This summer we’ve provided puppet-making workshops for young people in Weymouth and Dorchester. As part of Dorset Council’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, we teamed up with artist Holly Miller and local HAF programme providers Houseworks Dorset CIC and Dorset Council’s ‘Summer in Dorset’ to encourage young people to get creative.
Workshops took place at Littlemoor Top Club Youth and Community Services, Waverley Community Centre Art Camp, Holy Trinity School in Weymouth and Borough Gardens in Dorchester (as part of Love Parks Day). Working with families and children in these areas, many of whom receive free school meals, was fantastic. They were all really enthusiastic about making puppets, getting messy and creative with the materials provided, all with the support and guidance of artist and puppet maker Holly Miller.
During each 2 hour workshop participants created their own unique twirling puppet. They started by making the face from scrunched up newspaper and the skirt from folded coloured card. They then used their creativity to decorate the puppet adding crazy hair and colour and texture to the skirts, using glue guns and a range of fabrics and shiny materials.
The puppets created were inspired by the French Company Transe Express and their performance of Poupées géantes which will take place as part of this year’s Inside Out Dorset festival (produced by Activate) in Weymouth on 22 and 23 September. The performance will see three giant dolls in oversized crinoline dresses glide through the streets of Weymouth. Their dresses are adorned with patterns inspired by artists Matisse, Cézanne and Vasarely – our workshop participants also took their inspiration from these artists. The dolls’ operatic voices transform the street into an opera house and you’ll be enthralled by a mix of popular songs and opera arias. Their beautiful voices contrast with Les Tambours, the drumming toy soldiers who accompany them.
The headline sponsor for this event, We Are Weymouth, are helping create a trail in the lead up to the performance – puppets from the workshops will be displayed in shop windows throughout Weymouth town centre. Look out for them appearing in shop windows from 30 August!
Caroline Suri, Activate’s Theatre, Education and Outreach Producer said, “All the children and families that took part in the workshops did so with such enthusiasm and creativity. The finished twirling puppets are so colourful and full of texture they will look great in the shop windows in Weymouth.”