‘Being part of the Puffin Rock cast is a great experience’

Jim Craig who provides the voice of Bernie the Hermit Crab in Puffin Rock.
Jim Craig who provides the voice of Bernie the Hermit Crab in Puffin Rock.

As Puffin Rock makes the jump to the big screen, the local animation company behind the show is searching for new cast members.

Dog Ears has put out a casting call for children, aged between seven and eleven years old, to voice some characters.

They also need an older man and an adult male and female to complete the cast for the 80 minute feature film, which is to be released in Spring 2021.

John McDaid, Creative Director of Dog Ears, said the company are ‘hugely excited’ to be making a movie.

“Nobody has done it before in Northern Ireland so it is hugely exciting for the show and out little fans. We get consistent feedback from throughout the world about Puffin Rock and with the movie we will be creating some different. It will be a special occasion going to the cinema for all the kids who love Puffin Rock, many of whom will be going to the cinema for the first time.”

John revealed that work on the film has being going on behind the scenes two and a half years.

Bernie the Hermit Crab.

Bernie the Hermit Crab.

“The script is finalised and we are recruiting across the three studios that are involved with the production, story boards are coming together and we are casting for new characters. It is all starting to come to life and for us this is the fun part.”

Cast member Jim Craig, who voices Bernie the Hermit Crab in Puffin Rock, encouraged young people to try out for the new roles.

“Being part of the cast is a great experience, it is completely different to acting on stage. The cast are a lovely group and Dog Ears are great people to work for,” he said.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest, particularly young people, to give it a try. Not everybody is going to get a part, but you don’t know until you’ve tried it!”

Geraldine Cole who voices Mama Puffin.

Geraldine Cole who voices Mama Puffin.

The grandfather of four said his grandchildren are fans of the show and said it will be ‘really exciting’ to see Puffin Rock make the leap from the small screen to the cinema.

Unlike Jim, Geraldine Cole, or Mama Puffin as she is known to thousands of children around the world, had never acted before she became a cast member.

“I heard about the auditions and just decided to give it a go for a bit of craic. Lots of people auditioned so I never expected to get the part and was totally in shock when I did.

“It is a really fun thing to do and there is a real buzz about it. Dog Ears have created something so unique and original and I am so excited about the movie.”

Mam Puffin from the pre-school animation Puffin Rock.

Mam Puffin from the pre-school animation Puffin Rock.

Geraldine hopes her own two children will be old enough when the movie comes out to consider her being part of the cast ‘cool’.

“They recognise it’s my voice, but my youngest doesn’t really understand why he can hear my voice and not his Dad’s! My older nieces and nephews think it’s cool.”

The auditions will be held in late August and Dog Ears have asked for short video clips to be sent in to casting@cheersdogears.com to allow them to make a shortlist.

John McDaid said the animation company are always ‘blown away’ by the local talent when they hold auditions.

“No acting experience is necessary, we just want to see kids having fun, being themselves and to see their personalities,” he said.