Hartlepool Monkey Homecoming

Ahoy there, land-lubbers and-legend lovers of Hartlepool!

In 2017, Gyre & Gimble and Fuel created a hit stage show based on The Hartlepool Monkey, a legend that has survived the test of time and captured imaginations for over 200 years.

And now, in 2020, we collaborated with people across Hartlepool to explore the myth and mystery (or the facts and history!) of the monkey who came to town.

Curated by Gyre & Gimble and local theatre maker Ruth Mary Johnson, this autumn we delivered a programme of analogue and digital community activities exploring myth, identity, and what it means to live in Hartlepool town today.

Community stories, ideas, and imaginations will be celebrated with a series of original puppetry films created by students at the Northern School of Art.

Videos Coming Soon - Starting Wednesday 25th at 12pm

Film 1 - Magical Monkey Mischief

Created, in November 2020, in response to the letters written to the monkey by pupils from Throston Primary, Eldon Grove Academy, St Aidan’s, St Helen’s and St Teresa’s Primary Schools. 

“When you go to bed to sleep, the Hartlepool monkeys come out and cause some mischief… Filmed in self-isolation, Magical Monkey Mischief brought to life the voices of primary school children with their own versions of the magical legend and the mischief that happens in our own homes.”

(Team OG, 3rd Year Acting Students, The Northern School of Art)

You can create your own monkey puppet!

Here is the template

Here are the instructions

Puppet template designed by Toby Olié of Gyre & Gimble

Film 2 - Hart of Hartlepool

Created, in November 2020, in response to the stories of how Hartlepool got it’s name, sent in by pupils from Eldon Grove Academy.

“The concept of our short film was inspired by the children of Hartlepool. The stag’s story was different with every version we heard from the children, and so we were motivated to have a sense of childlikeness through the drawings. We tried to highlight that Hartlepool is a strong community.”

(Team Mystery Incorporated, 2nd Year Acting Students, The Northern School of Art)

Film 3 - Cheeky Monkey

Created, in November 2020, in response to the letters written to the monkey by pupils from Throston Primary, Eldon Grove Academy, St Aidan’s, St Helen’s and St Teresa’s Primary Schools.

“A day in the life of our little cheeky monkey. Exploring Hartlepool through the eyes of a child we follow the adventures of Francisco the Monkey visiting all the school children of Hartlepool’s favourite places. Using 3D puppetry to bring him to life, follow along on his mischievous adventures.”

(Team Shadows, 2nd Year Acting students, The Northern School of Art)

Film 4 - Rock and Stone

Created in November 2020, Rock and Stone is inspired by community conversations about the rich culture of storytelling in Hartlepool. Special thank you to John Cambridge for all of his support.

“Upon speaking to a member of the Headland History Group, we could tell how proud these people were of the stories told in Hartlepool. We chose the story of the elephant rock due to the strong images we could use to tell it. We used shadow puppetry to give the story a mysterious atmosphere.”  (Team Shadows, 2nd Year Acting students, Northern School of Art)

“A day in the life of our little cheeky monkey. Exploring Hartlepool through the eyes of a child we follow the adventures of Francisco the Monkey visiting all the school children of Hartlepool’s favourite places. Using 3D puppetry to bring him to life, follow along on his mischievous adventures.”

(Team Shadows, 2nd Year Acting students, The Northern School of Art)

Film 5 - Monkey Business

Created, in November 2020, in response to the letters written to the monkey by pupils from Throston Primary, Eldon Grove Academy, St Aidan’s, St Helen’s and St Teresa’s Primary Schools.

“Monkey Business is inspired by children’s perspective of Hartlepool. It explores the dimensions between hand drawings and the real world playing with the techniques from the workshop with Gyre&Gimble.  The story revolves around the relationship of the Hartlepool community and Hangus, together with a simple lesson that of the joy of sharing.”

(Team Monkey Business, 1st Year Film, Production Design and Visual Effects and Model Making students, The Northern School of Art, Go Bananas Credits by a pupil at St Teresa’s RC Primary School)

An independent event, creating with the community