Puppeteer Alex is pulling all the right strings on Leeside

Moving to Millstreet with his family at the age of seven, Alex said he quickly felt a part of the local community. 
Puppeteer Alex is pulling all the right strings on Leeside

Currently living in Carrigaline, Alex is involved in the ‘Aladdin’ panto currently running at The Everyman Theatre.

FREELANCE puppeteer Alex Hindmarsh, 29, feels more at home in Cork than in Essex, England where he spent his early years.

Moving to Millstreet with his family at the age of seven, Alex said he quickly felt a part of the local community, crediting the friendly nature of Cork people as a part of his smooth integration.

Currently living in Carrigaline, Alex is involved in the ‘Aladdin’ panto currently running at The Everyman Theatre.

“I’m a member of the stage crew and as well as an understudy, I also play a few background characters, one of which is a Dragon puppet that I made for the show.

“It’s amazing to be back in the theatre and performing for live audiences again!”

Alex with a puppet Jim from a show called 'Jackie and the Potato Plant' by Pot and Kettle Puppets.
Alex with a puppet Jim from a show called 'Jackie and the Potato Plant' by Pot and Kettle Puppets.

With a keen interest in animation, Alex studied cartoon animation at St John’s Central College, where one of his lecturers was Cliff Dolliver who owns a puppet company called Dowtcha.

With a natural curiosity for the skill set involved in puppetry, Alex ended up doing an internship at Dowtcha with Cliff and went on to work with the company for some time.

“I’ve taken puppet shows, workshops and parades across the country. I love every second of my work and really enjoy the interesting places it takes me.”

Alex also met his partner Hollyblossom at St John’s Central College, who also studied the same course.

Hollyblossom, whose mother is American and whose father is from Cork found favour with Alex and the pair hit it off.

“Hollyblossom has grown up in Cork, but her accent has a little American twang from her mother, it’s really interesting.”

After Cliff headed home to Australia, winding down his company Dowtcha, Alex branched out on his own, with some considerable success.

Alex recently finished up puppeteering for a children’s TV show Bright Sparks which will be broadcast on RTÉ Jr soon.

“I really enjoyed working with RTÉ, it was a real thrill, I would love to do more things like that in the future.”

When he is not working with puppets, Alex keeps himself busy with his passion, incorporating puppetry into a lot of his spare time!

“I’m a committee member for the Cork Puppetry Festival.

“It’s a festival that runs around the August bank holiday weekend every year. Great fun for children and adults alike!

“I also run some puppetry classes with CADA Performing Arts, a brilliant stage school here in Cork run by the amazing Catherine Mahon-Buckley.”

The talented young man also enjoys sketching and often chills out with some YouTube videos playing in the background while he draws.

Outside of his artistic interests, Alex enjoys a little bit of gaming.

“I like to relax with some video games when I get the chance. I’m currently playing a game called ‘Rocket League’, which is essentially rocket-powered car football… it’s quite addictive!”

An adrenaline kick also keeps him happy.

“I do enjoy a go-karting session at the NKC (National Kart Centre) who are based out in the Marina Commercial Park. If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend it.”

Cork just the right size

Chatting about his life in Cork, Alex said the Cork way of life is good to him.

“Cork City is a perfect size, it is easy to navigate by foot or public transport and has everything you could need on your doorstep.

“There’s a great arts community in Cork. Whether it’s running workshops, performing in a show or building something for an installation or event, there’s usually something in Cork to keep me busy!”

One of his finest memories over his 22 years in Cork has been performing for an audience.

Alex described the first time he performed at The Everyman Theatre.

“My first time performing on The Everyman stage was very memorable. I was cast as the giant in the 2019 Everyman Panto ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. I also made the giant too. He was a 4-metre tall giant puppet that I wore and controlled from the inside! It was a magical experience.”

A big believer in the Corkonian lifestyle, Alex said his only quibble with the city was the high price of rent, which he conceded was a nationwide issue.

Alex said even though he has been here since he was a child, he still has an English accent.

“Having a lot of my family move over with me meant I was still constantly surrounded by it.”

Despite this, Alex said when he heads across the Irish Sea, he gets told he has some Cork tendencies.

“When I do visit family I have in England, they’ve definitely noted that I’ve picked up a lot of Irish phrases and mannerisms!”

Looking ahead Alex said he sees himself sticking it out in Cork for a few more decades.

“I don’t know what the future holds for certain, but I think Cork will always be my home base for sure. Corkonians are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!”

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