Smoking Apples are Molly Freeman, Matt Lloyd and Hattie Thomas. The three discovered a mutual love of puppetry when studying together at DAMU in Prague in 2009. When they returned to Rose Bruford college to complete their BA Hons degrees in European Theatre Arts they auditioned for a project with International Arts Company, Kinetika, and met Aimee Holmes with whom they decided to first start working together as Smoking Apples Theatre Company.
The company have developed
their own unique style and approach to creating an alternative kind of puppet
theatre which incorporates disciplines of storytelling, physical and visual
theatre. They also design and make their own puppets specifically for each
production. With puppets and actors equal on stage they aim to ignite an adult
imagination by sharing beautiful stories about the strengths and intricacies of
Since the four co-founders first started working together they have collaborated with Kinetika on many occasions. Including the Imagination our Nation residency where they created large carnival style puppets to be used in public celebrations, and they still perform with them today. More recently, Smoking Apples operated Kinetika's lion puppets for the Our Greatest Team Parade on the 10th September 2012.
Smoking Apples own work started with Whispers from a Wandering Tent, a short outdoor piece they first performed at Rose Bruford College's Symposium Week in 2010 and then toured in gardens and festivals across the country. This included the Edinburgh Festival the same year where they also presented a first public scratch of Molly's final year degree show, Seemingly Invisible. The company went on to develop this work into a fifty-minute show that they performed in 2011 at the Prague Fringe Festival and International Youth Arts Festival. Smoking Apples did their final performance with Aimee Holmes in Wiltshire before deciding to part ways creatively. The Apples then took Seemingly Invisible to the Blue Elephant Theatre and performed a further developed version with Blake Aleksander.
The company began working with the International Youth Arts Festival at the beginning of 2011 as puppetry directors for From Amazon, which was performed for HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Charles. They were then invited to become part of the Creative Talent program, which gives young companies an opportunity to perform and develop their work. Late in 2011, Community Brain invited Smoking Apples and fellow Creative Talent company Dumbshow to create and perform a site-specific piece entitled Seething Wells and the Defeat of King Cholera.
In 2011 the Apples started to work behind the camera. They were asked to puppeteer dancing teddy bears for a Weetabix advert at the end of the Summer which lead to working with Velvet Productions on an advert for Webuyanycar.com. Most excitingly in November that year, Smoking Apples were employed by Rob Allsopp and Associates to work on Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe - a beautiful music video for Kate Bush using shadow puppetry.
During 2012 Smoking Apples took part in Animate Festival in association with IYAF and went on to puppeteer for the Queen at the Jubilee parade, and then at the Swanage Carnival in August. They are currently working on a performance of A Christmas Carol in collaboration with Samuel Wyer and Petersham Playhouse.
Aside from their other projects Smoking Apples have been scratching their now current show, The Wordcatcher, since the beginning of 2012. First at the Lyric Hammersmith and then at the BAC before they created a fifty-minute piece to perform at the International Youth Arts festival in the Summer and at the Blue Elephant theatre in October. They plan to take the show to Edinburgh in 2013 with the support of Creative Youth and other companies from their Creative Talent programme. The company then hope to take The Wordcatcher on tour around the UK in the Autumn.