Yesterday I participated in the webinar, Puppetry and Education, presented by Center for Puppetry Arts. It was a great infusion of support for the power of puppetry to met a wide spectrum of educational needs.
Backing up almost two decades to 1994, my own love and fascination with the breadth and complexity of puppetry expanded far beyond what I previously imagined puppets to be, when I enjoyed a few days in the enchanting town of Charleville-Mezieres, France for an UNIMA Puppet Festival. European festivals are magic and of course this had all the necessary other world elements for enchantment. Sitting in little tents or intimate theatres or wandering the old town square, I found imagination tucked into every possible niche. Many of those images are still with me.
Last year I attended Suspense: London Puppetry Festival.These fresher images join all my previous ones, along with the stage play War Horse, the intimate vagabond nature of The Puppet Barge, and Puppet State Theatre’s indelibly portrayed story of The Man Who Planted Trees.
I take puppets to show children in classrooms where I tell them stories. They are all so eager and welcoming to me as their storyteller, but I feel that when I bring them a puppet they accept me as one of them. Clearly this is a bridge to their imaginative worlds, and to what they imagine they can do.