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Curious Cargo is a performance & visual arts company.
Our aim is to reach diverse audiences and other quality, playful, thought-provoking, exploratory and exciting creative experiences.

Curious Cargo creates unique & interactive street theatre & visual theatre pieces for unconventional settings. Curious Cargo has a
selection of highly visual, comic, intriguing, interactive strolling acts which are available for bookings throughout the year. As a performance
company Curious Cargo has entertained the public at festivals & events across the country including Henley Arts Festival, Glastonbury Festival, RHS Shows, Cardiff International Street Theatre Festival & Alnwick Garden.
The company has also performed at settings such as the Childrens's Hospital in Birmingham, Manchester Art Gallery, Liverpool Maritime Museum & early
years settings. Curious Cargo also undertakes site-specific/event-specific commissioned shows.

Curious Cargo offers high quality, participatory workshop and training packages for community, education and corporate settings. The company
has experience in consultation, training and delivery of arts and drama workshops. Our workshop & training portfolio includes: physical theatre & improvisation techniques; mask movement & mask making; puppeteering skills and puppet making; exploring projection, shadow & movement; creation of large scale puppets, props & lanterns for parades and celebratory events; and a range of visual arts experiences including withie sculptures, silk paper making, junk sculpture etc. The list is literally endless as Curious Cargo is constantly tailoring workshops & training packages to meet new requests.

Curious Cargo also undertakes 'making' commissions. Previous creations have included masks & puppets (of various sizes - from the minute to the gegant!), a selection of bizarre-and wonderful props, and site-specific visual art pieces.


The People

Tess Hills - Director
photo 3 by Beate Mielemeier
Tess founded the company in 2004 and is the director & lead artist. She is a physical performer/puppeteer/mask performer and a visual artist/designer/maker. As a project manager, community artist and trainer Tess has over 25 years' experience of devising and delivering arts-based projects throughout the UK & Australia; working with all client groups and age groups, in educational, community and corporate settings. Tess is qualified as an Artist Facilitator (NOCN accredited), and develops Arts Based Training programmes to explore and address a range of business issues and needs in the corporate sector. Tess has performed with, (and on occasion still performs with), a number of other companies including: Granny Turismo, Larkin' About, Thingumajig Theatre Company, Mark Mark Productions, Horse & Bamboo Theatre Company, Pif Paf Arts, Walk the Plank, Aqueous Humour Street Theatre Company & Paper Cut Total Theatre Company. Pre-Curious Cargo Tess trained as a set designer for film and television and consequently worked making and painting scenery & props in various theatres & workshops across the country. Her work in TV & film included contracts at Granada & Central TV, working on productions such as Spitting Image as Assistant Art Director. Whilst in Australia Tess worked at John Cox's Creature Workshop making puppets for 'Pitch Black' & 'Komodo'. Tess is also qualified as a teacher and has taught at FE and university entry levels, and has passed her Level 1 in British Sign Language.

Performers and Associate Artists

Peppy Hills

One of the founding members of Curious Cargo, Peppy is both a performer in The Lost Luggage Porters, Lollipop Patrol & The Temperance Society) and a workshop leader. Peppy also works as a freelancer delivering residencies, training and speaking at conferences nationwide and internationally. She is a specialist in dance and movement (with particular interest & expertise in early years and disability arts), and has an MA in Creativity and Education for the Professions. She is also a Therapeutic Play Practitioner.

Julian Waite

Julian performs with the company as one of our 'Lost Luggage Porters' and as Professor Fitzsimmons in 'The Temperance Society' and as a 'Sprite' puppeteer.. In 2007 Julian co-devised and performed in a Curious Cargo strolling show commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery and based on Ford Maddox Brown's painting 'Work'. Julian co-wrote and performed a number of 'character monologues' which were featured on the MAG Bafta nominated website, which accompanied the 'Art Treasures' exhibition. Julian has a Doctorate in Philosophy, an MA in illustration, has trained as a massage therapist, and is a senior lecturer in Performing Arts at Chester University.

Ric Taylor

Ric is a performer with the Curious Cargo and has undertaken various roles including that of a Lollipop Lady, Lost Luggage Porter, a 'Sprite' puppeteer, and as part of The Temperance Society. Ric also tours internationally with his own company 'Granny Turismo', and performs with a range of other street theatre companies, including Larkin'About & JagoJA Productions.

Thea Soltau

Thea performs as part of 'The Lollipop Patrol' and 'The Temperance Society' with Curious Cargo. Multi-talented Thea has worked as a performer, workshop leader, community artist & director for over 20 years now, and has an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response. Thea has worked on a number of international projects in post conflict and developing countries, she is also a role play actor for Manchester & Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, and performs with Thingumajig Theatre Company in their street theatre shows.

Find out more about The Lollipop Patrol See details of Curious Cargo Shows Find out more about The Lollipop Control Find out more about Curious Cargo Shows You are here? Find out more about our workshops and training See video footage of performances Curious Cargo in action Connections to other organisations Getting in touch with Curious Cargo Find out more about the Lost Luggage Porters