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Paul Blakemore

Touring Suitcase Diaries: Intronauts

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Chris Pirie, devising performer and lead designer of Intronauts, talks about his work on the show and what it’s like to tour with futuristic puppets and a tiny submarine on the road.

When on tour with a show, what are your five packing essentials – what goes in your suitcase?

A laptop (for watching boxsets), a waterproof bluetooth speaker and a good set of headphones are usually in there first. Followed by a neck pillow for long van journeys, plus earplugs and an eyemask for those random moments when sleep is needed and the environment is less than conducive. Oh, and my Learn to Count Properly book.

Do you have any music you like to listen to in order to chill out/psych yourself up before a show?

I recently made a playlist for my sister’s birthday, largely pumping tunes from the years we grew up; lots of 70s ska, funk and disco; that has been my pre-show choice on this current tour.

A puppet of an astronaut, hanging onto a tiny submarine surrounded by red mist, is attacked by a many limbed creature

Are there any rituals you have for good luck in a show?

Not really, I like to warm up my body as much as possible and then its just time for Adam’s short and weirdly formal handshake and exchanging of “good show” before we all take our positions. Previous shows have all featured ensemble songs and so pre-show singing has been a feature. Intronauts has none, so I miss that little ritual…

A production can be very time consuming, do you find that you think about the show even while not directly working on it?

Sadly, it’s my job as I also run the company and have to think about all aspects of Intronauts most of the time. As all other company members live on houseboats without washing machines it usually falls to me to do the costume laundry, and as show designer I also take responsibility for overseeing or carrying out repairs to props, puppets and scenic elements. So, yes, thinking about the show is pretty much a full-time job!

What things are the essential ingredients of Intronauts?

A dark, dystopian vision of future self-care, a large dollop of absurd humour, some wig-out funky dance moves and a lovely banana.


See Intronauts on Wed 20 – Fri 22 Feb and have a chance to meet the puppets after the show! Get your tickets here.

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