Casting puppeteers for War Horse

The Handspring Puppet Company created a special performance, ‘Horse Life’, for the 2015 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Vision went behind the scenes to see how they brought it to life

You may not have heard of the Handspring Puppet Company - but it’s far more likely you’ve seen its work. The South African puppet designer created the incredible wooden horses used in Broadway and West End hit War Horse - a play based on Michael Morpurgo’s dramatic novel of the same name.

Last week at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, the company thrilled audiences with a unique show using their horse puppets. Vision was lucky enough to spend the morning before the show watching the rehearsals and talking to the puppeteers that live and breathe their roles. 

In this video, we head behind the scenes to meet show co-directors Craig Leo and Janni Younge - who reveal just what it takes to become a Handspring puppeteer - and the importance of making a flawless illusion in creating something that seems truly alive in audiences’ minds.

Click below to see exclusive footage of the War Horse puppets in action, and discover just how closely the puppeteers must work together to create something truly magical on stage.