Stop-frame animation is another area in which Forkbeard broke new ground in live theatre from the 1970s. We began by mixing poetry and projected drawings and cartoons in the touring poetry show “Desmond & Dorothy Fairybreath On Tour”. Tim went on to develop his now famed technique of providing live running commentaries to his cartoon film animations, starting with “Could a Whale Fly” in “The Clone Show”  in 1979. His breakneck delivery on the vital importance to humankind of boxes can be seen in “Boxmanship” at youtube or you can learn about “The Jurassic Coast: A Mighty Tale” where the coast’s 95 miles and 250 million years are explained in 5 minutes.

By now we’d also started making stand-alone films which we either showed in independent cinemas and festivals or as a second half to our theatre shows: films like “Night of The Gnat”, “The Bonehunter” and “Worm” (all available on The InComplete Works double DVD, along with numerous other FF film excerpts and cartoons).

In the past 35 years we’ve invented a vast array of tricks with projection - film interactions with slowly inflating weather balloons, with pocket handkerchiefs and haunted mirrors, shop windows and little men trapped in bird-cages, in events ranging in scale from a huge multi-projector spectacular across the entirety of Exeter Cathedral to an Animated T-shirt; revolving films, films on roller-blinds, pedal-powered projectors, sailing ships and whole animated islands moving about the stage. 

"Breathtakingly innovative and original work" Terry Gilliam, film director

 

"As if Tim Burton were directing a horror film by Jacques Tati” The INDEPENDENT

 

“Whatever they’re on should be available on the National Health” The SCOTSMAN

To present these films we invented The Brittonioni Brothers, Chrissy and Timmy, two self-adoring Brylcremed jet-setting film directors and darlings of the avant garde. More concerned with the cut of their trousers than the cut of their films, The Brittonioni Brothers have taken us to festivals across the world since they first donned their mirror-lens shades back in 1985. The moment when Chrissy suddenly sticks his head into the film screen in “Who Shot The Cameraman?” is a landmark in cinematic history

The ideas and possibilities for using film are endless as well as hugely enjoyable to invent and realize.

Collaborating on projects is of particular interest to us, so if you think Forkbeard could help you on your film project, be it large-scale outdoor projection or a short film or cartoon you need for a museum or visitor centre to help explain complex issues or themes in entertaining ways, please email us or contact us by mail or phone.

To find out more about Forkbeard's unique use of film on stage click here.

And to see Forkbeard's latest short film made in collaboration with Aardman Animation click here.

Film

Forkbeard have been making films since the 1970's both for stand alone presentation and to entertain and amaze audiences with their mix of film and theatre. We call this technique "Crossing the Celluloid Divide". In its simplest form it’s the trick of moving seamlessly from stage to screen and vice versa, passing things in or out, actors on screen talking with actors on stage and so on. But Forkbeard have taken it to wild and fantastical levels over the years.

 

Interacting with film and animation and using projections on stage is now almost ubiquitous throughout the performing arts. Indeed it’s quite unusual to see a show nowadays without film. Alongside contemporaries like Bruce Lacey and Moving Being, Forkbeard were true pioneers on the UK theatre scene in the 1970s. But it’s by no means the new art-form some people like to make it out to be. Almost as soon as film was invented in 1895, film-makers were doing tricks and illusions both live and on film in magic theatres and variety acts. In his book "Staging the Screen" (Palgrave Macmillan) Greg Giesekam describes how "..within a decade of the Lumière Brothers exhibiting the first films in Paris in 1895, theatre practitioners were employing film. By 1929 fifteen theatres in Berlin were already fitted with projection facilities.” Georges Méliès was the true pioneering creator of cinematic spectacle and the first to use theatrical sets in a film.

The first ‘film’ Forkbeard showed on stage was a series of 35mm slides projected very fast to create the illusion of film (‘On and Uncertain Insect').

Forkbeard soon started using both Super 8 and 16mm cine film, making comic documentaries or projected illusions that took you to outside locations and places impossible for the stage. Our first real ‘Crossing The Celluloid Divide’ moment took place in “GHOSTS” in 1985 when the ghost-hunter Holcombe Rogus is seen through a window coming towards us across the fields. He peers in and then crashes headlong through the door onto the stage.