Hello! Here’s a link to my new project….

bright moon theatre

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Baba Yaga coming to life one stitch at a time…

(Silk embroidery on mushroom-dyed calico, vintage cotton printed scarf, natural black Wensleydale fleece; earrings made from brass, bone and pyrite. Imogen Di Sapia, 2015)

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bright moon theatre

Here’s some design in progress for my next piece; The Lady of Shalott.

The Victorian-Arthurian poem as penned by Tennyson, and as imagined by Waterhouse.

I’m taking my colour palette from the famous boat painting and really happy with these treasures I’ve found thus far;

A hand painted Victorian boat shaped tea-tray, silk cushion panel, miniature cane peacock chair, wool embroidery on linen, a round Victorian cushion pad in green velvet and gold trim, black enamel jug, black and floral painted pot.

The cream silk handkerchief will form part of her costume (more on that later!)


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The Mermaid’s Tale

Once upon a time, many moons ago, on an island, in the sea, there lived a fisherman.

He loved nothing better than to row out into the bay and fish by the light of the full moon (because all fishermen know the best catch is to be had under moonlight).

He would sit in is boat, light a pipe, and think of his younger days, and all the many adventures he’d had as a sailor on a huge galleon.

He had sailed to the east, the west, the north and the south.
He had seen many wonderful things and heard many languages.

And because all sailors are superstitious,
each time he had set sail, he made a wish, (well, two wishes);

the first, for a long life, and the second, for his true love;
It went something like this;

“May I follow the birds to many fine adventures, and the fish then one day lead me back home to rest.
May I find my true love here or there, and always know her face.”

Then he would reach into his pocket for any item he had to hand, and throw it into the sea as an offering,
And with that he was calm and ready to set sail.

So many comings and goings, setting sails and dockings, he had thrown a multitude of trinkets into the sea, here is a list of a few of them;

gold coins,
a marble,
a scrap of silk,
a love note,
a pearl,
a variety of sea shells,
a carved walnut shell,
an ear of corn,
an acorn,
a sage leaf,
an iron nail,
a green glass button,
a rose petal,
a key,
a wooden cup,
a painted egg,
some salt,
a pinch of tobacco (and the tobacco tin!)
an interesting pebble,
a cotton reel,
a stone with a hole,
a tea cup,
a lace handkerchief, a blunt penknife,
a butterfly made of porcelain,
a fish made of silver,
and a bottle of fine whiskey…

This served him well for many years, and now he was indeed home and safe, but alas, as for his true love, he had not yet found her.

Now, in his little boat, under the moon, watching the lines and the nets bob to and fro,
he heard a sweet note on the breeze.

At first he thought it was the wind on the water,
or perhaps it was the distance sounds of the bay,
but it grew stronger and sweeter, closer and louder,
until it sounded like it was coming from the belly of his little boat.

He listened closely, and it was surprised to find he knew the words;

“What shall we do with a drunken sailor…
What shall we do with a drunken sailor…
What shall we do with a drunken sailor…..”

He peered over the side in surprise and looked down into the water; all was still except for the shimmer of the tide and the reflection of the big round moon looking back at him.

“How strange”, he said to himself, “how very strange indeed!!”
(As he took an old battered hip flask from his pocket and took a deep swig.)

He settled back down into the boat, and for a moment grasped at the thread of his last daydream,
but then jumped with a start as he heard the voice chiming up again!

“Hey ho and up she rises…
Hey ho and up she rises…
Hey ho and up she rises….”

Well now he was quite sure the song was coming from the very boat itself;

“Boat, be you enchanted or some such magic!!!?
I never heard the like! You never did sing to me before!”

As he stood and looked about, fully sure the boat had come to life and was singing to him,
there came a whistle (whhhhhhhhhhhhoooo) and a bump,
as something landed in the boat with a splash and a clang.

It was a dark chunk like a little house brick;
He picked it up, it was weighty, and something inside clattered with a wet sort of sound, like the tide on small stones.

“What’s this?!” He looked up;
“did you fall from the sky; perhaps a night bird had you in its claw and let you slip…”

He sat back down and took the thing in both his hands,
wiped a sleeve of his jumper across the side and revealed something golden under the sludge; it was a small metal box.

“By heavens, it’s my old tobacco tin!!!” Exclaimed the fisherman.

“I’m glad to see you again old friend, but how did you get to be here…
I full well recall I dropped you off deck somewhere across the Indian Ocean these many years past…”

“That ye did!” said a voice,

at once the fisherman froze with shock (and a little fear).
The voice had spoken right from behind his left shoulder.

First he sat up straight and with an effort (and much courage),
he let his head turn to the side, and after a full count of three ( one-two-three)
he let his eyes travel to the place he’d heard the voice come from.

Well. Sitting there, on the side if his little wooden boat, was a woman!
She had wild hair, and a blue dress.

The fisherman, although in shock, and being well bought up, did not forget his manners;

“Good evening miss, how come you to be here so far off shore,
a-sitting in my little boat like this?!”

No sooner had he said this, as she swung herself over the side,
and was revealed full tailed and shining!

“I see! You are a sea maiden, that is a merrow… that is… a…”

“A mermaid” she said, to help him with his struggle.

“Ay, a mermaid.” He said with a smile and a look of wonder.

“We had all thought you folk to be a magic story, but some young sailors (out in hotter waters) had told us they had spent many a night with your kin.
Am I dreaming or are you real?!”

To prove the point she leaned over and gave him a tender kiss on the forehead.

“Real enough” said the fisherman, a flush of youth about his cheek.

“Sorry I did take my time” said the Mermaid.

“What do you mean?” he asked

“I did follow your journeys over many seas, I heard your wishes, each one.
You were fair to me then as you are now,
though you have more silver in your hair than you did then,
and your skin less brown in the moonlight than it had been under the warm sun.”

He sat speechless, she continued.

“Your treasure I did keep safe for you, here in your box,
though, what with the whales swallowing some of it,
and the tide hiding this-and-that,
and then those thieving crabs!
‘Tis a wonder I found any of it at all!”

He looked in amazement at the mermaid, and then to tarnished thing he held in his hands.
Gently, he opening it…

There was every wish he’d ever made, all the treasure from his youth,
gathered together in his old tobacco tin.
Some things had not faired too well, and perished in the brine,
but others were just as he remembered.

And he gazed down into the tin, the mermaid said;

“See, your wish came true; you are home.”

He looked up, a little sad, and said;

“Yes. But my true love did not come with me.”

“No?” She said with a questioning look;

“I said I did take my time, but here I am lover.”

“You!” He said, surprised and not a little embarrassed, for she was a beauty.

“Yes indeed,” she said.
“You loved the sea so much,
and spoke with such passion,
I loved you these many years, some seven-hundred moons have grown full since I first saw you setting off,
and I’ve travelled with you since,
each and every night I’ve spent under the belly of whichever ship you’ve been dreaming in, and sung you to sleep myself.”

And knew then that his true love had indeed found him at last.

And so they found a way to live together for many happy years; meeting sometimes out in the bay, sometimes on the shore, and always by the light of the full moon.

(“What shall we do with a drunken sailor…
What shall we do with a drunken sailor…
What shall we do with a drunken sailor…..
Early in the morning.”)

So my tale is told, and now it is yours….

Imogen Di Sapia, 2015
Brighton, UK
http://www.brightmoontheatre.co

(Please reproduce with full credits and a link back to source, thank you.)

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bright moon theatre

New story added to the show today!

“Senara, a Cornish folk tale” has been created around the myth and legend of the mermaid saint of Zennor, woven together from first-hand accounts and rumours passed down by generations…

Hopefully my version contains some grain of truth!! Here is Senara sitting in her set of victorian poker-work wood and hand made copper vessels, I hope you like it!

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Bright Moon Theatre; coming to the Brighton Fringe may 2015

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I am very happy to present my newest adventure into puppetry and storytelling during this coming Brighton Fringe. Keep posted for updates via http://www.brightonmoontheatre.co

Bright Moon Theatre presents;
The Mermaid’s Tale

a selection of watery stories and shanties of the sea; featuring a beautiful mermaid, treasure, lots of fish and a majestic wooden ship!

Playing on the following dates & times
at Little Beach Boutique, 74 North Road, Brighton;

Start time 11am, running time approx 30 mins

Fri 01 May 2015
Sat 02 May 2015
Sun 03 May 2015
Mon 04 May 2015
Wed 06 May 2015
Mon 11 May 2015
Wed 13 May 2015
Sun 17 May 2015
Mon 18 May 2015
Wed 20 May 2015
Sat 23 May 2015
Sun 24 May 2015
Mon 25 May 2015
Wed 27 May 2015
*Sat 30 May * date no longer available*
Sun 31 May 2015

Email artdress@hotmail.co.uk to book your tickets!

£5 adults / £2 children / babies are free

Access;
The performance space is in the basement and accessible by a steep narrow stairway and is unfortunately not accessible for wheelchairs or prams;
There is however a space to store between two and three fold away prams in the back of Suzanne’s shop. If you need to use this storage space pleased do advise us in advance and please arrive ten minutes early to enable us to assist you, many thanks!

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Of mermaids, pearls and goldfish

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Ahoy!!

Well, the season is swinging through the equinox this week, it’s all go!
We are settled into our new home in Brighton, loving the sea air, spring flowers and creative atmosphere. I’ve been very inspired, and despite saying I’d down tools for the foreseeable, I’ve actually been more productive than I expected, and I’ve been working on making a new piece which very much has a life of its own, and has lead to meeting new folks and making friends.

Here on the Lanes there are bead and crystal shops, vintage shops, craft and makers markets, flea markets, fabric and sewing shops and beautiful gift and jewellery boutiques, and I’m so lucky to live right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. I’ve scouted around and found some absolute treasures. This in turn has lead to some interesting and spontaneous purchases, lots of inspiration and some lovely conversations with shop keepers.

So that brings me to the piece I’m working on, I had the idea to do a puppet theatre in a suitcase for a while, and so one day I set out to find The Suitcase, and it’s turned out there is a wealth of antique luggage out there, all with different vibes and purposes.

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The first case I bought a few weeks ago is a leather suitcase, about 100 years old, conker-brown and very handsome, lined in mossy green velvet and old quilted cotton the colour of old duck-egg blue wallpaper. Just lovely, smells like time and memory, and was purchased from Jeff at the Open Markets for a bargain thirty pounds. The second case I found was an empty accordion case, it’s really boxy, black leather with a snooker-green baize interior (and alas, no accordion!). This was a brilliant fourteen quid from Snooper’s Attic and had proved to be a great size to work with as a theatre box.

And what’s to go inside these cases you ask? Well, I’ve been greatly inspired by the sea and decided to go for a nautical theme for a little performance. My recent doll has decided she wanted a tail rather than legs, so a tail she now has, and I’ll be using her to tell a few sea shanties and stories on the theme of finding treasure. I’m planning a small show for the Brighton Fringe festival this May; details to come!! I’m terrified and very excited!

So now The Lady of The Sea has transformed (by moonlight) into a mermaid / selkie wife. I’m trying my best to adorn her in suitable clothes and fine jewels, and I’ve been to a wonderful little bead shop and found her tiny pearls, aquamarine teardrops and glass beads for her hand-dyed indigo shibori dress. More on the set design later, but there are foiled leather goldfish and old cotton reels, trinkets and amulets and other bits and bobs.

Have a magical equinox / eclipse and welcome spring!!

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Merlin The Green Man

Here’s a reblog of my folk tale Merlin the Green Man; I’ve just been introducing my little boy Finn to Tove Jansson and the beautiful Moomin books, and this story was inspired by her…

Imogen & The Mermaid

“The Green Man”
A folk tale by Imogen McCarthy, September 2013
(Inspired by Tove Jansson’s novel “the summer book”)

Once upon a time there was a boy called Merlin, and he loved to wear green; he wore a green cape and a green hat.

Everyone in the village called him “The Green Man”, and made fun of his funny clothes.

Merlin didn’t mind, he would walk out of the village and into the woods; sit in the trees, talk to the birds and sing to himself. He was happy and content in his world of green.

Time passed, and he grew to love the woods more than the people in the village; the trees understood him and the plants accepted him in his green cape, and his green hat. He understood the language of nature and felt at home, so he built himself a tree-house and this is where he…

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