Presented and Produced by W A Call of Monmouth
The origin of this
troupe dates back to the Autumn of 1937, when
photographer and church organist William Alfred Evan
Call began to study marionettes; mainly as a pastime and hobby.
Having lived a
considerable portion of his earlier life in France, he
was always interested in puppetry and had for some time
operated quite a large and elaborate glove puppet
theatre. The more artistic possibilities of the string
marionette, however, had a stronger appeal and it was
with the object of trying to improve on some of his
earlier and rather crude puppets that led W A Call to
make some experimental figures and work out his own
Bertie & his Horse
Daphne & the Squander Bug
The troupe first
appeared in public in October 1938 at the Annual
Exhibition of the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild held in London at
Victory House, Leicester Square. Here, they were given
a most flattering reception, daily stage shows being
given as well as continual floor demonstrations for the
benefit of visitors, who showed the greatest interest
and were in some cases invited to try their hands at
pulling the strings.
& Hikers from "Village Society"
subsequently given all over the country including
Cheltenham Town Hall, Blackpool Tower, Warrington,
Bolton, Manchester, Cambridge among many other towns.
In July 1939, they were invited to make the first colour
and sound film with marionettes. Unfortunately, the
outbreak of war prevented any further developments in
The Cambria Puppets
had their headquarters at Monmouth, where a permanent
theatre was housed above W A Call's Photography Shop and performances were given two or
three times weekly throughout the year.
Giglet Sisters by W A Call
The shows were aimed
at an adult audience and ran about one and a half hours,
with very elaborate stage lighting, scenery and props.
The programme usually consisted of short plays, variety
turns and caricature sketches, often based on
recognisable local characters. The marionettes
were costumed by Call's daughter, Queenie, who was also
the Assistant Manipulator for the shows.
the early 1950s, the popularity of the marionette
performances in Monmouth was steadily declining.
As it was becoming increasingly difficult to fill even
the tiny 35-seat auditorium, the shows were gradually
wound down and performances eventually ceased.
W A Call died in 1965 at the age of 87.
After his death, the marionettes were not found in his
shop, where he lived in the basement and if they are
still in existence, their current whereabouts is not
PART 1 -
MADEMOISELLE PLASTICINE (Trapeze Artist)
THE CLOWN and his pole balancing act
EXTRAVAGANT MISS DAPHNE AND BINKIE
MADEMOISELLE VERONIQUE (Cabaret Star)
PROFESSOR GLISSANDO (The World’s most conceited
MONSIEUR LAPATTE DE GUIMAUVE (Xylophone Artist)
MADEMOISELLE YVETTE retires for the night
SNOWDROP, JOSEPHINE AND UNCLE RASTUS
AND DAISY (Acrobats)
GUPPY AND MRS GARBAGE (Our Theatre Charladies)
MADAME KICKEMOVA (of the Russian Ballet)
GRAND SULTAN OF HASSAN AND HIS MANY WIVES
NOBODY AND PARTNER
PART 2 -
SKETCHES AND SHORT PLAYS
FABLE OF THE LYBIAN DESERT Music by Tchaikovsky
DIGGING TOO DEEP (A rustic play)
RIVAL MAGICIANS (a fantasy)
PIPES OF PAN (Woodland Ballet)
Puppets manufactured and operated by W A CALL
Costumier and Assistant Operator QUEENIE CALL