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Creative Collaboration at the 2014 Dolly Wiggler Cabaret  


If I could be for just one hour... 

At the end of May 2014, we asked if it was possible, with the power of creative collaboration to create a Puppet Show just in 8 hours? 


We'd like to report a big YES!


Five brave folks joined Wendy (Artistic Director, WP Puppet Theatre) for one evening and all day Saturday and developed a 10 minute piece that we 'world premiered' at the Calgary Animated Object Society's Dolly Wiggler Cabaret.


We decided to present an Object Theatre piece based a Scott Walker song - Jackie with the lyrics "If I could be...". In the setting of a Yard Sale, we animated disparate objects to music and text. A High 8 video camera lamented the shot it didn't get, a horse saddle with eyes, wished it could 'Hold a Hand'. A set of bloomers aped a striptease and some children's toys arranged themselves into a little alien. A hot air popper made some corny jokes. We even had the kitchen sink, which wore a cowboy hat and sung by moving it's plug chain. Perhaps it's hard to imagine.


It was really fun to see the audience reaction as we subtly transformed the objects with humanoid movements. The sink taps looked like eyes. The camera moved on the end of a neck. The stirrups became hands. We were of course aided by the human instinct to see faces in anything, apparently called Pareidolia


Why did we do this? As hosts of the biennial Puppet Power conference, which explores how puppetry is and can be used to address the social issues of our time, we believe creative collaboration is the future in developing leaders and tackling issues with greater creativity, cooperative and problem solving.  As with our conference activities, this experience honed skills and harnessed passion to make a change in the community, whatever the situation.


Watch for our next creative collaborative project! 

Wendy Passmore - Godfrey, Artistic Director 

Collaborator Talk:


Part of our above experience was a wonderful chat with three artists who work collaboratively. Peter Balkwill (Old Trout Puppet Workshop) Xstine Cook (AD of CAOS and past Evergreen Theatre) and Mookie Cornish (Cirque de Soleil). Thank you for your time and thoughts! 


Some key points they made:

  • Make sure you have a mechanism for coming to a decision or you'll never finish.
  • Use collaborator's strengths and make them the 'final voice' in the different areas of a productions i.e.: costume, music etc.
  • Start a project with a few perimeters - a theme, cause, exploration, medium, piece of text, music riff or a deadline!
  • Working hierarchically in order to learn from accomplished artists i.e.: a great director, is a worthwhile experience.
  • They all agreed that collaboration was a very rewarding although perhaps challenging experience.
PigFishPuppet tidbits! 

Includes how to make a shadow rabbit with your hands! 
And if you get really excited - shadows with your whole body. The talented Hungarian performers doing Chinese symbols. 


WP Puppet Theatre Society is looking for a French-speaking puppeteer for a unique, multi-faceted contract employment opportunity in 2014/15 season. Beyond being an acting 'gig' this contract requires a self motivated, independent person who can also work collaboratively.

Please see here for opportunity details. Submission deadline: August 31, 2014 

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WP Puppet Theatre is a registered Canadian Charity. BN#128831476 RR0001. The puppets and people truly appreciate your support. Donations can be made through Canada Helps