Puppetry - Shortlisted 2010
Puppeteer Gavin Skerritt trained for three years at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London, giving him a firm foundation on which to start the process of building his performance skills in movement, dance and voice. On completion of the course, he sold what little furniture he had, bought a one-way ticket to Berlin and was not to return to the UK for four and a half years. Following a chance viewing of a Theatre de Toone performance in Brussels, Skerritt was introduced to the master puppet maker and puppeteer, Christian Ferauge. He embarked on an apprenticeship with him, acquiring the skills he needed to return to the UK and seek work as a puppeteer himself.
Skerritt uses very little written or spoken words to create the narrative in his pieces. Instead he focuses on the movement of the puppet, the relationship that has to the performer, and the sound. His practice is produced organically, in the early stages of development he prefers not to impose strict time restraints.
As well as creating the puppets, Skerritt also directs and leads workshops. Examples of the diversity of his work range from his role as Advanced Theatre Practice Tutor at the Central School of Speech and Drama, to running a four week workshop, examining Hans Christian Andersen’s The Matchstick Girl with children aged 8- 14 who had suffered from, or witnessed domestic violence. Since 2008 he has begun exploring how animation and choreography relate to each other.