A dead earth. A climate refugee. A voyage to the outer solar system.

ISHMAEL is set on a futuristic version of earth which has suffered a catastrophic environmental collapse. The surface of the planet is smothered in a layer of clouds, all except for the tops of the tallest mountains which are controlled by a wealthy corporate class. The story follows Ishmael, a refugee whose been living in a corporation sanctioned camp on the darkened surface of earth. She’s offered a chance of a new life above the clouds, but quickly discovers that this means a perilous voyage to the outer solar system aboard the MV Pequod – a mining ship under the control of the notorious Captain Ahab. Once aboard, Ishmael befriends Queequeg – the only other crew member and an escaped experiment in artificially intelligent droids. After a rocky start, Ishmael falls into the groove of life on board until the crew are confronted by a ruined mining ship and with the trauma of the loss of her brother fresh in her mind, Ahab leaves the crew into uncharted space to either find him alive or avenge him.

Venue Format
Theatre, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
A, B, C
Touring Party


Hell bent on bringing our own brand of magical entertainment to the world, our work is created for a wide variety of audiences. We shy away from conventional views of the world and seek to mythologise the modern experience through provoking curiosity and wonder. Focussed on visual theatre, and contemporary applications of puppetry, we believe that this ancient form, given new life can generate deeply imaginative experiences. We think that puppetry has been caught too long in the world of shallow entertainment and slapstick comedy and seek to innovate and educate in order to demonstrate the potential that non-human performers have, and advocate their use in mainstream theatre. This is not puppet-theatre. It’s a Dead Puppet Society.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

The show is unique in that the story is told both by live performers and also using miniatures, models and camera technology to create sweeping visuals that are both the background to the action and carry the storytelling weight in their own right. As with most Dead Puppet Society work, the source of the illusion is exposed and with ISHMAEL we’re taking it to the next level. In addition to watching the story, the audience will be watching how it’s made – live in front of their eyes.

Marketing Materials

Hero image Production images In the making video series Education resources Marketing copy

Community Engagement

DPS prides ourselves on offering quality engagements experiences to young people, artists and teachers in conjunction with our productions. In order to add additional value to these communities and to inspire a legacy for this type of work, we’ll also work with local artists, families and teachers in all regions on a broader program of engagement around the production. Activities can include workshops with schools, artist masterclasses specifically for emerging artists, teacher professional development and artists talks. DPS will bring our strong track record of providing deep engagement, but have the platform to do this in locations that we have never visited.