Looking for street performing advice Posted by mrbumblepants on Nov 08, 2015
I'm hoping to get some advice from people who have done puppeteering on the street. What would you recommend to a beginner? I'm not so much looking for mobile puppet stage ideas as I am about actual performing and interacting with an audience.

Technical difficulties and generally being busy (starting a new job, semi-homesteading, moving forward with selling my art fulltime) has made getting videos up online a very slow and arduous process. After realizing that this is likely to be a continuing trend and discovering my town does not require a busking license, my husband and I have decided we would like to take up street performance. Need to exercise those puppeteering muscles!

I do have a tiny bit of experience with improv, and my husband has been working with kids for years - so I don't think either of us will be terribly out of our element. We also strive to provide all ages appropriate content, so hopefully we can bring joy to people without irritating anyone too much.
Re: Looking for street performing advice Posted by Shawn on Nov 09, 2015
While I've never really done any busking on the streets I was involved in performing at Renaissance Festivals.  Kind of the same thing but just on the streets of the fair grounds.   Simplest way to go about it is to simply head out with a puppet on your arm.  Did this with a female puppet dressed as a wench and would hang out with the "real" wenches on the bridge and cat call to the folks along with them.  I did develop some shtick or bits over time but really I just talked to folks and remarked on things I noticed about them.  Just go armed with a really solid character for your puppet then let that take over. 
Re: Looking for street performing advice Posted by Chris Arveson on Nov 09, 2015
I would certainly agree with Shawn regarding having a firmly established character. If you have a Vulcan mind meld with the puppet, you won't be able to clearly define the boundary between the puppet's responses and what you would say without the puppet on your arm.

I have found it useful to actually write out the character's traits, type of voice, accent, if any, and the puppet's back story/biography. The more detailed it is, the more firmly fixed the character will be in your mind and the more likely it will respond in character.

Also, know what audience you expect to work with. Your location will be broadly determinative here. Will you be in a public park? If so, where? Do you want to perform for children? Then the playground is where you want to be.

Are you looking for an adult audience? Consider a college campus. If I recall, you are located in Bellingham. That could make Red Square, or the plaza outside the music building ideal locations.
Re: Looking for street performing advice Posted by mrbumblepants on Nov 12, 2015
Shawn, that sounds wonderful! And that reminds me of a motorized trash can that used to go around Disneyland talking to the patrons there. It was just a trash can on wheels with a synthesized voice, but ended up being one of my favorite parts of visiting.

Chris, we do have some good backstory on our puppets, but I'll try sitting down and coming up with more. More can never hurt!

We want to reach both adults and children. I'll suggest to my husband we should head up to the university at some point. For now, we want to try some of the downtown street corners.

Oh, and the farmer's market has a very inexpensive busking license just for them, so we are definitely planning on that. (I think $10 or $15 a year - super cheap!) So that should give us some good exposure and practice. Plus it's always fun to chat with people about the holidays!

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