Art of Puppetry workshop to give ‘breath and life’ to dolls

by | Jan 25, 2014 | A&E

Shoynear Morrison
A&E Reporter

Humber College offers a unique summer puppetry intensive course that involves more than just pulling strings.

The workshop is a special two-week training that runs June 2 to 14 at Lakeshore campus.

Siblings Ann and David Powell, founders of Puppetmongers Theatre, are two of the four faculty members that will be teaching the course.

“Puppetry is animating the inanimate for an audience to watch. Bringing life to the inanimate, making the inanimate seem like it has breath and life of its own and is thinking for themselves,” Ann said.

Puppetry invites the audience to watch, suspend their disbelief and join the journey with these inanimate objects, Ann said.

“This summer will be the second year that the summer program is offered. The expectation is for the program to be integrated into Humber’s regular school session as a post-grad course,” David said.

Ann said the puppetry course entails a lot of commitment from the students.

“You really commit to it and get really involved,” she said.

According to David, the course includes a general introduction to all sorts of puppetry ideas, different ways in which things can be manufactured, manipulated and used on stage.

He also said the duo would be developing designs with students, and helping them build and perform. “We usually work in teams on putting short scene shows together,” he said.

The course displays different approaches that one can take within puppetry.

“The workshop then encourages students to create their own way of expressing the art form of puppetry,” Ann said.

The course is not exclusive to art theatre students, but is open to everyone, the course website states.

“Puppetry is part of the fundamental trainings of getting outside of your own body and thinking about the other – it is part of a journey, taking the course develops awareness,” Ann said.

The puppetry intensive course will be held at the Lakeshore campus. The course website states the workshop offers early-bird tuition of $1,350, with a May 1 deadline.

After May 1, tuition fees will increase to $1,550 with a deadline of April 1. The tuition includes materials, field trips and additional workshops.

Humber’s next live-puppet show will be the Caucasian Chalk Circle directed by Maja Ardal, which opens on Feb. 14. The child character will be a puppet, but will transition throughout the play from a crawling baby and a walking tot.

About 13 first and second-year theatre production students engineered the puppet, said Fraser Schouten-Pace, a second-year student and the head of puppets. According to Schouten-Pace, the skeleton of the puppets took about two to three weeks to complete.

The play will provide those interested in the puppetry intensive course a glimpse into the world of puppetry.

For more information about the puppetry intensive course, visit the course website at