What’s New in 2017!

Despite the best of intentions, I find myself sitting down to write a new blog post a full year since my last post. Yikes! Although I feel badly that I haven’t been putting my blog to good use as a tool for communication, I realize I’ve made many amazing connections in the past year, have grown my business to include some very valuable and exciting new services and projects, and the learning curve continues to grow as I immerse myself into the world of on-line learning – not only as a student, but as an educator as well!

Owning a business has much in common with being a parent. As with a child, when you’re spending time with your business almost every day, you don’t necessarily recognize the growth that is happening. It’s only when you look back on a photo or some kind of written documentation, that you see how much growth there has actually been! While sitting down to write this much needed update, I was hit once again with the realization that “my baby is growing up!” My website has just completed a face lift to reflect the changes within my business. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think of the new look and the new programming.

Here are some highlights of what’s new in 2017!

Coming in May 2017

Beginning May 1, 2017, I look forward to working with the The Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities to offer a 6 week “Giant Puppet” Project. Participants in the project will meet once a week on Mondays from 2 to 4 pm at Seeds of Change in the former George Street United Church.

Sexual Assault: The Roadshow is a participatory art gallery in a shipping container that is travelling to 15 cities and areas in Ontario over a three year period. At each stop, local anti-violence agencies work with local artists and participants to create work that “talks back” to sexual violence. In honour of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Sexual Assault: The Roadshow will be arriving in Peterborough/Nogojiwanong for the month of May 2017. I am so excited to be one of the 4 artists who will be offering workshops as a part of this important event.

My workshop is called “Inner Wisdom”. Participants of the 2-part workshop will create 2 puppets that personify their “inner critic” and “inner cheerleader” in a reflection and conversation about our individual strengths and fears. The workshop will be held on May 13th and 20th. Registration is limited to 15 spots and participants must be available to attend both sessions. To register or for more information, please contact the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre at (705)748-5901.

Puppets in a Box

My creative woodworking husband, Alan King and I are combining our talents to offer “PUPPETS IN A BOX” – a 4 day workshop for kids & teens over the age of 10. Every participant will build:
• a portable wooden rod puppet stage
• 3 one-of-a-kind rod puppets
• hanging scenery backdrops and
• fun & creative props.

The fun doesn’t stop there! The puppets will be brought to life by using puppetry techniques used by the pros, writing a script, creating a storyboard and performing for an audience! To register and for more information click here.

Forest Theatre Camp

In July 2016, I had the great pleasure of partnering with Jumping Mouse Outdoor School, to run “Forest Theatre Camp”, a one week day camp for children between 5 and 12 years of age. It was a week full of outdoor exploration combined with incredible creativity. The result was awesome performances set in the woods and creek of beautiful Jackson Park (Peterborough) by a zany cast of young puppeteers and wild critters (or were those just masks?).

“Forest Theatre Camp” 2016 was such a hit, we’re doing it twice in July 2017 – once with 4 to 6 year olds and again with 7 to 13 year olds. For more information, go to http://puppeteria.ca/for-kids.html.

Know Me

I’m very excited about my new partnership with Linda Briden, Special Education teacher & author. Linda recently released a new children’s book called Know Me. Her book is the basis for a uniquely creative program for students in grades 3 to 6. This 1 ½ hour workshop gives students the opportunity to challenge assumptions and discover common ground with classmates and members of their community, despite surface differences. Puppetry is used as the medium for delivering and reinforcing the key messages. We use a combination of sock puppets and shadow puppetry to present to the students. Following a classroom discussion, each student makes and uses their own sock puppet to keep the learning going.

Linda & I piloted the “Know Me” project in three classrooms earlier this year to rave reviews. Our promotional brochure was mailed out to about 100 schools this week. We can hardly wait to start scheduling our presentations for the 2017/18 school year.

A Journey into Puppetry in Long Term Care

This is a very exciting week for me – a week of embarking on a new phase of learning and teaching as it relates to puppetry.  This week, I’m putting the final touches on a workshop for staff who work with people living in long term care.  On Tuesday morning, I’ll be delivering my workshop to staff at Fairhaven Long Term Care in Peterborough, Ontario.  Every participant will be creating their very own sock puppet, bringing it to life, and practicing a variety of ways to use their puppet in the work they do with the people who call Fairhaven their home.

Many people think of puppets as a child’s toy, but puppets are so much more than that!  Puppets have the ability to enhance communication, build relationships, solve problems, tell stories and tap into our sense of play and fun.  Tuesday’s workshop will be the first step in coaching care-givers to learn how to do just that; to learn to use their puppets to enhance their own work and the lives of the people they devote their time and energy to, through their work.  I feel grateful and honoured to kick-start this fun and creative journey with them.

I will also be on the learning end of this exciting journey as I begin to build relationships of my own, with the staff, volunteers and residents of Fairhaven.  I look forward to devoting time every week over the upcoming months, to building those relationships as a volunteer visitor, a workshop facilitator and a project coordinator as we work together to create puppet-based programs that will bring greater joy, creativity and connection to the lives of the residents, caregivers, family members and community who participate together.

I hope you’ll come along on this journey of learning with me, as I write about my experience in upcoming blog posts. 

A New Home and an Updated Website

The past month has been very intense here at Puppeteria. We have made a physical move for our home & Puppeteria office from Wilberforce to Peterborough! Our house in Wilberforce sold in record time with a very short closing date so all the tasks associated with moving had to happen very quickly. Down-sizing from 2,700 square feet of living, workshop & office space to 900 square feet of living, workshop & office space added greatly to the challenge and I have to admit, there are still several lingering boxes whose contents need to be sorted, put away, given away or thrown away. It’s worth it though! I’m thoroughly enjoying the much de-cluttered and efficient nature of our new, compact, comfortable home. The puppets seem quite pleased with their new space as well and are able to keep a closer watch on me as I work on new programming and rehearse new scripts.

With new contact information, updating the Puppeteria website also became a high priority and a great opportunity to add information about our brand new birthday party packages and other expanding services. I hope you’ll take the time to explore each page to check out the changes. One of the most exciting changes is the addition of the Puppeteria Chef! He appears in a different pose on each page as the “spokespuppet” of Puppeteria. Many thanks go out to the talented Aaron King, who designed and created this unique character for Puppeteria. The photos in the posting from January 26th, 2014 show the puppet version of the Puppeteria Chef. You’ll be hearing more from him as time goes on. I’m also fortunate and grateful to have an excellent web designer, Linda Middleton, of Crystal Image Studio, who worked her magic to make all the changes and get my updated site live in a very timely fashion.

One big advantage to our change in location is easier access to a whole new geographical area and population base. We’re very excited to serve Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Durham, Northumberland, Hastings and Haliburton Counties! I look forward to making new friends and colleagues in these areas as well as nurturing and growing with my friends and colleagues in Haliburton County and North Hastings. If you know anyone who might be interested in a puppetry workshop or a birthday puppet show, please steer them in my direction. I look forward to your comments and ideas!

Making of a Puppet

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The pile of materials from the last post is looking a little bit more like a puppet! You may notice there are 3 clay noses in the photo. This colourful little chef will in fact have only one nose. I’m just waiting for the noses to dry and then I’ll figure out which one to use and attach it to the face. It should be fun doing the rest of the facial features. There will be lots of hair to attach! Sewing the chef apron and hat is likely to be the most challenging part of this puppet. I’ll keep you posted!