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Puppets in India
Puppets have been a versatile means of artistic expression, communication and instruction for 2,000 years. Working the edge between entertainment and education, puppets can both teach and persuade. Their creative potential is just waiting to be used to help communities grow and change.

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  World of Puppets & Puppet Shows

Puppets are moving

Puppets strike a deal with their creators. You move them, and they move you. Whatever their materials, whatever their size, however cheaply they have been put together, all puppets come to life as characters. The puppet maker provides a face, eyes, perhaps some hair and a mouth. The puppeteer provides movement and give the puppet a voice. We see the puppet move, we hear it speak and we are caught up in its world. Instead of wood, papier mache or plastic, we see a character, a hero to cheer or a villain to boo, a tragic figure who can move us to tears or a comic figure who will make us laugh out loud.

Puppets entertain and educate

Puppets can work the edge between entertainment and information. They line up alongside drama, storytelling, drumming and dance as art forms that can also teach and persuade. The entertainment comes first. It draws us in, and once we have lost ourselves in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even realizing that we are learning. Lessons learned in this way are more likely to be remembered and to become part of our solid stock of knowledge.

SUMMER PUPPET LAB EXPERIMENTS

This summer Katkatha brings for children an exciting peek into the Puppet Lab!!
Where they can learn to invent their own characters and stories , experiment with material, create their own puppets and present their own shows.
They can watch puppet shows!!
They can have puppet demos !!

But that’s not all. We have something for teachers too.

WHO ARE WE
 
A registered puppet company (puppet art trust) which has been performing with puppets and conducting workshops for the last 10 years in India and abroad.

Puppets are safe

Because they are characters, not people, puppets are the ideal medium for discussing sensitive issues. Puppets create a world in which we recognize ourselves and identify with the characters as the drama unfolds. At the same time, a puppet show seems to hold a piece of "safety glass" between the action and the audience-although we are drawn into the drama, we are not threatened by it. It is an extraordinary phenomenon that an audience will accept from a puppet what would cause offence or embarrassment if it came from a live actor. That is why puppets are now widely used in teaching about AIDS and other sensitive matters.

Puppets can portray "bad" characters in a community without pointing the finger at a real individual. They can be used to draw out disagreements within a community or a family without fanning the flames of conflict in the audience. They can be used to talk to black and white children about race and conflict. They can be used to promote the rights of girls to adults who will not listen to a lecture. They can perform to a mixed audience in areas where men and women must sit apart to watch live actors.

A puppet may look terrifying, but its sense of menace is contained. Partly, this is because most puppets are small (even large puppets are often no more than child-sized). But it is not just a question of size. Puppets function more completely within their own "theatre" than human actors do. We are often aware of actors as people who put on a part for a performance and put it aside when they leave the stage. Puppets have no existence independent of their characters. They come without the baggage that accompanies a human actor, and they can get away with things that humans cannot.

Puppets are for children

Children relate to puppets from their earliest years because they are used to making inanimate characters come to life. Children are puppeteers themselves from the first time they pick up a shoe, a squeezed-out half orange or a hairbrush and make it move and talk. Toys and dolls take an active role in children's play. They laugh and talk and argue.They try on personalities and take them off again. The child makes her doll move-she is the puppeteer. She scolds her doll in the stern but loving voice of a mother-she is an actor. She makes her doll stamp its foot and then laughs at the effect-she is the audience. After this early experience a child recognizes puppets as legitimate and natural.

The puppet can be whatever the puppeteer and the child make it. It can be the child's friend without demanding something in return. It can be a clown. It can be naughty and get into trouble without hurting anyone. It can say what the child thinks, feel what the child feels and share a child's sadness. It can show a child who knows poverty, hunger, war and loss that there can also be joy and love and a happy ending. A puppet can tell a child who rarely hears it that he is loved. A puppet can show a child that her father or mother can also be sad, and it can demonstrate the value of love, the futility of quarrel and the benefit of cooperation and support.

WHAT ARE WE OFEREING THIS SUMMER and through the year!!

THE SHADOW LAB

    • Shadow puppetry workshops for classes 5 and above ending in short performances
    • Duration- 3 days , 2 hours daily
    • No of children- maximum 20
    • Materials required- Cardboard, cutters, needle and thread and cellophane paper
    • We get everything else
FUN WITH GLOVE PUPPETS
    • Glove puppetry workshops for classes 2 and above ending in short performances
    • Duration- 5 days , 2 hours daily
    • No of children- maximum 20
    • Materials required- Office glue, plastic bowls, toilet paper, fabric and wool
    • We get everything else!                   
 
 
THE MASK CARNIVAL
                 
       
    • MASKS  and puppets for 3 years and above ending in Exhibition
    • Duration- 3 days, 1 hour daily
    • No of Children- 20 per session*
    • Materials required- Corrugated cardboard roll, paint, brushes, staplers
    • We will bring everything else!


PUPPET SHOWS AND DEMOS FOR CHILDREN
                 

45 MINUTES OF PUPPET FUN!! A storytelling session with puppets for children using small and big glove, rod and string puppets introducing children to different techniques and aspects of the magical world of puppets!

                 Requirements- A table!!
                 No of children- up to 150

Puppets are versatile

Puppets share with actors the ability to perform in any setting and on any budget. (Puppets eat less than actors, but they do need humans for support and a voice.) Puppets are equally at home in cities and villages. They can perform in the street or in local theatres and convey messages on immunization, sanitation or nutrition with humour and style.

Puppets can tour. With a van, a portable stage, some battery-powered amplifiers and a few humans along for the ride, they can travel even to those areas unreached by the mass media. In rugged rural places, puppets can journey strapped to the back of a donkey. This flexibility makes puppets ideal for working in the least developed countries, where innovative ways of reaching communities are desperately needed. Not only can they reach the communities, but they can also dress in the local style, adopt the local customs and be accepted as friends and neighbours rather than being viewed as outsiders.

Puppets are also natural television stars. Sesame Street, produced by the Children's Television Workshop in the United States since 1968, established puppet figures as some of the all-time greats of the small screen. The Muppet characters devised by Jim Henson continue to this day to be international stars, combining their role of making people laugh with teaching letters and numbers to children as well as adults. The Muppets have been copied around the world, their eyes and large mobile mouths making them instantly recognizable.

The versatility of puppets seems almost limitless. What other art form can boast of a version created specially for floods? Vietnamese water-puppets - devised to entertain people in the flooded Red River delta - are a testimony to the fact that popular culture will find a way of expressing itself no matter how difficult the circumstances. Puppets carved from local trees are attached to long bamboo poles. The puppeteers stand in the water, hidden by foliage, and work the puppets through strings that run inside the poles. Today the water puppets tell tales from ancient and modern times, delight local people and tourists, and provide jobs - while keeping alive a national treasure.

Puppets are for adults

Despite the special relationship between puppets and children, puppets also speak to adults. The roots of puppetry are deeply connected with mystery, symbolism and religion. The earliest adventure stories were instructional, advising people on the right way to live. Traditional puppet stories from India, Indonesia, Japan and Eastern Europe have been devised for and watched by adults. In Africa, masks and puppet figures have been used in initiation or funeral rites, and they play a complex role in community culture, ensuring good crops or a successful transition to adulthood. A long tradition recognizes puppet figures as serious, adult characters.

PUPPET LAB FOR TEACHERS!
 
We also offer teacher training programs on using puppets in the classroom

  1. Puppets for storytelling and introducing new concepts in the class for nursery and Prep – This workshops  focuses on developing content for the classroom using puppets like teaching alphabets, poems, cleanliness or good manners.
  1.  Puppets for interactive activities and creating stories to teach specific concepts in science and social studies. These could be as varied as the water cycle to plant life to the history of Ancient India.

Number of Teachers- Maximum 15 in a session
Duration- 3 Hours a day for 5 days
Fees: Will depend upon the type of medium & relevance to class curriculum

Puppetry helps develop skills and teamwork

Creating a puppet show requires a wide rage of people and skills. Opportunities abound for individuals to make and manipulate puppets, write scripts and stage shows. Puppets create teamwork even as they entertain and inform the audience. This gives a golden opportunity for forming alliances between creative artists and those involved in development work. Puppetry can provide an entry point for contact with talented entertainers, who then learn how their art can spread information.

Just as the puppet show can help the audience understand things in a different way, so can a workshop on making puppets and performing become a focal point for young epople who want to bring positive change to their communities.

Puppets promote child rights

Puppets are already campaigning for the right of girls to go to school and for boys and girls not to be sent to war. They campaign for strategies to improve sanitation and health and to reduce illness and child deaths. They encourage parents to play with their children and lawmakers to respect child rights.

Puppets are effective

When officials of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the United States wanted to create a new television programme to tackle difficult issues for children and their caregivers, research convinced them that the show should use puppet characters. They came up with The Puzzle Place, whose stories celebrate diversity and advocate tolerance and understanding. The success of The Puzzle Place, which was launched in 1995 and has since completed two seasons, has confirmed that puppets are winners in television entertainment, particularly when a producer is looking for something that teaches as it entertains.

Puppet research in India confirms that puppet shows are also among the most effective means of communicating health messages. Perhaps the most persuasive argument is that puppets are becoming more successful in country after country as puppeteers discover new messages and new audiences. Those who join hands with puppets today are signing up with a successful and fast-growing worldwide movement.

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