Puppet Workshops.

A variety of classes for adults and kids are on offer from Festive Factory:

  • Shadow puppetry
  • Found object puppetry
  • Puppets in performance
  • Clowning
  • Mime
  • Juggling
  • General theatre skills
  • Animation

The list of workshops and kids activities that can be provided is only limited by the imagination supported by ones resources to provide. The value of workshops is providing tools for expression as well as expanding the horizons.

Workshops are frequently provided for schools, shopping centres and festivals. Also many private enquiries are received from adults wishing to move into the performing arts, or with specific needs related to their occupation, for example, counselling.

Festive Factory’s workshops have been provided for a multitude of clients over the years. But there are two standout and unexpected highlights over this time.

The most recent was at the Warrnambool Fun4Kids Festival. This particular festival centres on workshops and activities for children and as a sideline offers a continuous program of on-stage performances.

Festive Factory presented an installation called ‘The Zoetrope Village’. As part of the presentation, workshops were offered, whereby visitors could make their own animation device called a Zoetrope. These were so popular that 3500 animation units (or Zoetropes) were made over 5 days. They were a very hectic 5 days, but it was worth it, to wander round the festival and see these Zoetropes being enjoyed by so many adults and children.

Making Zoetropes

Making Zoetropes

The other highlight was when touring in Europe a few years ago; Festive Factory had the opportunity to offer a puppet show and workshops in puppetry to a refugee camp in rural Czech Republic. “The families led us off into a forest for the workshops. We had determined that it was likely that resources would be limited so the puppet- making workshop would be of found objects”.

The initiative of the children was overwhelming as puppets quickly came together. Sticks became bodies with arms and legs, ballet dresses made from wild flowers, wild apples became heads and discarded milk cartons became cows and other farm- animals. They were all held together by rubbish string picked up from the side of the track leading into the forest.


Puppets from the Forest of The Czech Republic

Once the puppets were completed, the children were encouraged to create and work together to perform a show.

Keeping in mind that many nationalities were represented with various languages, they all combined to perform a coherent performance, which represented their plight and circumstances. It was a very moving short story about a group of children stranded on an island. They were going hungry until a bird said, ‘don’t cry, I’ll fly off, find food and bring it back’. The bird flew away and returned with enough food to eat and they all danced in joy. All the adults watching were affected and the symbology was not lost on anyone.

While techniques can be taught in any discipline required these days, and the availability of practitioners is not hard to find, perhaps the real benefit of workshops is to provide the tools for a means of expression when the going gets tough.
As workshops are available in any discipline, one need only choose which horizon to expand.

Putting on the Final Touches.....

Putting on the Final Touches.....