Mother smith

‘Mother Smith’ is a puppetry-dance theatre performance based on Mary, a 75-year old Guyanese poet featured in the documentary film “The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song” by Director, Christy Garland. The audience follows Mary's story as she retells her tragic past and shares with us, her poetry. At her side is her companion voiced by the world renowned Guyanese poet, John Agard who, along with Mary, will venture through both light-hearted and richly thought-provoking verbal terrain.


Victoria Rucinska


Current: Victoria Rucinska, Natalie Sloth Richter, Johanna Merceron, Linzy Na Nakorn

Original: Natalie Sloth Richter, Linzy Na Nakorn, Belinda Papavasiliou, Laura Ganotis

Puppet building team:

Lorea Burge Badiola, Eleonora Fraccaro, Jill Fullbrook


Extracts from ‘The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song’, spoken by Mary Smith. Extract from ‘Innocent’ by Flesh Quartet. Edited by Jai Patel.


Resolution Festival, The Place Theatre, Jan 2019

Woman SRSLY, Hackney Wick, London, Aug 2018

Paddington Arts Event, Maida Vale Market Place, London, July 2017

Abeerance, Southwark Platform, London, Feb 2017

Lewisham College, London, Sept 2016

Blackheath Halls, London, Sept 2015

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, May 2015

Trailer Link:


"...magically expressive puppets, each handled with amazing delicacy by two puppeteers...A calypso coda has the crowd in raptures too."

Bryn Davis, Jan 2019, Resolutions

"...the puppeteers invest them with unexpected and charming consciousness...Victoria Rucinska explores her mixed Guyanese heritage through text, music and movement with heart and humour. Densely-packed with emotion, its life-affirming, calypso-fuelled conclusion is as infectious as it is irresistible."

Neil Norman, Jan 2019, Resolutions

"...The performers really created a bond with their puppet and carefully move her around the stage, as well as interacting with the audience. The carefully crafted performance touched on issues important for women around the world, such as domestic violence and poverty.”

Blanka Douglas, Sept 2018, Woman SRSLY


"...Puppeteers Rucinska and Natalie Sloth Richter support the black grandmother puppet with tenderness and skill as they help her physicalize her tales. Mary’s voice talks of poverty, domestic violence and survival."

Josephine Leask, Sept 2018, Woman SRSLY