Students create puppetry magic for children

12th March 2015

Over forty Barking & Dagenham College students are busy making the final preparations for a spectacular puppetry production set to entertain hundreds of local pre-school and primary school children.

Premiere

The students are studying technical theatre, production and performing arts at the College’s School for the Performing Arts & Technical Theatre based at the Broadway.

They will premiere their show called Seasons this week (week commencing Monday 9 March 20125) to a packed audience of excited pupils.

Mother Nature

The annual event, commissioned by the Broadway, is given a different theme each year. This year the chosen theme is climate change.

The challenge was set to the College students to create the show featuring puppets they were to make themselves by recycling old objects they could find. The result is a show that will include shadow puppets, a ventriloquist dummy, glove puppets and even Punch and Judy!

George Petty, 18, from Basildon had the task of creating the show’s narrating puppet, Mother Nature, which was uniquely fashioned from an old 1970's vacuum cleaner.

He explains:

“Initially I found creating the puppet quite daunting because I generally prefer to work in lighting and sound, but my tutor suggested creating the puppet from a vacuum cleaner.

"While I thought this was crazy to begin with, now I’m really pleased with the results.”

High-Engery Performances

George should certainly feel proud of what the students have all achieved. The show will feature a giddy mix of high-energy performances including drama, song and of course puppetry and follows the story of Mother Nature’s search for objects that will help her fix the problems of climate change.

The Theatre has been totally transformed for the show. All the seating has been removed and on entering the theatre the children will be taken on a journey through different ‘rooms’, one for each of the seasons where they will be encouraged to take part by playing games, solving problems and singing songs before all meeting at the end for the big finale.

The staging is impressive and the children are sure to be delighted when they get the chance to meet, amongst others, a giant cow puppet set on a farm in spring, Punch & Judy in summer, a sleepy owl in autumn and a snowman shadow puppet in winter.

Mark Civil, Curriculum Manager for Performing Arts at Barking & Dagenham College added:

“We are all so impressed with the work the students have put in.

"Putting on productions such as this really helps to build our students confidence and skills.

"We’re delighted we’ve been able to put on such a production for the Broadway. We can’t wait to see the children’s faces when they arrive. They’re going to love it.”

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