File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 251

Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 19:32:49 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Puppetry & Very Special Arts programs

There was a VERY Special Arts program at California State University in Northdridge---on the poster for that event were Donald Cordry marionttes from my collection. A special feature included a performance of Bob Baker Marionettes for the attendees.

I did a short workshop on simple shadow puppets---most of the kids in that 1 hour session were able to cut out at least one puppet. For the few who did not have scissor dexterity, we let them observe the process as we cut out their puppet---even that was able to hold the kid's attention. Many people find the process of making something to be as interesting as the final result.

As a college student, once a month we visited Casa Colina in Pomiona CA--a children's hospital. Having puppets visit the kids proved beneficial. Some of that was one on one. For a kid stuck in bed for weeks or longer, it can get boring.

Roberta Mack used to make puppets for hospital kids. Some required particular moves to animate---this was exercise of certain fingers or muscles disguised as "play" (Like gardening is for me).

Susan Bass used puppets effectively in hospitals to explain something about surgery young patients were about to undergo---taking away some of the mystery and fear.

Puppets can be very effective as occupational therapy. In my lifetime, there have been waves of interest, followed by budget cuts. When I joined Puoppeteers of America, many members were using puppetry in occupational therapy work and many school teachers used puppetry as an effective teaching/motivator tool. Both uses of puppetry WORKED, but often fell into disuse because of management's ignorance or those budget cuts.

I was lucky to get into my grade school puppet club before the WPA program was shut down by the same sort of GOP legislators that brought us the past 8 disastrous years in Washington DC. If they can figure out how to call something"Socialist" (like Government support for the arts) then they have another budget cut. And the kids don't get as much education. It is easier to get elected by dumb voters.


-----Original Message-----
From: Pam Corcoran
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 11:02 AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Question

Hi Mary,

For years I have worked with VSA arts Wisconsin (formerly called Very Special Arts). I continue to conduct artist in residence programs for people of all ages, with and without disabilities of all sorts. One of my top residency experiences was working with a group of high school students, half with significant disabilities. We did a puppet performance of Carnival of the Animals with a live symphony orchestra. Nearly 100 puppets, 50 kids. Everyone had a part in making it a success. 

Now I feel our job is to convince organizations like VSA that puppetry is for EVERYONE, no matter what age.  In fact, all sources of grant money need to learn this, as well. What can we do?


> Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2008 19:14:29 -0500
> From:
> To:
> Subject: [Puptcrit] Question
> As a special education teacher, I have a real concern about the lives of
> adults with significant disabilities. Does anyone know of any program out
> there that teaches puppetry to these adults? I think I would really like to
> do this one day as it would tie both my loves together.
> Mary H. 
> _______________________________________________
> List address:
> Admin interface:
> Archives:

Get 5 GB of storage with Windows Live Hotmail.
List address:
Admin interface:

List address:
Admin interface:


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005