WP Puppet Theatre marked Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017, with a special puppet project, that sought to connect people of all cultures, celebrate the land and remember our Canadian values of generosity and courage.
We created a community video of a modern-day story about Canada’s new (unofficial) avian emblem – the Gray Jay. We invited over one hundred and fifty, local, national and international participants of all ages, and their puppets, to read and film the story, The Gray Jay and the Magpie by Ken Lee, one line at a time. One line for each year.
The Story and the Writer: The Gray Jay and the Magpie by Ken Lee
The Gray Jay and the Magpie was written by Ken Lee from Calgary, Alberta, and commissioned by WP Puppet Theatre for this project. Ken Lee is an emerging writer, who has met ancient murrelets in Haida Gwaii, thieving corvids along the West Coast Trail, and insolent magpies outside his front door. He has written short non-fiction articles for the Alpine Club of Canada and the University of Calgary Gazette.
Photos from the workshop at James Short Memorial School
Thank you to our participants from James Short Memorial School, Prospect Human Services, École de la Source, the Malaysian Singaporean Bruneian Community Association, Queen Elizabeth High School, A.E. Cross School as well as local and international individual contributors. And thank you to our videographer and editor – Sheila Nykwist – New Branch Media
Shout out to puppeteers from around the world who responded to our call:
Thank you to Casey Eagle Speaker for recording our video introduction. Casey Eagle Speaker (Sorrel Horse) is a member of the Kainai Nation and a recognized Elder in the community.
We had a ‘world premiere’ of our finished video in November 2018 with the partnership of Calgary Public Library. Thank you to our screening partners – Crystal Ink, Purple Pastry Chef, Volunteers from Youth Central,
and Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society
Thank you also to James, Thomas, and Deelan from WO Mitchell Elementary school for submitting their own Gray Jay stories and pictures! Thanks to Ms. Ofir Flor for supporting her students in our project. Thank you to Aum Nicol for her contribution to the project.
This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Calgary Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.
Cette initiative est rendue possible grâce au Fonds communautaire pour le 150e anniversaire du Canada, qui est une collaboration entre les fondations communautaires canadiennes, le gouvernement du Canada et des leaders extraordinaires de l’Atlantique au Pacifique à l’Arctique.