About UNIMA International
The Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) is the oldest international theatre organization in the world with 6000 members in 100 countries. The organization represents an incredibly strong and diverse network of passionate artists, researchers and educators working in over 100 countries. Every four years, representatives from member countries convene for the congress and World Puppetry Festival – the 2020 event will take place in the Gianyar regency of Bali, Indonesia. Mark your calendars!
Don’t forget that the ACPA/AMCA members are encouraged to send updates about your puppetry-related activities in the region.
You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in a future Journal. Submissions can be in either English or French (or both!).
UNIMA Canada maintains an excellent website, with updates, events, and interesting stories from the world of puppetry. It is online at unimacanada.com
The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Facebook Page: facebook.com/UNIMAAtlanticCanada
Winter Journal editor: Pam Moore
Newfoundland and Labrador Update
News from Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls Inc.
The Lady of the Falls will be touring Newfoundland and Labrador’s Arts and Culture Centres this winter and spring.
The Lady of the Falls is a puppetry play about friendship, memory, and being all in it together. A play for all ages, it tells the story of a young girl who undertakes a heroic journey upriver to confront the feared protector of the land, the Lady of the Falls, and to ask for her help. Lady, whose memory is failing, is encouraged by her dear friend, Raven, to tell her story before she forgets who she is. The play explores themes of sustainability and interconnectedness, and asks that we consider how our actions affect ourselves, each other, and our world.
The play was developed during residencies at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre in Corner brook in 2017 and 2018 with support from Arts NL and the provincial Arts and Culture Centres.
News from Ruth Lawrence, White Rooster Theatre
White Rooster Theatre is delighted to be heading to 10 more schools with support from the ArtsNL School Touring Program. The adapted folktale Kate Crackerberry uses hand, rod and stick puppets to tell the story of sisterly love. When Anne is struck by an evil curse and a sheep’s head replaces her own, Kate adventures out with her in search of a way to reverse it. Along the way, the girls learn lessons of identity, empathy and kindness to others. They also manage to cure a Prince under a fairy spell to the delight of his royal family. Adapted by Ruth Lawrence, with Puppet Design by Baptiste Neis and Music by DianaDaly, this highly interactive show is directed by Lois Brown.
Kate Crackerberry will visit schools on the South Coast and Central NL from December 10-20, 2018.
Photo by Victoria Wells
New Brunswick Update
Théâtre Alacenne (Anika Lirette)
On vous présente Miko ! Le Théâtre Alacenne dont Anika Lirette ainsi que le Centre de ressources familiales du Grand Moncton, soit l’investigatrice du projet Claire LaBelle, ont collaboré cette année pour développer un nouveau personnage nommé Miko. Miko servira d’outil de rassemblement et de médiation auprès des conseillers et des conseillères dans les différents centres du Grand Moncton. Miko est conçu par l’artiste visuel Anne-Marie Sirois suite à une exploration dans l’espace de Anika au Mermaid Theatre. Miko a sa propre mélodie et sa propre personnalité grâce à un appui créatif musical de la part des compositeurs Jean-François Mallet et Jean-Pierre Morin. Une chorégraphie de Miko a été enseignée et le Théâtre Alacenne va continuer de suivre l’évolution de cet outil de travail auprès des conseillères. Miko a sa propre valise, ses propres ambitions et saura rassembler les différents enfants anglophones et francophones. L’amour, le respect et le partage sont les thèmes qui se développent présentement. Merci à la Province du Nouveau-Brunswick – département de l’Éducation et p tite enfance dans le cadre des projets en littératie familiale.
Visitez www.theatrealacenne.com pour plus d’informations.
Nova Scotia Update
Pop-up Puppetry Sessions Attract Dozens
The Mermaid Institute’s attractive storefront premises were open to the public recently for an inaugural community-oriented workshop. Dozens of family members who had gathered on Windsor’s main thoroughfare for the Town’s annual Santa Claus parade participated eagerly in the one-hour pre-parade session as well as a companion workshop to coincide with the Avon Christmas Market two days later. It’s anticipated that the expanded program of instruction, intended for all levels of proficiency, will be embraced by both residents and visitors to the region.
Mermaid’s Unique Mentoring Initiatives
The Mermaid Theatre Loft
The Mermaid Theatre Loft was created a decade ago by Jim Morrow, Mermaid’s Managing Artistic Director. His goal was to enhance opportunities for a new generation of puppetry artists through the sharing of Mermaid’s resources. The Loft is now recognized as welcoming berth where the art of puppetry can be explored in a nurturing and supportive environment, and where emerging and established professional theatre artists have unique opportunities to explore ideas related to their desire to use objects as a device for telling stories. The roster of national and international participants is impressive, as word spreads about what’s on offer at Mermaid. The program is unique in Anglophone Canada.
Both short- and long-term residencies feature full access to all the Mermaid facilities, including personal studio use of the well-equipped and inviting Loft space. Active engagement with Mermaid’s creative and administrative personnel is encouraged, with project-specific mentoring offered in puppetry manipulation and construction, set and prop design and construction, play development, dramaturgy, administration, organizational planning, and the challenges of touring. Potential participants with an interest in developing new projects or enhancing existing works that are rooted in object and visual theatre are encouraged to apply. (www.mermaidtheatre.ca)
Current and recent participants include:
2018 Jenny Rogers, Saginaw, Michigan, USA – Sophie’s Gift Laura Stinson, Halifax, NS, – Fox Hatch Three Gallows Theatre, Oregon, USA – The Feeble Minded Dictator Theatre du Poulet, Ross Creek, NS – The Extinction of Hong Kongers Susan Crighton, East Dalhousie, NS Anika Lirette, Moncton, NB – Village, Voyage Annie Valentina, Halifax, NS
2017 Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ross Creek, NS – A Midsummer’s Nights Dream Karen Jensen, New York, NY, USA Alacenne Theatre/Grand Pre National Historic Site, Grand Pre, NS – Village Three Gallows Theatre, Oregon, USA – The Feeble Minded Dictator
2016 Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ross Creek, NS – The Tempest Grand Pre National Historic Site, Grand Pre, NS – La Terre Michelle Legere/Dalhousie student production, Halifax, NS Tara Manuel, Corner Brook, NF)– Lady of the Falls
2015 Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ross Creek, NS – 937 Alacenne Theatre, Moncton, NB – Ally et la Foret Tara Manuel, Corner Brook, NF Michelle Urbano – Artichoke Heart Collective, Toronto, ON
2014 Artichoke Heart Collective, Toronto, ON Alacenne Theatre, Moncton, NB – Ally et la Foret Bill Carr, Halifax, NS – Adam Mudd
2013 Alacenne Theatre, Moncton, NB Treehouse Shakers, New York City, NY, USA – Hatch
2010 Zach Frazer, Montreal, QC
2009 Zuppa Theatre, Halifax, NS
Loft Resident, 2018 Jenny Rogers, Saginaw, Michigan, USA – Sophie’s Gift
A resident of Saginaw, MI, Jenny Rogers has a diverse background in the arts which includes degrees in both theatre and music. She’s currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Her three-month artist residency at Mermaid is an integral part of her third year graduate program, and is focussed on the development of the staged puppetry adaptation of Sophie’s Gift, a charming book she authored and illustrated in 2015.
( Photo: Pam Moore)
Institute Collaboration with Online Instructors
Struan Robertson, Institute of Puppetry Director of Education and Outreach, and Danny Everson, General Manager, joined forces with Jiliguala’s Shanghai Studios in July 2018 in an imaginative venture designed to enhance language skills through puppetry. Jiliguala’s online services specialize in early childhood educational material, specifically English-language programming which is shared with more than 6 million mobile app users nationwide. Mermaid’s Institute team created six short videos featuring puppetry construction, puppetry manipulation and the integration of music.
(Photo: Danny Everson )
Unique Storybook Adaptation Workshop
At the invitation of Hsinex, China’s major publishing enterprise, Mermaid’s Jim Morrow led an innovative storybook adaption workshop in Shanghai during August 2018. More than fifty librarians, children’s bookstore employees and owners gathered at a multi-purpose art space located in the centre of of the city. Delegates travelled from all parts of China to learn about the unique process for which Jim (and Mermaid) have won international acclaim, namely the creation of fully staged productions which capture the magic of children’s literary classics.
Jim’s account mirrors the enthusiasm of both leader and attendees:
“ Despite the challenge of having only two days, we were able to accomplish a lot as the participants were generous with their time and enthusiasm. I suggested that we work in smaller groups of ten and collaborate on ideas and effort. After becoming familiar with the story, each team set out to create a design, storyboard, and a maquette complete with miniature puppet cut-outs, with their ideas then shared with the full assembly. It was a huge success, evoking invitations to return to China in the near future to conduct similar workshops throughout the country”.