Horse and Bamboo Theatre

Horse and Bamboo Theatre

Horse and Bamboo Theatre or Horse + Bamboo Theatre is a British theatre company founded in 1978 by the Artistic Director, Bob Frith. The company has a strong visual and music-based identity rather than being text-based, and uses distinctive full-head masks. It works internationally as well as from its Centre in Waterfoot, Rossendale, Lancashire, UK.


are often integrated within the company's productions.


The company tours its productions throughout the UK, and has also toured in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, Belgium and Hungary. A co-production (with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre) of Company of Angels toured the United States between 2003 and 2006.

Significant Horse + Bamboo Theatre touring productions include The Woodcarver Story (1982); Dance of White Darkness (1994), about Maya Deren in Haiti; Harvest of Ghosts (1999) created with Sam Ukala, the Nigerian playwright; as well as Company of Angels (2002) about the life of Charlotte Salomon. The company is currently touring an epic production Veil that contrasts the lives of two young women, one an Iraqi, the other brought up in Europe, and is set across two generations. [ Veil by Bob Frith. pub. Blurb 2008. ISDN 978-0-9558841-0-8]

In The Shadow of Trees was written and designed by Bob Frith for the Royal Exchange Theatre Studio in Manchester. Directed by Associate Director, Alison Duddle, it won the Best New Play at the M.E.N. Awards in 2006 and subsequently toured, despite being created especially for the Royal Exchange. The company are currently developing a new production in collaboration with Barefoot Books and Guo Yue.

The Boo

Horse + Bamboo is based at The Horse + Bamboo Centre known as "The Boo", in Waterfoot, Rossendale which is used as centre and venue for arts events and the development of visual theatre, as well as being a rehearsal and workshop space for the company.

Horse + Bamboo Theatre has a long history of producing community projects both in its home community of Rossendale, and beyond - for example the "Good Friday Parade and Service" at Westminster Abbey in 1994 and 1996. It runs a varied programme from the Horse + Bamboo Centre, and hosts the annual Rossendale Puppet Festival.

The building is also used by other artists and theatre companies as a place to research and develop new visual theatre work.

Guided Imagery

Horse + Bamboo has also been influential in its work with people who have special needs through its "Guided Imagery" programme. This programme, started in 1982, uses a large-scale built environment and performance space through which small and intimate groups journey, and interact with, a highly sensory environment. These 'performances' last several hours, and are notable in blurring the gap between performer and audience.


The name derives from the use of horses to pull a caravan of vehicles when touring, although the company abandoned this practice in the late 1990's. It continues to tour theatres in a more conventional manner, but its roots in rural touring are maintained through the "pPod", a specially designed portable structure that tours to festivals and community venues each summer.

ee also

* Bread & Puppet Theater
* In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre
* Thingumajig Theatre

External links

* [ Horse + Bamboo Theatre website]


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