We’re proud to announce the establishment of Unraku Studios!
But wait, wasn’t Unraku already a thing? Well, yes, it was once before. Now it will be again, only slightly different.
The original Unraku Puppetry Collective was founded in 2008 by six artists who met during a series of table top puppetry workshops in Toronto. Over the next five years the company operated a dedicated workshop and production facility in Toronto’s West End, produced independent puppet films, performed throughout the greater Toronto area, presented workshops, hosted puppet slams at venues across the city and much, much more.
By 2013, many of the company members were headed in new directions and seeking more time to pursue individual projects, and so, it was time to take a break. Although most of the Collective’s activities ceased in 2013, many of us continued collaborating together in smaller teams on various projects, including films, exhibits and touring live shows. The Unraku Workshop stayed informally active during that time, working on several outside projects, including a music video, a feature length documentary and several TV commercials.
During these intervening years many people said that they missed Unraku and we did too, so we decided to revive it in a slightly different form. Our goal is to honour and continue the Unraku tradition of great puppetry and infectious fun by making Unraku Studios a home, incubator and exporting of outstanding puppetry in Canada and the world.
This new mandate will be focused on three key areas:
Creating innovative, entertaining, and inspiring character driven entertainment with puppetry for film, digital media and live events.
Inspiring Development of puppetry as an art form by sharing our artistic process and presenting artist talks, exhibits, workshops and masterclasses.
Supporting The development of new puppetry voices and audiences both locally and internationally.
To get started we’re organizing a special “Unraku School” masterclass with the Japanese/Canadian puppetry company Mochinosha. We’ll also be visiting several festivals and conventions next summer and we’re on the hunt for a new permanent studio location, which we hope to open sometime in late 2019 or early 2020.
Until then, there’s lots to do. We’ll be back with more soon!