In the beginning it was a colourful and disembodied mish-mash of fabric, wire, newspaper, hula hoops, plastic bags, foam pipes, toy noodles, bamboo poles, feathers, bells, ribbons, fencing, bubble wrap, broom handles, ping pong balls . . . you name it … all jumbled together like a masssive ameoba.
But watch out, ’cause it’s now in one towering piece and rarin’ to go — and it’s coming your way!
Are you trembling? Fear not!
By Melodie McCullough
The ‘blob’ is a giant puppet created by participants with intellectual or physical disabilities in a six-week workshop in May and June at the Seeds of Change site at Emmanuel East United Church, organized by the Peterborough Council of Persons with Disabilities (PCPD).
And it’s now complete! It will make its debut at the Canada Day Festivities at Del Crary Park, Peterborough! See photos below.
The puppet will appear at city parades, festivals and other public events to draw attention to the abilities of people with disabilities and engage the public, said one of the creators, Teresa MacDonald.
“I think this is a way to break down barriers,” she said. “You need ways to make people stop and think and realise we have strengths. This is new and exciting and different and will make us visible in the community.”
Each member of the team (about 10 people) worked on their own puppet project with lots of trial and error, team work and problem solving. On the final workshop day the individual components were hinged into one huge spectacular result of their wild and wonderful imaginations.
“It will show each of our different aspects and when joined together it is something very dramatic,” said MacDonald.
The workshops are led by Shelley King of Puppeteria, who has extensive experience in puppetry. She described the creation as a “larval puppet” that needs to be flexible, light-weight, water-proof and able to be operated by one or more people who may be in a wheelchair, or visually and hearing-impaired, or a child or elderly person. It will be kept in storage when not in use, with the hope it will be around for a long time.
“We want it to attract attention and spark a dialogue and be accessible to everyone,” said King. “We want to create something that represents versatility, inclusion and diversity. It may not be recognisable, but that gives us the opportunity to tell people what it is.”
“There has been a lot of excitement and idea generation,” she continued “Everyone’s contribution is equally important. There were no rules in this workshop. They figured it all out themselves and there is a lot of pride in what they created.”
Watch for it at the Canada Day festivities July 1, and at Peterborough Pulse, July 15, on George Street and other community events.
The puppet workshop is one of CPD’s Active Together events which aim to increase participation rates and opportunities for persons with disabilities within sport and recreation, partnering with community service providers and focusing on inclusive participation. For more information about activities and how to register call 705-874-8661. or visit https://www.pcpd.ca/active-together/events/.
The Giant Puppet is rarin’ to go!
See also: Puppet Power! https://journeymagazineptbo.com/2016/04/03/376/