contact us here.