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Puppetry for Development. By Cariad Astles For ISTA London TaPS 3, January 2012. Where can they be seen?. Used all over the world Used primarily in situations where there is a specific ‘ development ’ issue, but also used for play and entertainment

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puppetry for development

Puppetry for Development

By Cariad Astles

For ISTA London TaPS 3, January 2012

where can they be seen
Where can they be seen?
  • Used all over the world
  • Used primarily in situations where there is a specific ‘development’ issue, but also used for play and entertainment
  • Mainly used in Africa where Theatre for Development is well known and practised
  • Used also where puppetry and mask theatre is common
why use puppets
Why use puppets?
  • Depersonalises characters involved – it’s the puppet speaking, not the individual
  • In some cases part of local cultural tradition
  • Many people are illiterate – puppets are visual
  • Involves community in making puppets, masks etc
  • Can be used to address sensitive issues such as HIV, voting rights, religious schools etc
examples of puppetry for development
Examples of puppetry for development
  • In 1999 Edinburgh Puppet Company was funded by Save the Children to run a project in three Latin American countries: Peru, Brazil and Cuba.
Nairobi, Community Health and Awareness Puppeteers (CHAPS) : 40 troupes around Kenya. Interactive shows about corruption, HIV/AIDS, gender issues.
  • Festivals of educational puppetry, conducted in public places like parks, feature 20-minute stories rooted in the reality of life. For example, one play depicts a rich man swindling poor villagers into paying for water they once collected free of charge; another involves a father trying to marry off his 14-year-old daughter.
  • ‘Salohy – Magic Puppets’ in Madagascar
  • Collaborating with Family Planning and AIDS prevention
  • Puppets used for health promotion
Puppets perform traditional Malagasy folk tales, combined with health promotion and family planning
  • Puppets able to talk about sexual subjects and demonstrate use of condoms without it being uncomfortable
  • Each sequence interrupted for discussion with the audience
  • Puppets well established
  • Most puppetry concerned with traditional festive and ritual procession and dance
  • Some groups using puppets and masks for development
troupe mongnon flame of liberty maoua kone
Troupe Mongnon (Flame of Liberty) – Maoua Kone
  • Makes shows about exploitation of children, abuse experienced by children in religious schools, child trafficking, skin-whitening
  • Has received death threats from marabouts
  • Traditionally, performance in Africa includes both education and entertainment and is for all sectors of the population, not just children
small world theatre
Small World Theatre
  • Has worked all over the world with local communities
  • Tanzanian project investigating women voting rights and presence in local government
  • Techniques drawn from participatory theatre and puppetry
  • Local participants saw it as a skills-share as giant stilted figures used in performance
  • Puppetry for development uses puppets to explore an issue of local concern to the community: race, voting, health etc
  • Performance should include interaction, discussion and attempts at decision-making
  • Training and advocacy to ensure continuity of development are part of the techniques
  • Local materials and techniques are used