Potatohead is a 1 hour performance art piece and contemporary puppetry performance. It will be developed in R+D over 6 weeks working alongside a creative team of dramaturges and directors including Sh!t Theatre and Lydia Cottrel.
Potatohead tackles challenging themes such as identity, hedonism and consumerism through multidisciplinary art forms puppetry, clowning and performance art. The R+D will coincide with 3 scratch performances across the UK in Folkestone, Leeds and Newcastle with audience feedback. As a result the performance will be fully realised, ready for future touring opportunities.
I am a York based performance artist, comic and puppeteer. Resident artist at Southbank Studios. Creating bespoke puppets, props, as well as performing, directing, writing and producing theatre.
I have performed around the uk to a wide variety of venues, pubs , clubs and festivals. including Edinburgh fringe, York Theatre Royal, Little angel theatre, Leeds international festival and many more.
"Freddie is one of the most relevant and challenging artists working in puppetry currently, mixing traditional forms with contemporary performance to address pressing social issues. We offered Freddie a residency and outcome opportunity so that her work can be taken into a next level of development. We think the world needs to experience her work."
Folkestone Puppet Festival
'Freddie is one of the most exciting young artists in York, in my opinion. Her work is developing fast in a multitude of directions. She's an accomplished performer, a talented puppeteer, and a progressively more conceptually ambitious and thoughtful artist. She’s a leading light of a generation of incredibly talented young artists in the city, ready for a shift in the scale and profile of her work. Freddie performed an early scratch version of ‘Potatohead’ at Dryhump as part of our last SLAP festival, the work excited us so much that we want to support her with the development of the show. Freddie is ready to make a level up with her career as an artist and performer and receiving funding will enable her to do this.’
SLAP York Director
press & media
Potatohead is an unadulterated celebration of silliness and I want to show how important it is to keep that freedom in performance. Keeping the show lighthearted is valuable in a time of a pandemic. I would like to bring high energy and light entertainment into peoples lives.
Recently we have seen news stories about the dropping of "Mr"&"Mrs" from the Potato Head character and toy. This rebranding by Hasbro toy company was made to create a more inclusive toy that targets modern, non-traditional families. The rebranding received huge public outrage from Piers Morgans morning rants claiming it was "utterly ridiculous" to conservatives tweets claiming they felt "Alienated". The sensationalism that was used in this news story highlights the intolerance of the public and their refusal to accept gender neutral products. The "Potatohead" project will underline the importance to express identity regardless of gender norms.
but WHY potatoes?
Potatohead sprouted from an artist collective in London - Word in Transit. As part of the collective I performed a short vignette on the London overground to commuters. The work was influenced by the theme of Toy story on the London underground. Hence Potatohead - the notorious children's toy.
I believe we all have an inner potato. The self deprecating part of ourselves we hide behind closed doors. I believe with growth and freedom to express identity you can go from couch potato to a Golden Wonder.
Potatoes are such an essential crop. They have huge historical importance both dark and joyful.
Potatoes can be anthropomorphised. The variable shape, weight and texture can be seen as having human qualities. We also have phrases like couch potato or feeling like a sack of potatoes. The character of Potatohead is highly relatable partly through her honesty, foolishness and her constant exsistial crises. I want to create a character that connects to audience's human experience while simultaneously placing them in a surreal context.
I will also be facilitating 3 free puppet workshops to engage young people ages 14+. I will target local groups in Leeds, Folkestone and York. The workshops will engage young people affected by the pandemic facing challenges such as remote learning, unemployment and loneliness. Puppetry will be used as a tool to build confidence in these young people.
The content of the workshop will be to discover your own Potatohead alter-ego. These alter-egos could be a drag queen, an animal, a monster or even a potato. Using accessible materials participants will create a hand puppet of their own. There will also be an optional lip sync battle between the puppets. Through this workshop I hope to develop their creative skills and use the workshop as a stress relief.
I would like to document the performance for promotional material to send to programmers for future touring. I will also capture audience reactions to document the audience experience.
I will be sharing the performance with a selected audience with opportunity to give feedback. Dependant on covid restrictions the performance will either be live or live streamed.