Session 1: Hello Day, Ballyowen Meadows, Niamh Lawlor

Some of the shadow puppets that visited the class

Some of the shadow puppets that visited the class

Session 1: Hello Day

My objective for these sessions were:

Introductions all round and to some of the possibilities of the medium of puppetry.

A chance to discover who might respond best to the idea of working with puppets and myself as a puppeteer / artist.

A chance to share some stories and see their response/attitude to them.

Environment / Set up

Create a friendly relaxed atmosphere.

Clear wall for projection covered with large sheets of paper / wallpaper roll

Table for projector opposite this

Table for shadow puppet folder beside this

Table which we can all sit around.

Process

I had the Puppets out of sight in a suitcase so I could meet them myself first and introduce the idea of puppets before one appeared.

I brought the puppets in one by one – creating a little ritual with them for introducing and putting them away puppets, we knocked on the table to call the puppet out, and said goodbye or waved each one away.

I used the puppets to introduce their various stories, attempting to get an understanding of the children’s knowledge of and response to stories, and to see have they any that are of particular importance to them. One class knew the story of the Town Mouse and The Country Mouse which one of the puppets represented, and we told it using the puppet which they seemed to enjoy. Another child volunteered her favourite story: A Mermaid Kingdom, and we talked about that, etc

I encouraged the children to ask questions of the puppets and with some groups we discussed how they were made.

I showed the shadow puppets last moving over to the projector. With the last group we had time for a couple of the children to play with their own shadows and to interact with the puppet’s shadows which they really enjoyed. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to try their tracing their shadow outlines onto the paper we had hung on the walls, but we might get to that another week. Each session was just 25 minutes long, which groups coming in on the heels of each other, so it was very intensive. I saw four groups this way and introduced one of the puppets to a fifth group who I will see the next week when I return to do the remaining classes. Through this introductory phase we aim to find a focus group (or two) of children who respond particularly well to the puppets and to begin to explore shadow making and shadow puppetry with them.

I brought:

Overhead projector and extension cable

Mary Mary / Mamó na Scéalta, Old woman table-top puppet approx 3 foot tall (pictured below)

A glove puppet made from foam

The City Mouse glove puppet made from sponge covered with suede

A rod puppet made from polyballs, maybe this puppet doesn’t know who it is and asks the children to guess/help it?

Giant head piece shadow puppet from Jack and the Beanstalk which uses the operators body to create a giant shadow

Roisín shadow puppet – a girl who made friends with a seal

Rónán seal puppet

Underwater and beach scenery

Image

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