Stravinsky’s Firebird was just brought to life at the Hollywood Bowl thanks to conductor Ben Gernon, the LA Phil, and the larger-than-life puppets crafted by the Handspring Puppet Company–the same group that produced the puppets for War Horse.

Janni Younge is a South African creator and director of contemporary, adult-focused puppet theater and visual performance. She’s also a designer and director with Handspring, and she worked with choreographer Jay Pather to create their artistic interpretation of Stravinsky’s Firebird.

I spoke with her about how she translates her fine arts training into puppetry, interpreting the myth of the Firebird, and using this story as an allegory for South African democracy.



one of the Firebird puppets

the head of the firebird

Firebird puppet at the Bowl

On stage at the Hollywood Bowl – photo by Susie Goodman.

Firebird at the Hollywood Bowl

The LA Phil plays Stravinsky’s Firebird under larger-than-life visual elements – photo by Susie Goodman.

Firebird at Hollywood Bowl video 1

Firebird at Hollywood Bowl video 2

Firebird at Hollywood Bowl video 3

photos courtesy LA Phil, videos courtesy Susie Goodman

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