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New for 2021: Theatre: Applied Puppetry

We are delighted to annouce the upcoming release of a new programme for our 2021 International Summer School which we hope will be of interest to people in many different fields and walks of life! This is coming to you directly from our Drama department at the University of Exeter, ranked in the top 5 in the UK. 

Puppets are traditional forms of entertainment and teaching across the world. Puppets were first used as intermediaries between different worlds, to communicate with gods and ancestors and to transport the dead from the world of the living to the world after death. In many parts of the world puppets are held in very high status and perform stories which may last several hours or even days.

In the contemporary world, puppets are increasingly used in social and community contexts: in education, healthcare, performer training and for community celebration. This module looks at ways in which puppetry and performing objects can be used in applied theatre contexts: for storytelling, teaching and communication in educational contexts: for example, to communicate with children who are shy or have confidence difficulties; as accompaniment for people in hospital, or with the elderly with dementia, or for healthcare education; and for festivals, community development and advocacy. Students will learn how to make and operate simple puppets; and will devise a project for a social setting, using a puppet or puppetry for specific purposes.

The module will include an introduction to puppetry performance training and a presentation of different kinds of puppetry traditions, forms and contexts. The first half of the week will be an introduction to performing and making skills, using different kinds of puppets. The second part of the week will be exploring applied puppetry and building towards a presentation of different applied puppetry projects to be used in education, health and community settings. We will culminate with a procession of a giant puppet representing the group.

This performance study module will be playful, fun and experimental. The group will work collaboratively and will develop skills in puppetry, storytelling, performance and in understanding the role that theatre can have in social contexts. 

While we are still putting the finishing touches on this programme, it is not yet available for application but please send us an email at iss@exeter.ac.uk if you wish to be notified of the module application window being opened. We anticipate this to be around the end of January 2021.