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It’s No Bull… Local Production is Going Overseas

Alex Lucas (L) and Phillip Hatter with “Bull.”
Alex Lucas (L) and Phillip Hatter with “Bull.”

Local puppeteer Philip Hatter of Thistledown Puppets and local teacher/author Alex Lucas are making waves in the Mediterranean this summer with their recently produced play, “Bull: A Puppet Musical.”

This locally crafted Broadway-style musical for children has been purchased and produced by TED UK, a British entertainment company, and is being performed at Sensatori, a five-star resort on the island of Crete through October 2009, and beyond.  Several other international venues are currently being considered for this production, as well, including another Sensatori location in Mexico.

Lucas and Hatter are being flown to Crete to direct the cast of the play the second week of July. They debuted the production at last year’s Roanoke Arts Festival, playing (and singing) the leads.

“I’m excited to see how far this idea has gone,” says Hatter, founder of Thistledown Puppets.  “I love that these characters we created and fell in love with are now bringing smiles to the faces of families from all over the world.”

The play, based on a comic strip originally developed by the Hatter and Lucas team, is about an unhappy bull who longs to live in the city rather than on a farm.  The play’s book, lyrics, and music were all penned by Lucas, who has published poetry, fiction, and essays since 1995, and teaches English at Hidden Valley Middle School.

Hatter, a local artist who has crafted puppets for companies internationally for several years, designed the original character art and puppets.

“I’m humbled by the success of this piece,” said Lucas. “These characters and this music seem to genuinely resonate with audiences, both children and adults alike.  As a writer, that’s thrilling.”

TED UK (, the British production company, has purchased European production rights for the play for the next five years, with plans to market the play to many of their properties.

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