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Reindeer Puppet (Bancu)
The SNow Queen 2019
Rose Theatre Kingston
Puppet Designer and Maker Oliver Hymans
Puppetry Director Yvonne Stone
Director / Writer Ciaran McConville
Set Design David Farley
Music and Lyrics by Eamonn O'Dwyer
Sound Designer Ella Wahlstrom
Costume Designer Peter Todd
Lighting Designer Charlie Morgan Jones
Choreographer Aimee Leigh
Fight Director Jessica Hrabowsky for True Edge
Assoc Director / Voice Coach Josh Mathieson
Props Supervisor Taylor & Foley
Casting Directors Lucy Jenkins CDG & Sooki McShane CDG
Production Manager Kate Edwards
Costume Supervisor Annie James
Based on the Story by Hans Christian Anderson
Helena Blackman The Snow Queen
Roger Man Dad / Father Christmas
Davina Moon Freya
Parisha Shahmir Gerda
Jack Wolfe Kai
Plus the cast of the Rose Youth Theatre

Oliver was commissioned by The Rose Theatre Kingston to design and make the life-sized puppet character of Bancu for the 2019 production of The Snow Queen. Reflecting the traditions of Scandinavian design, wooden toy reindeers and the theatrical world created by Olivier Award winning stage designer David Farley, the critically acclaimed Bancu puppet was operated by three talented puppeteers under the direction of Yvonne Stone (War Horse, The Dark Crystal, His Dark Materials at the NT). 

Tucked away in a long forgotten corner of the city is an orphanage. Here Gerda discovers that she is no ordinary teenager, but a Child of Magic, hidden from the reaches of the evil Snow Queen. When she shows her powers to her best friend Kai, she unwittingly reveals their whereabouts. Kai is lured away, and Gerda must journey to the Frozen North into the Queen’s clutches to save him.

Her perilous adventure includes an unlikely pirate captain and a talking reindeer called Bancu, secretive elves and vicious trolls. As the Snow Queen rallies her forces, Gerda must learn the true nature of her magic powers to save Christmas and rescue Kai.

This Christmas, be enchanted by Hans Christian Andersen’s powerful tale of love, magic and self-realisation. This glittering new adaptation features a wealth of local talent from the Rose Youth Theatre alongside a professional cast.

Click here to read Oliver's behind the scenes piece about the making of the puppet Bancu published on the Rose Theatre's website and in the show programme. 

The Snow Queen at the Rose Theatre. Phot
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Broadway World

“Particular mention must go to Oliver Hymans' puppet design…Reindeer Bancu is a magical addition to the show, with brilliantly realistic movement and wonderful personality...The appearance of Bancu alone is worth the ticket.”


The Stage

“The undoubted star of the show, though, is spindly reindeer puppet Bancu, designed by award-winning puppetry artist Oliver Hymans and invested with an endearingly awkward personality by its three-strong team of operators.”


Time Out 

“…a life-size puppet reindeer who nearly steals the show…” ****


Theatre Weekly

“Perhaps the highlight of the performance though, for both adults and children alike, was Francis Redfern who brought an irresistible charm and perfect comic timing to the voice of Bancu.” ****


South West Londoner

“My personal favourite character, who I am sure was also a firm favourite for many other audience members, was in fact played – or manoeuvred – by three cast members from the youth theatre. Bancu, the talking reindeer puppet, stole the entire show as well as the hearts of the audience.”


The Review Hub

“Bancu, a delightfully articulated puppet reindeer is one of the show’s highlights.” *****

Love London Love Theatre

“….wonderfully funny performance as Bancu the talking reindeer…”  ****

Fairy Powered Productions *****

“…a very funny reindeer called Bancu, who really wants to fulfil his dreams.”

Behind the Scenes


Rehearsal Photos

In the studio: The Making of Bancu

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