Session 11: Looking back and looking forward: Planting story seeds and making puppets


I started by letting them know that this was my second last week and so we would look back at what they had made already, to help us decide what we would do this week, to prepare for our final week of playing and performing with everything. We had everyone’s set and giant masks ready and lined up on a table and audience chairs set up facing the screen.

Unfortunately, as we had picked the plants etc for the set pieces fresh (Session 9), they had given off a lot of moisture in the contact, now blurring the shadow they created, so we could not use them. But we did put in the roll of tape’s shadow as a moon, to see if it might give us ideas for a story. I also shared the idea of another boy, who comes on his own after the session, that there might be a friendly ghost living in the piano, to see if it might fit in their story too.

Then we focussed on meeting each person’s giant character in turn and wondered about them: Who they might be? Do they have a name? What are they good at? Where do they live? Do they have friends? Enemies? I also referred back to the body shadows again and some boys played with this idea again when wearing the masks.

IMGA0855IMGA0857 IMGA0859 IMGA0863 IMGA0868 IMGA0879 IMGA0889IMGA0894

I took notes of ideas on A2 sheets and we made some interconnections between characters, while also seeing if there was something each could make for the “giant” – a prop? a puppet? Wondering do they have a small magical companion to help them – like a witch might have a cat, or a pirate might have a parrot or…..? One boy decided his character would have a dog, another said his character had a little brother, etc.

IMGA0875IMGA0887BallyO Luke with laughing headIMGA0917BallyO Jake with puppet

Once everyone had had a go with their masks, I showed a puppet I had made and the making process, demonstrating from the side of the screen as in Session 6, introducing them to the materials laid out on the table as before. Then we let them at it, with SNAs helping out as usual. They did lovely work, and afterwards we had some time to play with them.

Afterwards the boy who comes on his own at the end, walked in wearing a giant mask he had made in between sessions from the materials we had given him, and he examined everyone’s puppets, and did some improvised performance with them, and again took away materials to make his own and will hopefully watch next week’s session.


Next week we will see can we “grow” the stories a little further and let all the elements interact in our final session. One of the Problems we have is that the boys’ own shadows can get in the way of the puppets so I may play with making a television frame as a prop to encourage the puppets to perform separately, although we will also play with the idea of the puppet character interacting with the “giant” mask character.

Materials and Resources

Over head projector

Sheet screen

Stands and poles and bamboo to heighten screen (these children are taller)

Lap top (for music and shadow images if necc)

Demo puppets

A2 pages for brainstorm, black marker

Cutting mats, knives for adults

Split pins

Scrap card: large pieces and strip pieces prepped

Coloured cels, other shadow casting materials, bubble wrap, wools etc

Green rods and skewers


Camera, tripod etc


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