Journal Fall 2019

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  – there will be a strong Canadian presence at the 2020 UNIMA World Congress and the World Puppetry Festival to be held from April 13 to 19 in Gianyar, Bali (Indonesia)

Fall Journal editor: Pam Moore

Newfoundland & Labrador update 

News from Corner Brook: Tara Manuel, Shadow Souls Inc.

Rat Reckoning

Tara reports that she introduced her new work-in-progress recently at CBNuit – Corner Brook’s nighttime art festival.  She’s also shared news that her new touring show, The Lady of the Falls, has been offered a grant from Arts NL’s school touring program to tour to ten schools on the central north coast of Newfoundland in the spring.



New Brunswick update

News from Fredericton: Grey Rabbit Theatre Company

Laura-Beth Bird is a graduate of the Mermaid Institute of Puppetry Arts Animotion program. She recalls her first visit to Mermaid Theatre in December 2018 when she spent a week in residency at the Mermaid Loft with the goal of seeking advice about puppet construction. Her experience convinced her to enroll in Animotion with the aim of attaining formal training in in a professional setting. She subsequently launched Grey Rabbit Theatre Company’s Caravan project.

“We’ve done a small show in Moncton at the Kreativ Children’s Festival. A brand new, children focused event held at the Aviner Center hosted by The School of Atlantic Ballet. The Company has also performed two shadow puppet shows at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery Family Day and The Fredericton Public Library. We have also worked in residency with Solo Chicken Productions at the Fredericton Arts Alliance Casemates. 

It’s slow going, life gets in the way, (was in England for the last few weeks) but work is starting to come out into the public sphere now. The two puppeteers and solo chicken performers I have been using are Naomi Thais Mercedes Mcgowan and Dustyn Forbes. Both are physical theatre trained but have taken to puppets like a duck to water.

Other than that, I have been hired more frequently to direct new shows with puppet elements and was able to use it predominantly at the notable acts theatre festival. The one acts featured a monster, and I got to be that monster.

The performers are myself and Brenna Gauthier. The show is Gullywhump written by Greg Everett and Directed by Miguel Roy for the NotaBle Acts Theater Festival. Photo: Miguel Roy

On the personal employment side, I am currently the Theatre Teacher at the School of Atlantic Ballet, so that’s pretty neat. I work with over 100 students and community members each quarter with summers for my own research and development; couldn’t have asked for a better gig right now. I also teach workshops on the side with the occasional freelance set or prop building.”

Nova Scotia update

News from Halifax: Theatre du Poulet

Settle Elsewhere is an innovative and timely new production by Theatre du Poulet.  Combining character mask, site- specific performance and documentary theatre with live music, Settle Elsewhere explores the wide scope of stories and day-to-day struggles faced by immigrants to Canada. Beginning at the historic Pier 21 Museum of Immigration, this immersive piece will take the audience on a journey to locations around Halifax, giving a glimpse into the rarely shared daily lives, stories, and experiences of those who are coping with the heartache of leaving home and the challenges of settling elsewhere.

The show’s director notes:

“We have worked hard to maintain some exciting surprises in this show, so, please allow… NO SPOILERS… to be shared with those who have yet to see Settle Elsewhere.”

Theatre du Poulet was founded by Carmen Lee (Executive Director) and Chun Shing Roland Au (Artistic Director) in 2016. Originally from Hong Kong, they relocated to Nova Scotia in 2015. After living and working at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, and Roland’s participation in Mermaid Theatre’s Animotion program, they set about to launch their our own theatre company.

Theatre du Poulet is the first theatre in Nova Scotia that is operated by Asian immigrants. Their stated interests interests lie in connecting political and social issues with art and using puppetry and physical theatre as a language-free method to reach the widest audience.



The Mermaid Loft – Windsor, NS

 Jim Morrow, Mermaid Theatre’s Managing Artistic Director oversees the Mermaid Loft’s unique mentoring program.  His annual report (2018-2019) summarizes a busy year:

“We experienced the busiest schedule to date with six individuals and companies residing in Mermaid’s Theatre Loft, having travelled from across North America to receive training and mentoring in aspects of puppetry construction, manipulation, play creation, process development, and organizational planning.

Participants included: Three Gallows Theatre (Oregon); Struan Robertson/Michelle Urbano (Windsor/Toronto); Laura Stinson (Halifax); Jenny Rogers (Michigan); Laura-Beth Bird (Fredericton); and Steve Day (Montreal). We are currently welcoming new participants and negotiating with a number of others who we expect to travel to Windsor in the season ahead.”

Notes from Loft Participants:

The Mermaid Loft most recently welcomed Kaitlin Morrow, a Mermaid alumna and a dynamic multi-faceted performer with the Toronto-based Fringe favourite Sex-T-Rex theatre company. She shared her thoughts about her recent experience.

“I had a wonderful time during my residency at The Loft. I was commissioned to design and build many puppets for an upcoming project in Toronto and it was great to get away from the distractions and noise of the big city and to have the privilege of breathing fresh air while working in such a beautiful and quiet part of the country. Mermaid Theatre’s Loft program provided me with my own studio, access to tools and resources and most importantly, mentorship from Mermaid’s expert staff who helped me develop my ideas and hone my skills. The most remarkable thing about this program is that these services are offered without charge to emerging artists. I would highly recommend The Loft to any puppeteer looking to advance their craft.”


Logan Robins of Halifax followed his participation in the 2019 Animotion sessions with a recent residency at the Mermaid Loft.

Here are his comments about an ambitious project:

“After the lofty proposal of an original extinction -themed puppetry show for Halifax’s Nocturne Festival, I knew that I would need a lofty solution. After spending a week in the Loft engaged in building, tearing down, re-building and experimenting, I was able to craft prototypes of three different creatures. Since the residency I’ve been hard at work sharing the puppets and their stories at galas, recording music and stories to accompany the performance, and writing the script. My stint at the  Loft  has allowed me to build on lessons learned, and to create bold, engaging, and innovative puppetry to share with the masses. What the Owl said to the Orangutan will premiere (one night only) October 19th, 2019  at the Propeller Brewery 6pm-midnight.. Watch for next steps!”

Logan's The Great Auk


The Institute of Puppetry Arts – Windsor, NS

Notes from Struan Robertson, Director of Director of Education and Outreach

The Institute of Puppetry Arts at Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia engages the community by providing unique creative and educational opportunities for participants of all ages and abilities. Diverse programming fosters the growth of personal skills and confidence, as well as facilitates positive social interaction in a safe and nurturing environment.

institute - First Puppet Night for Grownups-

Some examples of the Institute’s well-received community-based activities range from sessions directed to preschoolers (and their parents), outreach workshops at elementary and middle schools throughout the immediate region, and Puppet Nights for Grownups at which we partner with Windsor- based enterprises such as Schoolhouse Brewery to provide both fun and instruction with a local spin.   The YouTheatre puppet sessions offer local adolescents a voice to share their own stories, as well as provide access to arts programming not generally available in rural Nova Scotia.  In the season ahead, the Institute hopes to offer instruction to Seniors.

Insstitute's A lively March Break camp session

With the launch of the Institute’s attractive storefront studio, the community now enjoys enhanced opportunities to explore the world of object movement while reaping the benefits of personal and collective creative endeavour.

About UNIMA Atlantic:

The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association /Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique)

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 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 The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Facebook Page:



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Journal Spring/ Summer 2019


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 from April 13-19. Mark your calendars!

Don’t forget that the ACPA/AMCA members (under the umbrella of UNIMA ATLANTIC) are encouraged to provide updates about your puppetry-related activities in the region. Send your news to for inclusion in a future Journal. Submissions can be in either English or French (or both!).

Spring/Summer  Journal editor: Pam Moore

Newfoundland & Labrador update

News from Corner Brook: Tara Manuel, Shadow Souls Inc.

After The Way Forward Cultural Plana sold -out tour of the island’s Arts and Culture Centres, we are preparing for Labrador leg of The Lady of the Falls provincial tour. We will be performing in May at the St. Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre in Goose Bay and at the Arts and Culture Centre in Labrador City. I will also be leading workshops in puppetry performance soon as we get back to the west coast of NL, Louise Gauthier and myself will be heading to the small coastal community of Wesport to undertake an Arts Smarts project with the students at the K-12 school, (population 25 students!). We are planning to introduce the students to puppetry performance and to create a short puppet theatre piece based on some local folklore.

Recently artists in Newfoundland and Labrador undertook a letter writing and social media campaign to request that our government increase budgetary funds to ArtsNL, our professional arts granting body. Our government has now released their Cultural Action Plan as well as the new budget, and we were very pleased to see that ArtsNL will receive an increase of one million for grants to artists and organizations. We will go to the polls in a few weeks. We’re hoping that the budget will subsequently be passed, resulting in significant increase in ArtsNL’s budget (from 1.9 to 2.9 million for grants)…that would be good for NL puppetry!

I was surprised to discover that when the Minister of Culture, Christopher Mitchelmore, released the Cultural Action Plan last week, the above image was on the cover!

New Brunswick updates


Une performance hors normes par le théâtre l’Escaouette:  12 interprètes, des projections multimédia sur un gigantesque écran, un décor unique, des musiciens sur scène, des marionnettes contemporaines et un lieu pour un voyage temporel.Winslow offre un regard historique très moderne et percutant sur l’Histoire. Le colonel John Winslow, chargé de déporter les Acadiens de Grand-Pré, voyage dans le temps à la découverte des Acadiens d’aujourd’hui, pour des rencontres hautement improbables visant à faire table rase du passé. Le spectacle a eu lieu à Moncton du 5 au 14 avril à guichet fermé. Les marionnettes sont signées par Pierre Robitaille de Pupulus Mordicus. Pierre est maintenant à Moncton pour offrir un atelier donné par Satellite Théâtre le 5 mai. Pour plus d’info  :  Texte: Herménégilde Chaisson.

An out of the box experience by théâtre l’Escaouette : 12 performers, multimedia projections on a giant screen, a unique set design, musicians on stage, contemporary marionettes, live cameras shooting in a venue specially refitted for a time travel. Winslow offers a contemporary and impactful look at History. Colonel John Winslow, in charge of deporting the Acadians, travels through time to discover today’s Acadians in highly improbable encounters. Playwright: Herménégilde Chaisson.  (Sold out performances in Moncton, NB April 5 – 14, 2019)



Fredericton Puppeteer wins scholarship to ANIMOTION

In the spring of  2019, UNIMA Atlantic launched a new career initiative to emerging puppetry artists with creation of a scholarship for the Institute of Puppetry Arts professional training program known as ANIMOTION. Open to Canada-wide members of UNIMA, the inaugural recipient was Laura-Beth Bird of Fredericton NB, who made her way to Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia from April 25-May 3 to complete the three-week Intensive. She was introduced to six different forms of puppetry under the guidance of Jim Morrow and Sthumbnail_IMG_0488truan Robertson.

Laura-Beth began the challenging task of creating a hand puppet show in Fredericton last fall. Her new troupe, Grey Rabbit Theatre Company, plans to perform for young during the summer months across Atlantic Canada.  Laura credits the Animotion training for providing the building blocks needed to carve a career  in the puppetry world by enabling her to take the first steps in the creation of captivating work.

When asked about her journey to date,, Laura-Beth remarked that “it’s one thing to have an idea, and it’s another to bring it to life.” She recalls her first visit to Mermaid Theatre in December 2018 when she spent a week in residency at the Mermaid Loft with the goal of seeking advice about puppet construction. Her experience convinced her to return to begin the process of formal training in in a professional setting.


Photo: Logan Robins

Students from across North America convened in Windsor NS to learn the craft. Laura-Beth Bird was one of twelve theatre professionals who completed the 11th annual Institute training program. She expressed her thanks to Jim Morrow and the team of Mermaid for their continued mentorship, as well as to UNIMA Atlantic and UNIMA Canada for their support  and their dedication to the puppetry arts.

Nova Scotia update

News from Truro: Maritime Marionettes

Maritime Marionettes cabaretMaritime Marionettes, based in Truro, NS,  reports a full calendar of shows and workshops thoroughout Nova Scotia’s school system.  They’ve offered Introduction to Puppetry workshops as well as puppet construction sessions for approximately 1,250 individual classes during the past 5 years. Both students and their teachers have been highly inspired by the marionettes and are even more in tune with the art form when they’ve had the opportunity to see a performance after the workshop.

The company’s creators, Darryll and Heather Taylor, have been strongly focused  on staging and creating new ways of presenting. For many years they have brought their respected marionette theatre to the soft seat theatres, halls and gymnasiums. With the introduction of their new Cabaret stage (shown in photo) they can now perform at banquets, musical concerts and participate in variety shows.  A further initiative this summer will be the addition of outdoor performances, with the introduction of their new new gypsy wagon styled caravan theatre currently under construction.  Fall plans include an upcoming tour of several communities in as featured artists in Northern Ontario’s Children’s Series.

caravan image

News from Windsor: 

Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts attracts fans at home and abroad

With an inviting new storefront studio, a considerably expanded program of instruction and the appointment of a talented Education and Outreach Director, Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts is quickly earning recognition as a major Canadian initiative.

For many years, Mermaid’s Institute instructors have been warmly welcomed in worldwide locations, with workshop frequently offered in conjunction with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s global touring.  Closer to home, the Institute’s broad array of programs directed to puppetry fans of all ages and levels of proficiency is attracting diverse participants. The ambitious roster of courses, unique in Canada, includes a revitalized YouTheatre for adolescents, sessions for Grown Ups (featuring libation and music), workshops for youngsters in both school and studio settings,  pre-and post-performance workshops following family audience programming at the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Center, and the highly respected professional-level intensive, ANIMOTION, which is now accepting registrations for 2020.

About Struan Robertson, Mermaid’s Education & Outreach Director

Struan graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, QC with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Fine Art.  At Bishop’s he studied puppetry under the direction of Tim Gosley, and further refined his skills as an ANIMOTION participant. He joined Mermaid as a touring artist in 2008, and performed with the company throughout Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Puppets for Grown ups copyStruan became a full-time production employee in 2011 and has subsequently been responsible for assisting in production design, and creating transformative sets, props, and puppets. Simultaneously, his unique skills as a teacher have made him a much sought-after instructor whose imaginative workshops using found-objects have delighted hundreds of children (as well as their parents and teachers) in Nova Scotia and in China. Struan was promoted to his current position of Director of Education and Outreach for the Institute of Puppetry Arts in 2018, and looks forward to implementing new and creative programs for local, regional and international students of puppetry.

The Institute's director prepares fpr a busy dayJPG

Struan Roberston outside the Institute

Twelve Participants Complete Xl ANIMOTION Intensive


Animotor Alynne Sinnema

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia launched the Institute of Puppetry Arts in 1998 with the aim of promoting and enhancing the art of puppetry both at home and abroad. Classes, workshops and demonstrations, both in-house and through outreach sessions, are tailored to the specific needs of family participants, teachers, recreation leaders, theatre professionals and industry.  The ANIMOTION Intensive was created to provide a platform where professional and pre-professional performers, and others, would explore the art of puppetry and related object movement techniques in a nurturing and challenging environment. Response to initiative has been tremendous with interest coming from all over North America.


Animotor Jonah Campbell

During the three-week intensive held from April 15-May 3, 2019, twelve participants are offered the opportunity to glean as much knowledge and technical skills as possible though a series of carefully designed exercises, independent and collaborative scene work, and the development of finished pieces using puppets designed and built by the participants themselves, who came from Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Fredericton, and Saginaw, Michigan

The Mermaid Loft, Spring 2019

In addition to her participation in the Institute’s Animotion program, Jenny Rogers of Saginaw, Michigan return to the Mermaid Loft  for several weeks in the spring of 2019 to continue work on her  her puppet theatre project, Sophie’s Gift. Pictured here are Jenny’s experiments with flourescent paints to assess their effect on her principal character puppet (Sophie) .


Jenny Rogers and Sophie


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Journal – Winter 2018

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 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

The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Facebook Page:

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.

Lady_of_the_Falls_Poster_v3.jpgThe 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.


whiteroosterNews 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.

White Rooster Theatre (2).jpgPhoto 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 pour plus d’informations.

Nova Scotia Update

Pop-up Puppetry Sessions Attract Dozens

Eager puppeteers.jpg

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. (

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

Jenny Rogers and Sophie.jpeg

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)

struanstudentInstitute 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

(MTNS) Story 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”.

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Journal – Summer 2018

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 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

The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Facebook Page:

Summer Journal editors: Pam Moore and Julia Dunn

Newfoundland and Labrador Update

News from Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls Inc.

I am very pleased to share that after a successful debut performance, my recent puppetry play for all ages, “The Lady of The Falls”, has been offered a provincial tour of NL’s Arts and Culture Centres during the winter of 2019.

The play was created during a residency at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture centre in 2017/2018 by myself and a team of local NL artists including Michael Rigler (Artwork and shadow puppets), Michael Waller (Director and Chair of Theatre at Grenfell Fine Arts – MUN), performers Louise Gauthier and Adam Brake, and editor Lou Macdonald.

We headed up to the tip of the island in md-June to perform the show in The Iceberg Festival – to test the road worthiness of my set!  I’ve been awarded a grant from ARTSNL to further develop the piece prior to the ACC tour, to add a proper climax scene, and refine some elements of the story.

I’m also thrilled to share that I’ve been awarded a grant from ARTSNL to attend The New England Puppetry Intensive in Massachusetts this summer. The fifteen- day intensive, taught by founding members of The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, focuses on puppetry performance techniques and also includes a studio element, during which I hope to begin creating a new solo puppetry work.

Here’s a link to some info about the NEPI:

And here’s a picture from my show with my Lady:

Image: The Lady of the Falls

Note: Tara Manuel is a performer, puppeteer, and writer. Tara is the 12th child from a family of 15 children from the west coast of Newfoundland. She is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada, and worked as an actor in various Theatre, Film, and TV productions in Canada, the US, and Europe before returning to Western NL in 2000.

New Brunswick Update

Théâtre Alacenne

Le Centre de ressources familiales du Grand Moncton au Nouveau-Brunswick a fait appel au Théâtre Alacenne ( Anika Lirette) pour développer un nouveau projet de marionnette en 2018. Ce personnage (en développement sur la photo) aura comme objectif de rejoindre les six centres de la région dans les deux langues officielles. Sous forme de bande sonore narrative et de manipulations spécifiques par l’entremise des conseillères sur place, des thématiques auprès des jeunes de 3 à 5 ans seront abordées. Le Théâtre Alacenne travaillera à former les conseillères dans sa manipulation pour que la marionnette devienne un outil de communication essentiel. Une trame sonore est en composition pour déterminer la personnalité de ce nouveau personnage. Ce projet est financé par le gouvernement provincial et on souhaite que ça fasse une suite pour les autres régions de la province.

Pour plus d’informations veuillez rejoindre: ou visitez

Nova Scotia Update

Ross Creek Centre for the Arts

The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts in Canning, NS recently hosted a puppetry residency as part of its Breaking Ground Residency series supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Working with a range of artists interested in construction, manipulation, and public interaction with puppets, the focus of the residency was on the potential of cardboard and other found objects, which could inspire our community to think of puppets in the new way. The residency was facilitated by Montreal-based Zach Fraser, and involved Sébastien Poissant Labelle (Nova Scotia), Brian Riley (Nova Scotia), Laura Stinson (Nova Scotia), Chun Shing Au (Hong Kong and Canada), and Christopher Peck (US). The residency examined the local community and settled on creating what are commonly thought of as pests in an agricultural setting, creating dynamic and engaging puppet pests along with a farmer. The week also included a research and field trip to Windsor’s Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia and culminated in participation in the 86thannual Apple Blossom Festival Grand Parade, where coyote, skunk, raccoon, eagle, and ticks thrilled the parade-watchers. Ross Creek was delighted to offer this residency and opportunities for puppet exploration and community-building and hopes to make it an annual program, along with other opportunities for individual and collaborative independent puppet residencies with studios, accommodation, food, and thanks to Christopher Peck, cardboard puppet-making workshop supplies.


Théâtre du Poulet

Théâtre du Poulet has been engaged in honing their production of The Extinction of Hong Kongerswith support of the Arts Nova Scotia and the  Canada Council for the Arts. The work-in-progress was staged on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts prior to heading for the Festival circuit in Toronto.

Hong Kong natives Chun Shing (Roland) Au and Carmen Lee, creators of the work, sharea passion for theatre and puppetry arts with a message for environmental awareness. After travel to Ireland and Canada, they have settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Extinction of Hong Kongers is a 40- minute puppetry & documentary-style production. A first version was performed in 2017 – twenty years after the United Kingdom handed sovereignty of the city to China. The play explores the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong’s pan-democrats and the Chinese authorities, and examines whether the promise of “one country, two systems” has been realized.

With the use of recycled materials and cardboard, audiences are offered a glimpse of the past, as performers build the old Hong Kong. Subsequent scenes use puppetry to portray how Hong Kong’s unique culture faces erosion and possible extinction.

Notes from Struan Robertson, Education and Outreach Director, Mermaid Institute of Puppetry Arts 

In addition to my duties as production associate at Mermaid, over the past seasons I’ve been increasingly involved in promoting the art of puppetry through a myriad of outreach activities. And while it has certainly been stimulating to work with children and their families in the People’s Republic of China, I equally enjoy the opportunity to share my skills and enthusiasm for bringing inanimate objects to life in rural centres closer to home. This was the case in the spring of 2018 when I spent three weeks working with students and staff at Lakefront Consolidated Elementary School in Tangier, NS.

The tiny community, now formerly administrated by the Halifax Regional Municipality, is reached by travelling on a rural highway, Route 7. The town has limited amenities. There are two churches, a post office and a fire station with an attached hall. The school was originally built in 1954, expanded in 1963, and serves students – thirty in total – from grades primary through six. It’s the oldest remaining school building on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, and its days are numbered.

The residency was my third, and proved to be especially meaningful as all those involved will soon continue their education by being bussed to larger centres. The fully engaged staff was eager to celebrate rather than mourn the loss of their unique fellowship by creating a series of collaborative theatrical pieces. I was honoured to oversee the project, particularly as the students already had an understanding of puppetry and object movement. We were able to build upon knowledge garnered from our earlier work together, as well as benefit from the participants’ demanding four-hour road trip to Mermaid’s headquarters where they marvelled at a preview performance of our new ‘black light’ puppetry production, The Rainbow Fish.

We began with a daylong introductory planning session, where we explored possibilities for design and content. To help motivate the students, we studied images of various puppetry styles reflecting differing cultures and historical periods. We watch puppet videos to encourage awareness of broader approaches beyond ‘muppets’ and marionettes. Students were introduced to basic movement techniques including breathing and focus through fun exercises.

I was fortunate to be granted six full days at the school but we still had a few interruptions necessitated by fluoride treatment and gym class. For the sake of expediency, as well as to reflect age-related skills, we divided the participants into three groups with each choosing a theme. The younger pupils (primary through grade two) were assigned the Aesop fable, The Shepherd Boy, which became The Shepherd Girl. Grades three to five were inspired by music, and focussed on the Jurassic Five instrumental track, What’s Golden. The seniors in grade six were challenged to develop their own original stories and chose two – Jungle Walk and Two Bunnies.

Days Two and Three were devoted to puppet and set building. Each participant created an original puppet, with a base built of cardboard and ‘found’ (i.e. recycled) materials used for decoration and texture.

Day Four was Play Day. We were introduced to each student’s puppet, with the creator answering questions about characteristics such as age, provenance, and rationale for inclusion. The responses provided clues as to how the puppet might most effectively be manipulated, and exercises were devised to teach puppet ‘language’ and movement.

Day Five was dedicated to the challenge of blocking, the theatre directing technique in which the students learn to map out their movement and position on stage. The session marked the first time all the puppets appeared on stage together and began to work as an ensemble.

Day Six was set aside to showcase our efforts. Each group had a short rehearsal period where we ran through the show and worked out segments that needed a little help. After lunch the whole school rehearsed together, providing a first opportunity to see one another’s work. Our final event, the evening Puppet Showcase was a highlight, shared with approximately eighty friends and family members who joined us to help celebrate the art of puppetry.

It was one of my most memorable teaching experiences, largely because of the outstanding collaborative support of the principal and teaching staff. Their eagerness to ensure that their young charges would have a rich learning experience despite their physical isolation is highly commendable – and ultimately life changing.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia Returns to China

Mermaid Theatre’s unique adaptations of children’s storybooks have delighted more than six million spectators in nineteen countries on four continents. The enthusiastic response to the company’s first showcase appearance at theShanghai China Performing Arts Festival in 2014 has resulted in annual return engagements, with two separate productions touring in the summer of 2018. The company’s Eric Carle Classics has just completed a twenty-four-performance tour, which visitedBeijing, Shijiazhuang, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai, and Xiamen, while Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunnywill appear in Shanghai, Hefai. Hangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing, Ordos, Taicang, Wenzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Guangzhou during July and August.  The ability to offer Mandarin–language performances featuring recorded narration by Dashan (Mark Rowswell), the legendary Canadian stage and television performer acknowledged as the most famous foreign artist in China, has been a major factor in the company’s popularity with family audiences in more than fifteen cities.

In addition, Mermaid’s training wing, The Institute of Puppetry Arts, will again offer workshops to family participants at under the auspices of the Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre. Mermaid’s principle workshop leader, Struan Robertson will return to China to conduct these ‘found object’ sessions.

Pictured below:
Jim Morrow, Mermaid’s Managing Artistic Director, welcomes audiences in Hangzhou.

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Message for World Puppetry Day

Message for
World Puppetry Day
UNIMA 2018
By Werewere-Liking Gnepo

A sculptured head
A painted figure
Is it human
Is it animal
Or even vegetable,
Made of roots or dead leaves
Is it mineral
Shaped straight from the mass of stone
Or from clay heavy with metals
Or is it just foam or rags…
It is or it represents a loved one
An Ancestor or a Guardian Spirit
But it could be a votive statue
A mask or a doll
What makes it a puppet
Is animation:
We wear a mask or carry a doll
We shake a jumping jack
We animate a puppet…
It can be a cane
An umbrella, a hand or a foot
As long as we can animate it
Give the illusion that it has its own life
A personality, a character,
A plan, a goal, its own destiny
A life it leads like all other beings
A life linked to its animator, its Creator:
A dialectical life, sometimes poignant,
More often comic and fantastic…

We cannot wonder about puppets
Without wondering about creation in general
And the creation of Life in particular
Especially, about the creation of living beings
Apparently independent
But whose dependence or interdependence
Often goes beyond mere Animation
To become pure Manipulation…
We cannot wonder about the Creator
And the kind of mockery
That drives these nagging questions
Without imposing upon us another mockery:
That of the eyes of the child in each of us
And in each member of our audience,
This is what helps us escape
Despair and impotence
When faced with the continual rise
Of intolerance and violence.
We need this child’s eye view
To believe in these animated figures
These “Ndjundju” or these “Kakamu”
These “Sogos Ba and their Sogos Denw”
Sometimes so fine and attractive
Often so strange and frightening
Which terrorize and amaze
In turn, no matter
But which captivate completely
All our attention and willingness
To believe in magic and all its possibilities
Of the Change of the world and all its mores
And we accept the puppets,
We listen to them silently
We admire their faces and their mouths
Such marvellous imitations and representations
Of our societal Guignols:
Politicians, religious folk,
Men and Women
Voices of Power or Business
All so Mafiosi
So terribly perverse
We are moved to tears to see the puppets revealing everything
Without censorship or bombing

Here too, home, in Africa,
They are, they make the “Jesters”
They have a power of their own
A being power, a power to be
They are a gift, an inheritance
They are knowledge
From generation to generation
They are initiation
Before being playful
They are arts of epic times
Where speech becomes too closely watched
From now on requiring shields
To protect “the widows and the orphans”
These impulses of inventors and creators…
They offer the freedom to aspire
To those unexplored universes
Where techniques of making
And especially those of animation
Within those global manipulations
(Both genetic and technological)
And extract their share of the market
As well as an honourable and honorific place
To the extent of their own merit
Puppets of Africa
Coming into the public arena
Reveal their atypical story
Made of beauty and mystery
Of dreams and marvels
To be bequeathed to the perpetuation
Of pure childhood
In the imagination of humanity
And, in this 2018 world celebration of puppetry art
I am especially proud and happy to have been chosen
To bring the Message of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette
In tribute to this art form that has not yet done
Revealing all the wealth of the human heritage
To the best consciousness of all humanity.
And I pray to all who have entrusted me with this noble mission
To, here, receive all my gratitude and respect.


Werewere-Liking Gnepo
Multidisciplinary Artist
Werewere-Liking Gnepo was born Eddy-Njock on May 1st 1950 in Bondé in Cameroon. She has lived in the Ivory Coast since 1978. This multidisciplinary Ivorian-Cameroonian artist is the author of around thirty published books, from novels to theatre, stories, essays, art books and poetry. She has been a painter since 1968 with many exhibitions all around the world. She is also a dramaturg, innovative puppeteer and director of numerous total theatre spectacles considered as African operas; several of these have made world tours; she is also an actress of the stage and screen, and a rap singer…

She was a researcher in traditional pedagogy at Abidjan University (LENA) between 1979 and 1985; she participated in the ‘revolution’ within ritual theatre and was the founder of the arts group Ki-Yi Mbock. She has developed a training system inspired by African initiation rites; within this training, she acts as a ‘star awakener’. This role has enabled her to support hundreds of young people in troubled circumstances to become successfully reintegrated within society as leaders; this led to her being awarded a ‘City Heroes’ prize from Prince Claus of the Netherlands in 2000. She set up the Ki-Yi Pan-African Foundation for Youth Training in Cultural Creation and Development in 2001 and continues this work today. She has received several prizes, such as the French Arletty Award, the Belgian René Praïle award and the Fonlon Nichols award from the University of Alberta; she is a ‘Knight of Arts and Letters’ in France, a Commander of the Order of Merit for the Ivory Coast, was a member of the High Council of French-speaking communities between 1997 and 2003. She received the Noma Award in 2005 and was winner of the book of the year in 2007 for, amongst others, her novel Amputed Memory. She is currently a permanent member of the Academies of Science and of African and Diasporic African Arts and Culture in the Ivory Coast.

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Updates from Quebec

The latest newsletter from the Association québécoise des marionnettistes (AQM)


Édition du 6 février 2018

Chères lectrices,
Chers lecteurs,

Si votre logiciel de courriel vous empêche de lire l’intégralité de ce message, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à la section babillard, cliquez ici.

Merci de lire attentivement la section Membres, qui comporte plusieurs informations importantes, dont celles relatives à la Journée de réseautage de Casteliers. Vous découvrirez aussi dans cette édition du Fil d’Ariane, comme à l’habitude, les prochaines formations offertes par l’AQM ainsi que celles d’autres organismes culturels, les événements, spectacles et prestations marionnettiques à venir.

Le prochain Fil d’Ariane sera publié le mardi 6 mars 2018. La date limite d’envoi de vos informations est le lundi 5 mars 2018.

Bonne lecture!

Afin de débuter l’organisation de la Journée de réseautage de Casteliers du vendredi 9 mars prochain, merci d’indiquer votre présence au réseautage au afin que nous vous réservions de la place pour votre kiosque.

Nous avons aussi besoin d’une photo de vous (membre individuel) ou de votre compagnie (membre organisme) en noir et blanc de 2″ X 2″ que nous apposerons dans le document remis aux diffuseurs pendant l’événement.

Voici ensuite la liste des informations supplémentaires à nous fournir:

  • Spectacle / show : Nom du ou des spectacles (indiquer les langues dans lesquelles le spectacle est joué)
  • Public cible : indiquer les types de public (en français et en anglais)
  • Contact : nom de la personne ressource, courriel
  • Web : site Web

Prenez note que l’entête de l’espace qui vous est dédié sera votre nom (si vous êtes membres professionnels) ou le nom de votre compagnie. Conséquemment, les titres de spectacles ne figureront pas en entête, mais parmi les informations fournies.

La date limite pour nous envoyer ces informations est le 6 mars.


L’AQM sera présente à RIDEAU cette année à la place du marché le mardi 13 février prochain pour présenter son nouveau site web aux diffuseurs.

Si ce n’est pas déjà fait, profitez de l’occasion pour ajouter vos spectacles au répertoire du site web de l’AQM au Si vous ne connaissez pas la marche à suivre, vous pouvez télécharger le tutoriel lorsque vous êtes connecté dans l’onglet “Tutoriel” en haut, à gauche.


Le CQT et  les membres de la Coalition La culture, le cœur du Québec invite les membres de l’AQM à un grand rassemblement dans la capitale nationale, le 14 février prochain, à l’heure du lunch devant l’Assemblée nationale. Au moment où les crédits budgétaires sont à l’étude en prévision de l’élaboration du Budget provincial 2018-2019, il est plus qu’urgent de rappeler aux députés la nécessité d’un financement adéquat pour les arts ainsi que l’adoption d’un plan d’action en faveur des ressources humaines en arts et en culture.

Votre présence est essentielle, réservez votre place dans l’autobus au départ de Montréal. 

>  RDV à 8 h 30 pour un départ à 9 h (lieu de rencontre à confirmer)
>  Retour de Québec vers Montréal prévu autour de 14 h

Achetez votre billet par ici!

*Texte extrait de l’infolettre du CQT envoyée le 23 janvier 2018.


Comme plusieurs d’entre-vous le savent, l’AQM a dernièrement conçu un questionnaire qui nous permettra de récolter des statistiques sur la diffusion et la création des arts de la marionnette sous toutes ses formes sur les territoires québécois, canadiens et internationaux.

Le questionnaire est divisé en neuf sections mettant en lumière les créations, la diffusion, les projets de médiation culturelle, la formation continue, etc. de toute l’année 2017. La présence des marionnettistes sur la scène internationale est aussi soulevée, entre autres par la dernière section qui propose un bilan sur la présence des marionnettistes québécois(es) pendant le Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières du mois de septembre dernier.

Le formulaire ne vous prendra qu’environ 20 minutes à remplir et sera d’une aide incroyable pour le rayonnement des arts de la marionnette du Québec dans toute sa vitalité et sa diversité!



Théâtre Motus

Vendredi 9 février 2018
14 h 00
La fête de la lecture et du livre jeunesse de Longueuil au Théâtre de la Ville

Représentations scolaires
Mardi 20 février 2018
9 h 10 et 13 h 15
Salle Desjardins Maria Chapdelaine

Informations : 1 (450) 616-1427

Partout ailleurs
Théâtre de l’Avant-Pays

Jeudi 26 janvier au jeudi 8 février 2018
10 h 00
Maison théâtre

Informations : (514) 844-6084


Au train où vont les choses
Les Chemins errants

Samedi 10 février 2018
14 h 00
Maison de la Culture de Verdun

Mardi 20 février 2018
9 h 30
Centre culturel et communautaire Henri-Lemieux

Dimanche 25 mars 2018
11 h 00
Place des Arts

Informations : 1 (819) 582-0852

Ombres Folles

Mardi 20 février 2018
13 h 30
Maison de la culture Frontenac

Dimanche 25 février 2018
15 h 00
Maison de la culture de Trois-RivièresLundi 26 février 2018
10 h 30
Maison de la culture de Trois-Rivières

Samedi 10 mars 2018
19 h 00
Maison de la culture Ahuntsic

Informations : (438) 882-6444

Mémoire de Lou
Théâtre de l’Avant-Pays

Dans le cadre du Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée:

Vendredi 23 février 2018
19 h 00
Maison de la Culture de Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie

Dimanche 25 février
19 h 00
L’Entrepôt – Complexe culturel Guy-Descary

Mardi 27 février
9 h 30
Maison de la culture Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie

Samedi 3 mars 2018
14 h 00
Maison de la culture Le-Plateau-Mont-Royal

Informations : (514) 844-6084

L’allée des petits secrets
Des mots d’la dynamite

Samedi 25 février 2018
10 h 00 et 11 h 00
Salle de diffusion de Parc-ExtensionGratuit

Informations : (514) 528-7070
Mwana et le secret de la tortue
Théâtre à l’Envers

Samedi 25 février 2018
14 h 00 min
Maison de la culture Rivière-des-Prairies

Informations : (514) 544-9370
Jessica Blanchet

Dimanche 26 février
19 h 00
Bibliothèque de Mascouche


Informations : (514) 544-9370
L’effet Hyde
Théâtre de la Pire-Espèce

Mardi 6 au samedi 24 mars 2018
Théâtre Aux Écuries

Informations : (514) 844-1811
L’Illusion, Théâtre de marionnettes

Mardi 13 au dimanche 2 mars 2018
Studio Théâtre de l’Illusion

Informations : (514) 523-1303
Magie lente
Des mots d’la dynamiteSamedi 17 mars 2018
11 h 00
Bibliothèque Saint-Léonard

Centre national des Arts,  Ottawa: 
Représentations scolaires:
Mercredi 7 au 9 mars 2018
Représentation devant public:
Samedi 10 et dimanche 11 mars 2018 
11 h 00 et 15 h 00

Informations : (514) 528-7070

Les routes ignorées
Ombres Folles

Dimanche 18 mars 2018
15 h 00
Maison de la culture de Trois-Rivières

Lundi 19 mars 2018
9 h 30 et 13 h 10
Maison de la culture de Trois-Rivières

Informations : (438) 882-6444
Théâtre InclinéMercredi 21 mars 2018
19 h 30
Maison des arts de Laval

Informations : (450) 682-7223

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Cette formation veut combler un besoin d’approfondir des connaissances relatives au mouvement mécanique lié à l’expressivité d’une marionnette. Le stage est conçu comme un espace d’expérimentation dans l’intention de construire et d’animer des marionnettes surdimensionnées comportant des traits caractéristiques d’animaux en mouvement.
Du jeudi 1er au lundi 5 mars 2018
36 heures, 5 jours
Centre communautaire intergénérationnel (CCI)
999 rue McEachran, Outremont

Plus d’infos

Formation offerte par l’AQM 
Formateur: Igor Ovadis
Pour arriver à vivre sur scène d’une façon véritable, il faut s’occuper du silence. C’est cette notion qui sera au cœur des expérimentations. Que se cache-t-il derrière le silence? Le silence contient le rythme, les désirs, le conflit, les tensions qui donnent vie à ce qui est inventé sur scène. Igor Ovadis, dans sa formation de 25 heures, se basera sur les travaux de Stanislavski, le père du jeu moderne. Le stage tournera autour de son système,  une méthode de provocation; provoquer la vie, la relation, le conflit, les tensions, les désirs, les émotions par des actions physiques pour faire émerger la vérité scénique.
Mercredi 18 au dimanche 22 avril 2018 (dates à confirmer)
9 h 00 à 16 h 00
L’entrepreneuriat culturel. Entreprendre… et réussir!

Formation offerte par le Conseil régional de la culture de Laval
Formatrice: Yzabel BeauBien

Samedi 10 février 2018
9 h 00 à 17 h 00
Le Tiers Lieu
1200, boul. Saint-Martin Ouest, suite 130, Laval

Lire à voix haute
Formation offerte par le Chemin qui marche
Formatrice: Isabelle Forest

Samedi 10 et dimanche 11 février 2018
9 h 30 à 16 h 30
Vieux Couvent de Neuville
652 rue des Érables, Neuville, G0A 2R0
(418) 876-2209

Plus d’infos

La rédaction efficace d’une demande de bourse

Formation offerte par le Conseil régional de la culture de Laval
Formatrice: Yzabel BeauBien

Samedi 24 février 2018
9 h 00 à 17 h 00
Salle de répétition 4e étage
397, boul. des Prairies, Laval

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13e édition du Festival de Casteliers

Pour la 13e édition, Casteliers est heureux d’accueillir onze spectacles de marionnettistes nord-américains, du Mexique, des États-Unis, de l’Ontario et du Québec, accompagnés d’une performance et une installation d’artistes des Pays-Bas et du Nunavik. Pour une première fois, une déambulation extérieure ouvrira le festival, où loups et cerf grandeur nature sauront transformer notre perception du paysage urbain. Aussi au programme, plusieurs nouvelles créations pour adultes et pour enfants, d’artistes renommés et de la relève, une soirée de courtes formes inspirée des slams américains et une conférence sur la marionnette comme un grand art!

Le Festival de Casteliers, une célébration du 11e art !

Cliquez ici pour voir la programmation!

Le Festival OUF!, Off Casteliers, célèbre son 5e anniversaire!

Ne manquez rien de la fête:

Le lancement de la programmation se fera le 13 février, au Café Atomic, situé au 3606 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, en formule 5 à 7.

Venez découvrir une centaine d’artistes qui participent cette année!

Pour vous impliquer comme bénévole, rendez-vous le 6 février à 18h au Café Reine Garçon, 611, rue Duluth, Montréal, ou écrivez-nous à

Le festival se déroulera au Pavillon Saint-Viateur dans Outremont, tous les jours du 3 au 11 mars.

Pour plus de détails et pour ne rien manquer des événements spéciaux, suivez-nous sur FacebookInstagram et Twitter et visitez le

La lotterie d’UNIMA-CANADA!

À chaque année, Le festival Casteliers accueille des directeurs de festival, des diffuseurs et des artistes étrangers (Canada, USA, Europe). Tous ces invités sont logés aux appartements Trylon à Montréal où ils prennent ensemble leur petit déjeuner.

Cette année encore, en collaboration avec Casteliers et l’AQM, UNIMA-CANADA propose une occasion rêvée à 2 membres d’UNIMA-CANADA : Soyez à Montréal pour profiter du festival Casteliers et de son petit frère le OUF. C’est une loterie, vous n’avez qu’à envoyer votre nom!

Pour plus d’informations et pour participer c’est ici!

Une bonnne nouvelle pour le Théâtre des Petites Âmes!

L’AQM tient à féliciter le Théâtre des Petites Âmes qui s’est vu remettre le prix de l’AQCT pour le meilleur spectacle jeune public – Montréal pour son spectacle OGO!

Lire l’article ici!

Appel à jeunes auteurs

2019 marque le 90e anniversaire de la création de l’Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA). Afin d’honorer cette date, l’UNIMA propose une compétition ouverte pour jeunes auteurs intéressés pour créer un scénario ou un concept pour théâtre de marionnette qui sera joué à l’occasion des célébrations du 90e anniversaire.

L’UNIMA est à la recherche d’un scénario/concept pour théâtre de marionnette. Cette création sera adaptée dans le cadre de quatre productions distinctes et jouées dans quatre régions géographiques distinctes du monde : Afrique, Asie-Pacifique, Europe et Amérique.

Appel ouvert aux jeunes auteurs de théâtres de marionnette âgés de 18 à 30 ans !

Plus d’informations

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Appel de dossiers: Micro-Festival de Marionnettes Inachevées

Les Sages Fous sont à la recherche d’un projet inachevé en marionnette qui réclame la confrontation avec le public!

La 11e édition du Micro-Festival de Marionnettes Inachevées, organisé par Les Sages Fous, aura lieu du 20 au 27 octobre 2018.

Infos et inscriptions:

Date limite: 1er avril 2018

Plus d’infos

Marionnettistes recherché(e)s!

Créations Jessica Blanchet est à la recherche de 2 marionnettistes pour sa nouvelle création destinée à la petite enfance, Petit pois, dont la première aura lieu en mai prochain.

Vous avez toujours voulu interpréter un scarabée bousier et une chenille poilue? Le grand-petit monde des insectes vous fascine ? Les enfants de 3 à 7 ans vous interpellent et vous voulez leurs partager votre brin de folie dans un spectacle amusant et rigolo ?

Pour plus d’informations et pour tout savoir (ou presque !) de la création, cliquez ici!

Appel à dossier: Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières 2019

Le Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières lance son appel pour la prochaine édition en 2019.

Pour vous inscrire, cliquez-ici!

Date limite: 31 juillet 2018

Appel à candidatures : Oeuvre de l’année 2018 à Laval

Le CALQ et le CRCL s’associent pour créer un Prix, assorti d’un montant de 5 000$, qui viendra souligner le travail d’un artiste, écrivain ou collectif lavallois.

Date limite: Vendredi 9 février 2018

Plus d’infos

Appel à candidatures : Prix SENTINELLES 2018

Le Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) invite les individus et les organismes du milieu théâtral professionnel à soumettre des candidatures pour les deux prix créés en vue de souligner l’apport indispensable des travailleurs culturels au développement de l’art théâtral québécois.

Date limite: Vendredi 23 février 2018

Plus d’infos

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Prochain Fil d’Ariane :  mardi 6 mars 2018 
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Journal – Winter 2017-18


UNIMA Atlantic feature:  Theatre du Poulet

Hello! We are Chun Shing (Roland) Au and Carmen Lee, a couple originally from Hong Kong with a passion for theatre and puppetry arts with a message for environmental awareness. After travel to Ireland and Canada, we’re now settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The formation of Theatre du Poulet was inspired by participation in Mermaid Theatre’s ANIMOTION program in 2016. Our work reflects the sentiments of our generation that most of the world is in chaos. Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America and The Middle East are all facing issues. So how does theatre and the arts respond to the turmoil and improve people’s lives? It’s our belief that theatre and puppetry can serve as an international language to share a message of truth, goodness and beauty to achieve the goal.

We have created two productions in the past two years – Home.Sick and The Extinction of Hong Kongers.  Home.Sick  uses spoken drama, physical theatre and puppetry theatre to tell five true inspiring stories from five people we met in our travels in Ireland and Canada.

The Extinction of Hong Kongers is a 40- minute puppetry & documentary-style production. It was performed in 2017 – twenty years after the United Kingdom handed sovereignty of the city to China. The play explores the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong’s pan-democrats and the Chinese authorities, and examines whether the promise of “one country, two systems” has been realized.

With the use of recycled materials and cardboard, audiences are offered a glimpse of the past, as we build the old Hong Kong. Subsequent scenes use puppetry to portray how Hong Kong’s unique culture faces erosion and possible extinction.

Our website is being restored. Please check on our activities on Facebook


Newfoundland Update

from Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls


I am currently the artist in residence at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre, deep in the development of my original puppetry play, The Lady of The Falls. The play is about Friendship, Memory, and Being all in it together. The show combines shadow puppetry with Bunraku style puppetry, with action moving back and forth in front of and behind the screen.


Every aspect of the show is being created from scratch, so there are currently a lot of moving pieces! I have been really fortunate to find some excellent colleagues to work with me on developing this piece. Michael Rigler has created the beautiful shadow puppetry world, and is working on a short shadow puppet animation scene. Michael Waller, current Chair of Theatre at Grenfell Campus, is directing, Louise Gauthier, performance artist and clown teacher is puppeteering the Lady puppet with me, and also helping to paint the set!  Adam Brake, actor and Youth Theatre Director for Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, is puppeteering Raven.

Our first performance will be on February 23rd at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Center.  After that, we intend to prepare the show for touring, with our first engagement in the spring at the Iceberg Festival on the Great Northern Peninsula, NL. This work has been generously supported by ARTSNL, and by the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre.

In Other News:

A very young St. John’s puppeteer has a talk-style show on Rogers TV.  Jake Thompson is the creator behind NL NOW.  Jake has been a big Muppet fan since the age of two. He started a puppetry Youtube channel at the age of 11 in March 2016, and last year launched his show on Rogers TV. Through his main character, Gary Wheeseltin, Jake interviews St. John’s based entertainers.  His production is all kinds of awesome and he has quite a large number of episodes available for viewing on his website:

UNIMA Atlantic welcomes new members:

Marionnettes en Valise | Backpack Puppets

La jeune compagnie de théâtre de marionnettes Marionnettes en Valise (Backpack Puppets) a commencé cet automne à donner des ateliers de marionnettes à des groupes d’enfants. Les co-fondatrices, Annie Maheux et Camille Banville, se sont données comme mission d’éveiller le potentiel créatif des gens tout en construisant des ponts entre les cultures. Cet hiver, Annie donnera des ateliers en Afrique du Sud et au Sénégal et Camille, dans les territoires du Nord-Ouest et au Yukon. Elles resteront en communication afin d’établir un parallèle entre les différents groupes qui participeront au projet. Marionnettes en Valise (Backpack Puppets) met un point d’honneur à travailler à partir de contes et de matériaux recyclés afin de faire vivre la tradition orale et faire revivre les objets. La première étape de l’aventure s’est déroulée à Montréal, Qc, où Annie et Camille ont donné, ensemble, un atelier spécial Noël dans quelques centres communautaires, garderies et une école. En voici quelques souvenirs! 

p.s. Nous vous invitons cordialement à visiter notre site web pour apprendre à mieux nous connaître:

Pour Marionnettes en Valise | Backpack Puppets

Update from Nova Scotia

from Professor Dawn Tracey Brandes, Ph.D

Dr. Brandes has accepted a new position at a part-time faculty member in the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University.  She’s had an active year both as a scholar and teacher, and offered courses in both Modern and Contemporary Theatre at Dal, both of which included aspects of puppetry. Students in the Modern Theatre session read Edward Gordon Craig’s The Actor and the Ubermarionette, as well as Maurice Maeterlinck’s marionette play Interior and Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. Dr. Brandes’ Contemporary Theatre class included a week on contemporary puppetry, with a focus on Handspring Puppet Company as well as the work of Blind Summit, Snuff Puppet and Hotel Modern among others. She will teach a class on Bread and Puppet Theatre in the second half of her Modern Theatre course, and hopes to broaden the scope of puppet studies with the introduction of puppet theory courses in the near future.

Dr. Brandes was among the organizers of a Puppetry and Material Performance Working Group at the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) conference, held in Atlanta this year from Nov. 16 – 19. The session included papers from 18 scholars, which generated robust discussion. A similar endeavour is planned for next year, with the goal of publishing an edited collection about puppetry inspired by the submissions.

Some further comments from Professor Brandes:

Puppetry International‘s Fall/Winter 2017 edition, focusing on Puppetry in Education, has been released. Our next edition will be on the theme of Puppetry in Therapy for the Spring/Summer 2018 edition. I’m the Peer Review Editor for the journal. You can learn more about Puppetry International here:

There is is a lecture series at the University of King’s College that might be of interest! It’s called “Automatons!: From Ovid to AI,” and I’ll be presenting a lecture as part of the series on February 28 called “Imagined Puppet Life.” Here is the announcement: “

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia update:

The Institute of Puppetry Arts – Spreading Magic Near and Far

Founded in 1998, Mermaid’s teaching wing now boasts alumni on several continents.  The Institute, which offers diverse classes at all levels of development as well as mentoring and outreach activities, has broadened its scope to include a teaching circuit in China directed to family participants, educators and community recreation leaders.  Plans for the future include the launching of a substantial well-equipped studio space designed specifically for Institute activities.

At home, the Institute offers specialized training for theatre artists who seek enhanced professional-level skills.  Based at Mermaid’s spacious headquarters in Windsor, Nova Scotia, the Institute’s three-week ANIMOTION intensive will be held from April 25-May 11, 2018.  The program offers a dual emphasis on animation and objects in motion, with students engaged in hands-on instruction, group creation, production, and puppet construction. 

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 n 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!

Other puppetry notes…

  • The Casteliers Festival brings puppetry professionals from around the world to Montreal – this annual event will be held Mar 8-11, 2018.  More details are available at:
  • 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 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’s online at
  • The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Twitter feed: @AtlantiqueUNIMA and a Facebook Page:

Winter Journal editors: Lee Lewis & Jason Tucker

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Journal – Spring 2017

Update from Newfoundland & Labrador:

Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls

Workshop at Grenfell

Our fledgling Western Newfoundland Puppetry community recently had the pleasure of working with Mermaid AD Jim Morrow.  Through a partnership with Grenfell Fine Arts (Memorial University’s Corner Brook Campus), Theatre Director, Performer, and Grenfell Prof Alex Fallis, and myself, we were able to bring Jim over for several days…even in spite of the truly inclement winter weather!

Jim conducted an Intro to puppetry performance Workshop at Grenfell with a mix of theatre students and local theatre professionals.  The one day session was just enough to give participants a taste of  the possibilities of puppetry, and it was a delightful experience for all involved.

Tara, Louise and Lady

We were fortunate to have Jim workshop with myself and my partner Michael Rigler on our play in development, The Lady of the Falls.  This was an excellent and productive experience for us. Michael is designing the show and building the shadow puppets, and also building and performing Raven, one of the main character puppets who exists both in shadow and in front of the screen.  I am producing the project, creating the story, and now learning to puppeteer the main character, a Bunraku style life-sized puppet, Lady, with local performer and clown teacher, Louise Gauthier.

Shadow puppet testing

These few days with Jim exploded open our notion of what a puppetry play could be, and I finally understand why, when creating a puppetry play, you have to start with the objects themselves and then build the story and the script through exploration. We are so excited to expand on this work with Jim and will be undertaking a residency at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Center this Fall to develop the show, and perform it’s first iteration in November. (Dates TBA)

In Other NL News:

Big Pink Pussy and her Tomcat will be going on a 2-stop tour this spring, performing at the Trails, Tales, and Tunes Festival in Gros Morne National Park on May 26th, and then at The Iceberg Festival at the Northern tip of the island on June 10th.

Newfoundand Actor and Producer Ruth Lawrence’s company White Rooster recently debuted a puppetry play for young audiences.  Adapted from a Scottish folktale collected in the Orkney Islands,  Kate Crackerberry is about the love between two stepsisters, a sheep’s head, and a prince under a fairy spell.

Kate is good, kind and clever enough to survive in the woods, gain work in a palace, and take care of her sister. She rescues her sister from an evil enchantment and outwits the fairies to save the prince from a wasting sickness.

Kate Crackerberry (Ruth Lawrence, White Rooster Company)

Through their journeys, each character gains a different view of the world.  Kate Crackerberry presents a positive perspective on fearlessness as the siblings grow to care for one another, discover the dangers of gossip, and learn the importance of loyalty, love, and understanding.

After a sold out run at RCA’s LSPU Hall in March, White Rooster Theatre takes Kate & her cohorts to Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Festival, playing at 10 am from May 16-20, 2017 in the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre, 6101 University Avenue, Halifax, NS.

Updates from Nova Scotia

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia

Collaboration with The Highbury Education Centre

Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts continues to partner with the Highbury Education Centre in Greenwich, NS. The Centre provides a unique educational and social experience for a small group of teenagers who are unable to attend regular junior high school classes. Celebrating four years of collaboration,  around fifteen students participated in a two-week, intensive puppetry workshop in April 2017 directed by Mermaid’s principal instructor, Struan Robertson.

Most of the participants have had little or no experience with theatre, puppetry or object movement, so it’s Mermaid’s job to introduce them to that world. The project began with Struan visiting the Centre, and leading a group brainstorming session about the project’s objectives. He then met with each student individually and helped them to storyboard their ideas.

The first session included an introductory tour of the Mermaid facility, the opportunity to meet the Theatre’s production staff, and a firsthand look at the prototype puppets and props being created for the company’s new production of The Rainbow Fish.

Several days were spent in the Theatre Loft, a spacious studio dedicated to the development of new work where the students used donated everyday recycled materials to design and build their puppets. The rest of the work was done on the beautiful stage of MIPAC (the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Center), which for some marked their first visit to a theatre, and the first occasion on which participants were comfortable enough to communicate in a public setting. Rehearsals for a collective creation called Moments in Time prefaced a well-received performance for teachers, friends and family.

Reflecting on another successful collaboration, Struan had the following observations:

“This have been one of the most challenging and rewarding workshops. As artists we often measure our work by the finished project, such as a show or gallery opening. This is not the case here. We were rewarded by taking small steps and meeting personal challenges such as speaking in front of people or finding the energies to compete a project. This program to be the only one of its kind in the Atlantic Region and the stepping stone for more great workshops to come at Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts”.

Update from Jamie Bradley

Uncanny SquirrelLast summer I built and performed a ‘budget-less’ puppet of a nutty squirrel (sorry about that) in Taboo Theatre’s The Uncanny: When Fantasy is Too Real. I am presently mulling over a draft of a script about a little robot with an empty bell jar for a head, as well as a concept for a table-top puppet show and am revisiting my idea for The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Other puppetry notes…

  • The Casteliers Festival recently brought puppetry professionals from around the world to Montreal – this annual event was a great opportunity for lots of us, both inside UNIMA and out, to connect and learn more about what everyone else is up to.  Thanks to all who participated.
  • 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 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’s online at
  • The ACPA/AMCA maintains this blog/journal, as well as a Twitter feed: @AtlantiqueUNIMA and a Facebook Page:
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UNIMA Atlantic Journal – Winter 2016-17

In this Journal:

  • Update from Newfoundland
  • News from New Brunswick
  • Latest in Nova Scotia
  • Call for submissions: Puppetry International

Newfoundland Update

Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls

In which I decry the lack of puppetry interest in NL and am quickly made a big fat liar!


Tara and the Lady

While visiting colleagues at Mermaid Theatre last month, Lee Lewis asked me what was happening in puppetry in Newfoundland.  I threw up my hands in a kind of exasperated fashion and said, “I think I’m it!”  Shortly after returning to western NL, I was invited to join in on a couple of puppetry grant applications, and had several  visiting artists drop in to my studio at the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook  to discuss their puppetry projects in development and to play with my latest creation.

I am in the process of developing a puppetry play for young audiences entitled The Lady of the Falls. I’ve been working on this project with my husband, Michael Rigler, and through a grant from ArtsNL was fortunate to travel to Belgium at the end of the summer to undertake a two-week puppet creation workshop, and then to travel to Mermaid Theatre to work with Jim Morrow and Struan Robertson to finesse the puppet design and discuss my plans for developing the show.


Lady in the gallery.  With Sara Tilley

I discovered the work of Natacha Belova while looking for content to share on the Unima Atlantic Facebook page. I was enchanted by the life-sized held puppets created in her workshops, by the realistic sculpted faces, and the playful street puppetry students would engage in with their creations at the end of the workshop.

Natacha, originally from Russia, is a theatre costumier, sculptor, and marionnetteist based in Brussels, though she offers her creation workshops all over the globe.  I joined 16 other artists from all over the world in Brussels where we gathered daily at the Theatre Galafronie in the St. Josse district of Brussels – both the most densely populated and the poorest neighbourhood in all of Europe. It was a wonderful experience! We began by improvising with some of Natacha’s puppets, and then had to create drawings of our designs before beginning to sculpt the heads with clay and then with two layers of thermoplastic. I have neither drawing nor sculpting skills to speak of – so every day was a challenge for me, and yet, with Natacha’s guidance, I succeeded in creating a puppet that I love, and who will be the lead character in our new play.

In mid October, I brought my Lady puppet to Mermaid, and Jim Morrow and Struan Robertson helped me change the body design, to give me more freedom to play, allow me to change hands, and to open up possibilities for performance, such as having another puppeteer manipulate her with me. I’m so grateful to have such resources here in my own corner of the world, and hope to spend more time in the loft at Mermaid as we further develop our show.

ALSO In development in NL

Sara Tilley traveled to Slovenia last year to spend six weeks mentoring with Puppetry artist Darka Elderji. Through this experience, Sara is developing a solo show – Hungry Little Shadow – a tabletop puppet show about homelessness and hunger, based on a Slovenian folk tale, for all ages.

Caitlin Bolduc-Whelan is working on an adult hand-and-rod muppet-style show called, Nan’s Kitchen, where artists drop in to play and give interviews.

Jake Mupp, a very young man, is currently filming his muppet-style puppet hosted talk show for all ages, which premiers on local Rogers TV St. John’s in January.

Ruth Lawrence’s company, White Rooster, has a puppetry show in development.  Clever Girls: Kate Crackerberry, features the work of Baptiste Neis, and will undergo a second development workshop in December and then be presented by RCA in March 2017.

Isle aux Mort’s Theatre Festival is currently developing A Fish Tale: A Puppet Lantern Play, in partnership with Qalipu First Nation to be presented during the summer of 2017.

Update from New Brunswick

Anika Lirette, Theatre Alacenne

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-16-13-amMerci Radarts – Theatre Alacenne était en tournée  au  mois de novembre avec leur spectacle Ally et la forêt – un spectacle pour la petite enfance de la maternelle à la deuxième année. Elles étaient  trois jours à Dartmouth et deux semaines au Nouveau-Brunswick à trois représentations par jour dans les gymnases des écoles élémentaires. Le spectacle est bien reçu. La thématique est le recyclage et le respect de nos forêts! 

Thanks to Radarts – Theatre Alacenne was on tour most of November with their show Ally et la forêt (en Français)- a puppet play for kindergarten to 2nd grade.  They played three days in Dartmouth and two weeks in New Brunswick presenting three shows per day in the elementary schools. The show is well appreciated. The themes are recycling and the respect for our forests! 

Update from Nova Scotia

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia


Jim Morrow receives the Order of Nova Scotia on October 14, 2016 — photo by Michael Creagen, Government House, Halifax

The Mermaid family is delighted that our Artistic Director (and president of UNIMA Atlantic) was recently awarded The Order of Nova Scotia, our Province’s highest honour. Recipients are residents who have made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life or social or economic well-being of the Province and have excelled in any field of endeavour to the benefit of the people of the province or elsewhere.

The citation, shared at an elegant ceremony at Province House on October 14, 2016, was as follows:  “Jim Morrow’s adaptations of children’s stories, created at Mermaid’s headquarters in Windsor, are enjoyed by audiences around the world from Canada’s North to Bahrain, from Japan to Ireland and in every state and province in the United States and Canada.  Morrow and his shows serve as cultural ambassadors for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia culture, with a healthy dose of humour, generosity and humility.”

Maritime Marionettes

Touring Journal November 21 to 27.
By Heather Taylor

All right Puppeteers, here is some news from Maritime Marionettes- a view into the past week on the road. We try to book no more than 4 days straight of touring, this past week was clearly an exception, we worked 7 days straight, whew!

We performed Molly and the Oak Island Treasure at Digby Elementary and Somerset and District Schools. At both schools we also did workshops with every class at the school. The younger classes have 30 minutes and the older 60 minutes. We spent 3 days at Digby and two days at Somerset.

The students from Primary to Grade Six use shadow puppets and marionettes in our workshop.  We have been doing this through PERFORM NS (a cost sharing program for the schools with Theatre Nova Scotia). The workshops have been growing and changing over these past three years. We have taken marionettes from shows we have retired and strung them lower so the kids can hold them. It is amazing to watch the children work the puppets, they are so excited to try them. We keep up with the tangles and repairs and for the most part they are very respectful of the puppets.

We do lots of fun things in the shadow puppetry part of the workshop: making sound effects for puppets with percussion instruments, and learning to move puppets realistically in different environments. The photos show it best.

We came home to Truro, at the end of the week to rehearse our 15 minute Nativity Show, and load it in the van with The Bremen Town Musicians. Saturday night we headed back to the Valley for shows on Sunday in Berwick. It was a full day, setting up two different stages: one at the Berwick Baptist church and the other at the Berwick Fire Hall. Both shows were sponsored by Meadowbrook Meat Market. The performing was very rewarding, we always love the public shows, and noted that there were more adults than kids at both performances.

*Touring Tip– One thing we want to share with all you puppeteers is something Darryll discovered after 30 years of touring. When unloading the van for the show, instead of climbing inside to pull each box or container from front to the back, we now use a long metal pole with a hook. (The pole we use is actually the metal pole used for rolling and unrolling the awning on the side of a trailer or motorhome.) It has been a lifesaver and we have had many a laugh over why we did it the hard way all these years! (Maybe some of you have already been doing this and it isn’t news, I hope it can help someone though.)

Sadly, our Nova Scotia school shows, may just be on hold until there is an agreement negotiated for the teachers. Let’s send them all our best wishes for a good outcome.

Upcoming dates:

The Nativity
December 2 (6pm – 8:30)
December 3 (6:30- 8:30)
December 4 (1pm – 3:15 pm) 

Alderney Landing, Dartmouth NS, Christkindlemarket
Free shows held on the hour and half hour.

The Bremen Town Musicians
Sunday, December 11, 2pm
Harbourfront Theatre, Summerside PE,

The Nativity
Sunday, December 18, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm
Christian Fellowship Church, New Glasgow
239 Abercrombie Road – Free will offering.

Note: The following call for submissions to the journal Puppetry International was recently sent along from Dawn Brandes, the Peer Review Editor for the journal.  Guidelines and details are included below if you’re interested.

PUPPETRY INTERNATIONAL reaches more than 5,000 puppet theatre performers, sponsors, producers, and enthusiasts. It’s distributed to UNIMA-USA members and is available at specialty newsstands (distributed by Ubiquity Distributors Inc. and Small Changes, Inc.), puppetry centers and festivals throughout the country. It’s distributed to arts councils and UNIMA Centers worldwide!

Call for Papers: Puppetry International #41: Africa and Puppetry

PUPPETRY INTERNATIONAL seeks brief articles (max. 2000 words) for its “Puppetry and Africa” issue. We intend a broad interpretation of the topic and a style that will appeal to general readers with a strong interest in theatre, art, and African culture.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • An analytical profile of a specific director, puppeteer, company, production, or theatre tradition
  • Cultural intersections and explorations of African puppeteers in emigration or who are working abroad
  • Political and social forces that are changing traditional African puppetry
  • Puppetry’s relationship with other African performance genres

Personal essays and interviews are also welcomed.  If interested please send a proposal or query email to

Deadline for editor-reviewed submissions: January 31, 2017

Submissions for Peer Review

We strive to publish at least one double-blind peer-reviewed article per issue. These do not necessarily need to be on the theme of the issue.

The peer-reviewed section of Puppetry International aims to explore how the puppet functions dramaturgically, to investigate larger philosophical questions generated in response to puppets and performing objects, and to trace the integral place of puppetry in world performance culture. We especially seek work by scholars who are pioneering new discoveries based on archival, field, or practice-based research and/or who aim to generate fresh theoretical perspectives on how humans interact with objects in performance.

Submissions for peer review should follow the same length (2,000 words, including notes and bibliography) and style restrictions (MLA) as all other articles, but should demonstrate scholarly rigor and original research while remaining accessible to a broad readership. Longer versions of these articles can be published on our website.

Peer-review submissions should be emailed to peer-review editor Dawn Tracy Brandes ( and to general editor Andrew Periale (

Deadline for peer-reviewed submissions: December 15, 2016

Book and Performance Reviews

We also seek BOOK reviews (500 words max.) and PERFORMANCE reviews (1, 000 words max.)  Send performance reviews to editor Andrew Periale:; send

book reviews to John Bell Word documents preferred.

Deadline for book and performance review submissions: January 31, 2017

For All Submissions – NOTA BENE!

  • Subject line on email: PI 41, author’s last name, key word(s) from title.
  • NO FORMATTING (no columns, embedded images, exotic fonts, different sizes of text, etc.), please.
  • Please note: While we generally publish new, original writing, we occasionally accept translations of previously published articles if they have not yet appeared in English.
  • For complete submission and formatting guidelines, please see:

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!

It’s easy to join UNIMA Atlantic:
Get the details & registration form at

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ACPA/AMCA Journal – Summer 2016

Le Théâtre Alacenne
Opens at Grand-Pré
by Anika Lirette

The Moncton-based company, Le Théâtre Alacenne, has announced the launch of a bilingual puppet production entitled LA TERRE – THE LAND and wishes to acknowledge the collaboration of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

La Société promotion Grand-Pré, through support of Parks Canada and Canadian Heritage, will host the twenty-minute production in an intimate theatre situated in the Visitor Centre of the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. The play will be presented every Tuesday to Saturday from 2 July to 25 August 2016 at 10:30, 12:30. and 1:30 PM.

The play follows the story of Rita, a muskrat, and Charles, the seagull, a long-time married couple who cross the ocean to seek adventure in new lands. Anika Lirette wrote the script, and co-directed the piece with Jim Morrow. Music was created by Jean-François Mallet. The talented university students who have learned the art of puppetry include Franziska Glen, Ryan Myers and Ana Martin, along with stage manager Jamile Smith.



Ana Martin, Ryan Myers and Franziska Glen in a scene from La Terre / The Land (photo: Anika Lirette)


Le Théâtre Alacenne signe la direction artistique du spectacle de marionnettes bilingue LA TERRE – THE LAND et souhaite remercier la collaboration du Mermaid Theatre de la Nouvelle – Écosse au projet.

La Société promotion Grand-Pré, grâce à un soutien de Parc Canada et Patrimoine Canada, présentent la pièce d’une durée de 20 minutes à l’intérieur du petit théâtre dans le centre d’accueil au Site historique de Grand-Pré. La pièce sera présentée tous les mardis au samedis du 2 juillet au 25 août 2016 à 10h30. 12h30. 13h30.

C’est l’histoire de Rita, la rate musquée, et de Charles, le goéland, un couple marié depuis plusieurs lunes qui ont traversé l’océan afin de s’adapter à de nouvelles terres. Anika Lirette signe le texte et a collaboré sur la mise en scène avec Jim Morrow. Jean-François Mallet signe la musique. La pièce sera présentée par 3 étudiantes d’été en plus d’un régisseur (Franziska Glen, Ryan Myers, Ana Martin, et Jamile Smith). L’objectif de la pièce bilingue était d’unir les jeunes francophones et anglophones dans la même salle pour vivre une expérience commune. La marionnette permet moins de mots, plus d’images, moins de barrières.

A First-hand Report
From the UNIMA 22nd World Congress
Festival & Symposium

by Jim Morrow

From May 27 to June 4, 2016 I travelled to San Sebastian, Spain, to attend the UNIMA XXII Congress and Festival, and to represent UNIMA Atlantic as its President and UNIMA Canada as a voting Councilor. I previously attended the Festival in 1988 in Japan, and 1980 in Washington, DC, as performer for Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

During my first two days in San Sebastian, I participated in a symposium at the historic Palacio Miramar on the history of Spanish puppetry and in particular the ‘maquina real’ or ‘royal machine’. This event was supplementary to the Festival and Congress and attended by fewer than fifty people but I found the experience very informative as it gave those present a rare opportunity to explore the richness of Spanish puppetry.

Pedaleando Hacia el Cielo - Tol Theatre, Belgium

Pedaleando Hacia el Cielo (“Pedaling Skyward”) – Tol Theatre, Belgium

We learned that the most unique feature of this history was the creation of “royal machine,” an almost unknown phenomenon until recently, but an invention of great social and historical significance in the territories of the Iberian Peninsula (including Portugal), Latin America (Mexico, Peru, Argentina) as well as the territories that were part of the Spanish monarchy, such as Belgium and Italy. The “royal machine” is considered a marvel of the first importance in the history of European puppetry, and the International Symposium provided a stimulating forum for researchers, specialists and scholars from a number of countries to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the topic.

Festival Club program

Festival Club program

Following the Symposium, three hundred international delegates gathered during the day in the neighboring town of Tolosa to participate in the Congress, and returned to San Sebastian in the evenings to attend a number of world-class puppetry performances in the city’s many excellent theatres. We also spent the late evening hours together in a reception space to view smaller shows from around Spain and, in particular, those from the Basque region. In this way, delegates were afforded the time to meet one another in an intimate setting and the opportunity to discuss matters related to puppetry and puppet/objet theatre.

Festival Club program

Festival Club program

The four days at the Congress were long and sometimes intense. The meetings were simultaneously translated into the three official languages of UNIMA, English, French, and Spanish. There were between forty to sixty countries represented and Canada had a delegation of five – four from Quebec and me. Of the five, three of us (including me) were voting members and were expected to consider a number of issues including the election of new Councilors, the President, the Treasurer and the new Secretary General, as well as agenda items pertinent to the future of the organization. One of these was the ongoing work of the many Commissions set up to deal with matters relating to puppetry and its positive affect on communities and cultures. Just prior to our arrival, two local Basque puppeteers had been imprisoned for their political views, leading to animated discussion centering on the importance of human rights and freedom of speech.

Each night, at the conclusion of the Congress sessions, we drove a half hour on three busses back to San Sebastian to catch the performances. They included: Red Earth Revisited from South Africa; Animare from Japan; Oscar, El Nino Dormido from Spain; Les Funambules from Sweden; Spartacus from France; I Sisyphus from Bulgaria; Peregrinacao from Brazil; and the outdoor spectacle, Pedaleando Hacia El Cielo from Belgium. My favourite by far was the quirky, dark, and superbly designed and performed, Spartacus.

My trip to Spain provided an excellent opportunity for me to immerse myself in the exotic Basque culture, to meet new colleagues, to become inspired by the wonderful performances, and to promote Mermaid Theatre, UNIMA Atlantic, UNIMA Canada, and Nova Scotia. I’m confident that the experience will pay significant dividends as we move forward to promote the art form here in Atlantic Canada, and extend my personal as well as Mermaid Theatre’s appreciation to the Artistic Innovation Program for the support, which facilitated my participation.

–Jim Morrow
Artistic Director (Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia)

News From Newfoundland & Labrador…

An update from Shadowy Souls Inc.
With investment from NLArts, Tara Manuel and her partner Michael Rigler are currently developing a new puppetry play for young audiences, tentatively entitled Strangeblood. Tara will be traveling to Brussels in August to undertake a two week puppet creation and performance technique workshop with Natacha Belova. The workshop will host 15 students from around the world and will facilitate the creation of life sized held puppets with a body that is one with its manipulator.

Here’s a video of Natacha Belova’s incredible workshop:


Tara Manuel, Shadowy Souls Inc.  / Twitter: @MrsShadowysouls


Newfoundland Puppet Collective

We welcome the Newfoundland Puppet Collective to UNIMA Atlantic.  The Collective is a group of visual artists, performers, storytellers, educators, and anyone interested in puppets devoted to the practice of puppetry arts within the unique and distinct cultural environment of Newfoundland.

Here’s an overview of current activities – please visit their informative website:

Newfoundland Puppet Collective

Members of the Newfoundland Puppet Collective, including Baptiste Neis (right), are facilitating workshops in puppetry, with the goal of presenting a show at the LSPU Hall at the end of July.

The Newfoundland Puppet Collective invites community members to come create a show. No prior experience necessary.

From July 18-July 29 in the afternoons Newfoundland Puppet Collective will facilitate sessions in the design and creation of large-scale, illuminated puppets. In the evenings exploratory exercises in puppet articulation, mask and story devising, are being offered. Workshop facilitators include Dave Lane of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, our own Andy Jones, Baptiste Neis, Mary Fearon, Ruth Lawrence, Kathleen Parewick, Sara Tilley, and Pia Banzhaf.

Through this workshop process participants will be further developing Jack and the World’s End Water a hilarious adaption by Andy Jones and Mary Fearon that premiered at the Lantern Festival in 2015. The exploratory work developed will have an indoor showing at the LSPU Hall on Friday, July 29 and then an outdoor showing, the following evening, July 30 as part of yearly festivities at Victoria Park. Stipends will be provided for core participants.

Location: LSPU Hall at 3 Victoria St. in St. John’s
Dates: July 18 — July 29

Open House and Performances: July 29 (LSPU Hall) & July 30 (Victoria Park)
For more information about varying levels of participation and specific sessions interested community members can visit: — For more information or to request an interview please contact: Baptiste Neis (709) 682-4106 or

Generously Supported by The Canada Council For the Arts and Arts NL and City of St. John’s.


Added Bonus – Jack Camp
Resource Centre for the Arts and The Newfoundland Puppet Collective have decided to take advantage of this opportunity and offer a camp for kids 8-14 interested in puppetry. Kids will work and play on the big stage at LSPU Hall — each day will be filled with creative expression including improv, acting, and puppet/mask construction, led by our team of professional actors and artists.

July 18-21, 9am-1pm daily.  For More information contact Laura Huckle at: (709) 753-4531

Have a great summer, everyone.  UNIMA Atlantic members are reminded that they can send us updates any time about your puppetry-related activities to be included in a future JOURNAL.  Cheers!

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