Time for a little update from the Applied Puppetry realm……So far, 2013 is proving to be a craft-materials-all-over-the-living-room-floor kind of a year, which of course is a good thing in my book.
This spring has seen some new puppet making projects at the Theatre Royal Plymouth’s TR2 base, starting with a hectic marathon of bear making with 30 Year 2 Ford Primary School children. Based on the book ‘The Jolly Postman’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, the session involved everyone making a bear puppet, and a lovingly decorated and enveloped card to ‘post’ to another bear in the forest. With a bit of creative visualisation our bears entered the forest in order to successfully deliver their cards to the correct bear.
There was also a sunny day of puppet making with eight enthusiastic participants from Lifeworks in Dartington, which supports young adults with learning difficulties. In a day we transformed the faithful plastic milk carton into a hare puppet complete with exceedingly large ears and whiskers, inspired by the story of the Hare and the Tortoise.
I’ve also begun a project with Dove Tales, the Theatre Royal’s arts group for asylum seeker and refugee women in Plymouth. By the summer we will hopefully create a large puppet woman decorated with fabrics from the womens’ personal collections (which I look forward to seeing), and it is already clear that this puppet woman will have gorgeous plaited hair and woven hands! (see photo below)
Meanwhile in the land of 2D arcane picture animation, my paper theatre club at Brixton Primary School has put together three final performances including one inspired by Micheal Morpurgo’s Warhorse and one pondering the various ways that members of One Direction might meet a grisly end.
And here is a set of punch and judy style glove puppets in the making, which will hopefully come alive on Plymouth’s Barbican seafront this summer to tell the ‘alternative’ story of the Pilgrim Fathers setting sail from Plymouth in 1620, with the help of a seagull narrator bearing an uncanny resemblance to Morgan Freeman.
Besides these random endeavours I’m hoping to carry on exploring the possibilities for puppetry in education and applied settings this year, looking forward to meeting inspiring minds at the Little Angel Theatre’s Applied Puppetry symposium in April, and also forging links with my local new free school, Plymouth School of Creative Arts, to see if puppetry can help the school achieve its aim of encouraging cross-curricular learning through creativity.