The Flying Box Theatre came together in 2013 to create portable and enchanting puppet theatre for young audiences. Co-founders Jesse Orr and Deborah Sullivan were inspired by the discovery of a collection of unusual folk tales in Bavaria, Germany, and began independently translating and adapting the stories for the stage in 2014. The result of our work was the development of Hans Dudeldee and other Forgotten Fairy Tales, a puppet show that has entertained youth and adults in Ontario and Quebec since 2014. Currently, a French translation of the show is in development.
Today The Flying Box Theatre is run collectively by Jesse, Deborah, and Chantale Urbain. This team has adapted another unique fairy tale for puppet theatre, Prince Dung Beetle, using toy theatre and cantastoria, two ancient forms of two-dimensional puppetry, plus lots of music and a few amazing facts about the humble dung beetle.
Deborah Sullivan is a theatre designer, small-scale set builder, and fibre artist. In the past she has brought her love for the miniature to set-building for stop-motion animation for films such as The Little Prince and If I was God. Now she puts it to good use creating puppets and objects that fit in our portable stage! She discovered a love for children’s theatre working on costumes for several shows with Geordie Productions (including Robin Hood, Pinocchio, and Chloe’s Choice) and her other backstage roles in theatre have included set, lighting and costume design as well as props building. She currently divides her time between The Flying Box and her fibre arts endeavours, creating hand-dyed yarns and knitting and crochet patterns for Sweet Paprika Designs.
Jesse Orr is an insatiably multi-disciplinary and collaborative artist, incorporating design, curation, performance, puppetry, visual arts and activism into her theatre practice. As a member of The Flying Box Theatre she has especially loved working directly with kids as a storyteller and as a workshop facilitator, and she hopes to create more opportunities like this in the future. Jesse also enjoys making things with adults who feel like kids when it comes to art. In the professional performance world, she has recently performed a live puppet video for Architect Theatre’s Like There’s no Tomorrow, co-designed a set for Benjamin Kamino’s m/other, constructed puppets for Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall and Great Small Works’ Anthropocene and project managed Porte Parole Productions J’aime Hydro. Jesse is part of Montreal’s Café Concret collective, which has been staging bilingual cabarets of short works of contemporary object performance since 2006. See jesseorr.com for more.
Chantale Urbain is an accordionist and singer who has been touring for the past several years with bands in Quebec and in Europe. She holds a diploma in music from Cegep de Drummondville and has studied with professional musicians in Romania and Moldova. As a member of La Fanfare Carmagnole, Shnock&Shanti, and Kumpa’nia Chantale plays a variety of instruments in many styles. She has been able to bring these various influences to The Flying Box Theatre as a member since 2015. Her role is mainly a musical one, as composer, accordionist and musical director, but she also contributes to script writing and staging. She loves to enliven The Flying Box’s worlds of enchantment with her accordion, showing children young and old an instrument they don’t usually see!