Puppets! – The April Fairs
The Millstone interviewed the puppeteers.
Pirate Treasure, April 2, 2022
Puppeteer Sarah Argue, founder of Rock the Arts Puppets, describes her show as very energetic and interactive. Children in the audience help the puppets during the show, she says. The story is about Eli, a little boy who lives in Creatureville. It’s about a pirate ship led by Captain Kate, a fierce and strong woman who is accompanied by other puppets such as Corduroy Pete and underwater sea creatures. Eli overcomes his fears by using his imagination. Sarah says her show is aimed at audiences ages 4 to 99. She loves to make adults laugh with their children and allow families to come and take a break. During Covid, she did a virtual tour of Canada. The pandemic has put families under significant stress which she is trying to alleviate through puppetry and laughter.
Sarah told the Millstone that Noreen Young literally changed her life by getting her into puppetry. She was working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a cubicle in Ottawa when she saw a flyer by Noreen for Puppets Up!. She remembered her when she grew up with Noreen’s TV series “Under the Umbrella Tree”. She took a few vacations and attended a pre-festival puppet workshop with Noreen in Almonte. Sarah was blown away that one could make a living as a puppeteer. In September, she quit her job and started her business. Completely new to her debut, she has been performing for more than 10 years and has more than 100 puppets. She also gives motivational talks. Sarah’s puppet company performed at Puppets Up! thrice.
His contact details are:
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter: @rtapuppets
Punch and Judy: the silly version, April 9, 2022
Bob Stutt takes the iconic show from Punch and Judy and adapts it for a modern audience. It uses the traditional characters: Mr. Punch, his wife Judy, Toby the dog, the baby, and sets up segments involving them but the episodes are funny, not violent like in the original Punch show. Mr. Punch puts on a show for his family and friends and it all goes wrong to hilarious effect. It’s the kind of show you can walk into halfway through and still get it and have a great time.
Bob says his show is for all ages. He carries a stage bag for his performance. His hand puppets hang from a belt. Therefore, Bob can occur in a very small space. It includes a juggling act in the performance.
Bob Stutt comes out of retirement to perform at Puppets Up! He was first a puppeteer on television during a long career. He started in the 1970s doing shows all over America and worked with the Muppets, Noreen’s show Under the Umbrella Tree, Fraggle Rock and The Big Comfy Couch. Bob is thrilled that Puppets Up! comes back and is excited to come out to do a live show. He is also a big fan of fellow puppet performers Sarah Argue and the Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre.
Felicity falls on April 23, 2022.
Rag and Bone Puppet Theater founders Kathy MacLellan and John Nolan present sweet stories inspired by their own family lives. They are targeting the 3-8 age group with this performance. The stars are the Rabbit family – mom, dad and two children. Their neighbors are porcupines and weasels. All puppets look like little plush toys and are designed to inspire kids to come home and break out their own toys and use their imaginations.
The format is small, reassuring and heartwarming vignettes that send the message that in your family you are safe and loved and that the community has your back. As an example, Kathy referred to two vignettes: one titled Musical Beds in which all the characters end up in the wrong beds, and a story about two children who play “hide the teddy bear” and then cannot not find the bear. Nothing scary happens in the 5 little stories that make up the show. Kathy said she was delighted with a note from a teacher who said one of the children laughed so hard she fell out of her chair.
Kathy and her husband John have been working in puppetry for 40 years and have created twenty different shows. They played Puppets Up! several times. Since forming the Rag and Bone Puppet Theater in the 1980s, they have toured Canada. Kathy has also written for Noreen’s Under the Umbrella Tree, for Mr. Dressup and Theodore Tugboat, all iconic television series.
John played a raccoon on the YTV series Crazy Quilt. The couple had so much fun, Kathy says, and raised two kids doing it.
They now have a recording studio in their basement and have performed free shows for families. Their puppets! appearance will be their first live performance in 2 years. Kathy observed that Puppets Up! is such an important festival, and, of course, they love Noreen. So they thought it was a suitable venue for their live reappearance.
People can join the Rag and Bone Theater mailing list to learn about events online:
For more information about the festival and its pre-festival events, visit Puppetsup.com
Don’t make the mistake of visiting puppetsup.ca, which may be on the right side of your screen when you Google puppets. It’s a different site.