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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 Kendal Mintfest, Glastonbury festival, Streets of Brighton, Cardiff International Street Theatre Festival & V festival..
The company has also performed at settings such as the Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Manchester Art Gallery, Liverpool 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; circus skills; 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, mark-making 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 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 22 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, 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.

Performers and Associate Artists

Peppy Hills

One of the founding members of Curious Cargo, Peppy is both a performer, (Lost Luggage Porters, Lollipop Patrol & Temperance Society) and a workshop leader. She is a specialist in dance and movement (with particular interest & expertise in early years and disability arts). Peppy co-delivered a Curious Cargo Creative Partnerships project at Newman Special School in Rotherham, exploring the theme of 'Projections, Shadow and Dance'. Peppy also works as a freelancer delivering residencies, training and speaking at conferences nationwide and internationally. As if that isn't enough she is also Director of Arts at Sunfield Special School in Worcestershire.

Julian Waite

Julian performs with the company as one of our 'Lost Luggage Porters' and as Professor Fitzsimmons in 'The Temperance Society'. In 2007 Julian co-devised and perfomed in a Curious Cargo strolling show commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery; the 'Temperance Lady & Navvy' characters were based on Ford Maddox Brown's painting Work. Julian and Tess also wrote and performed a number of 'character monologues' which were featured on the Bafta nominated website, which accompanied the 'Art Treasures' exhibition and the strolling show. Julian is a man of many talents: he has gained his Doctorate in Philosophy, and has recently took a sabbatical from his post of Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Chester University to study for an MA in illustration at Falmouth. He is currently Course Manager for the MA course at Chester Uni..

Carrie English
(centre photo by Beate Mielemeier)
Carrie performs with the company as part of our Lollipop Patrol; she also featured as 'Nurse Scratch-It' for the NHS Pride 2008 commissioned street theatre show. She is a very experienced workshop leader and co-delivered the Trade Super Trooper Sexual Health Project in Leicester, 2008, which we performed at bars and clubs on the commercial gay scene. Carrie also has a wide variety of skills: she works as a street theatre performer with a range of companies, and freelances as a pyrotechnician, director, stage manager and project manager (with Walk The Plank, amongst other companies.)

Ric Taylor

Ric is both a performer and experienced workshop leader with the Curious Cargo. As a juggler he brings a range of circus skills to the company; in 2008 he co-delivered a Creative Partnerships 'Visual Theatre & Circus Skills' project at Newman Special School in Rotherham. Ric tours internationally with his own company 'Granny Turismo', and performing his solo street show (of juggling, magic tricks, acro-balance, clowning and fire performance); he also performs as a multi-talented compere, walkabout magician and hat & cane juggler. In addition to working with Curious Cargo & Granny Turismo he performs with a range of other street theatre companies, including Larkin'About & JagoJA Productions.

Lovely performers we have worked with in the past:

Sonya Moorhead

Sonya performs with our company as Millicent in The Temperance Society, and as part of our Lollipop Patrol team. Sonya is also a singer, director & has performed with a number of theatre companies creating work for indoor & outdoor events, including IOU Theatre, Horse & Bamboo Theatre Company, Thingamajig, Whalley Range Allstars & Pif Paf. In 2010 she established her own company 'Canopy', creating outdoor theatre experiences/installations across the country.

Jo Dakin

Jo performs with the company as part of our Lollipop Patrol; she has also co-delivered a package of street theatre workshops, as part of Curious Cargo, for Kendal Youth Theatre Group. Jo works as a stand-up comedian and actor (television appearances include Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Coronation Street, and Two Pints of Lager & a Packet of Crisps), she was also part of the hit comedy improv show 'Four Blondes and a Blackhead' at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006. Jo tours as a stand-up comedian and can be seen at comedy venues across the country.

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