Stephen Mottram’s Animata

United Kingdom


The Seed Carriers
24, 25 May at 9.30pm

Author and Puppeteer: Stephen Mottram Music: Glyn Perrin Direction: Melanie Thompson Scenography: Jessica Shaw Lighting Design: Kenneth Parry Lighting operation: Andrew Reader Technique: Puppets and automatons For audiences over: M/12 Time: 50 min. Language: Without words

Like the snatched scenes from a nightmare the little bodies are torn apart for their seeds….

The show is contained within a small, raised, elliptical shaped stage, enclosed by black curtains. It is a dark and mysterious play metaphorically as well as physically. In a style that reflects influences from sources as diverse as the fifteenth century paintings of Hieronymus Bosch to the films of the Quay Brothers, the action and sound blend together to produce a hypnotic, gripping and shocking experience. Glyn Perrin’s score is an acoustic picture in its own right, which heightens the dramatic tension. The human-like marionettes are the protagonists – the seed carriers. As they crawl and leap about the stage area, the least nimble are collected in a large net, or caught in traps by the only live performer (Stephen Mottram), an ambiguous figure who both grows and then harvests these creatures.


Like the snatched scenes from a nightmare, played out in horrific slow motion, the little bodies are torn apart for seeds. These collected seeds are then cultivated – with the tender, nurturing birth imagery of plants and animals – to supply more creatures to this ruthless eco-system. Meanwhile the others, who have avoided the traps, power up a huge machine using treadmill, bicycle and winding gears to manufacture exotic disguises as fish, birds and insects. These disguises make their wearers less vulnerable and more able to survive the dangers of the system.


Stephen Mottram is an artist, craftsman and puppeteer. In 1980 he joined a traditional English marionette company and in 1982 won an Arts Council bursary, which took him to the Hungarian State Puppet Theatre School in Budapest. 

Since 1988 he has been developing a unique theatre language, which exploits the relationship between electro-acoustic music and the movement-image. His performances are the result of detailed collaboration with the composers with whom he works. His solo show “In Suspension” has travelled all over the world. His performance “The Seed Carriers” has so far toured to over 18 countries and won three international awards.
Stephen has also worked on a number of films including “The Little Shop of Horrors”, “Tales from the Decameron” and “Strings” – a marionette feature film whose UK premiere was at the London International Film Festival in 2004.

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