We enjoy the power of puppetry not just as an educational tool addressing many cross-curricular targets, which can be tailored to any topic, but also as an engaging learning mechanism for creative expression which enhances confidence and self esteem.
Puppetry, like all other Art forms, allows participants to express themselves, but, (arguably unlike all others except mask theatre), puppets can also act as what psychologists refer to as a transitional object. This means that the Puppeteer, whether s/he is a skilled Indonesian dalang of several decades, or an emotionally challenged toddler, can speak through the puppet, using it as a channel to say things in a safe way. In this way, a dalang for example may criticise the government but blame it on the character in his story in another far away land and the toddler might express important information which s/he had been too scared to express otherwise. Apart from the implications for social and emotional aspects of learning, there are many other reasons for using puppetry as an educational tool.
Making and performing with puppets creates a natural link between creative and expressive arts and can develop a wide range of skills for the practitioner. The puppet, when jointed, strung, given rods or fitted to the hand as a glove becomes the actor, controlled by the puppeteer, and takes on an extraordinary life of its own.
For Children and Families in Schools, Theatres, Festivals or Arts Centres
For Adults, particularly suitable for Students of Drama & Expressive Arts or Teachers & Teacher Education courses / In Service Training sessions.
After attending a workshop for year 10 girls during February 2003, which doubled as an INSET for drama staff, Mrs Judith Brown, Head of Drama at Woldingham School wrote:
" thank you for a really fascinating and stimulating workshop. The girls really enjoyed themselves and learned so much, even in just a day. That was largely due to your careful structuring of the sessions which provided them with a sound basis to begin their own work on Puppet Theatre. The music also created such a wonderful atmosphere in the Studio. It has certainly inspired many of them and we can sense already that some really exciting work will be generated for our own production of 'Arabian Nights'."
"Quite apart from what the girls got out of it, it was a wonderful day for Jess, Lyn and me. We always say when we come back from an INSET how it refreshes our approach; for all three of us to see what is possible within our own Studio space has opened up many ideas. We all came into work this morning enthusing and talking of ways we can " use" what we learned yesterday."