“I love the act of breathing puppets to life, it feels like magic!” This is just one statement expressed by Sharon Bayly, a multi-dimensional performance artist from Vancouver, B.C., whom stumbled upon puppetry with her colleague Tamara Unroe. While Sharon expressed in our interview with her that she was never predominantly a puppeteer, she was able to explore the art and it’s effects on its audiences, while being able to incorporate her past performance experience. The duo’s first collaboration included hand-crafted puppets by Tamara and was presented at the CAOS Festival of Animated Objects! Since then, Sharon and Tamara have worked together as co-artists for the Arts and Health Project, teaching puppetry to seniors, and creating a full-length puppet show called “The Boy with Enchanted Hands,” with Mortal Coil Performance Society!
Although she says she never really remembers playing with puppets as a child, she remembers breathing life into different objects and exploring objects that way, proving the power of puppetry in all ages!
“I don’t remember playing with puppets per se when I was a kid…I played mostly with Fischer Price people, which are kind of like tiny puppets!”
The most interesting part of puppetry in itself is the effects it can have on its audiences in teaching lessons or even as an outlet of discovery. Sharon excited us with the Arts and Health Project in teaching puppetry to seniors, and the ability for the performance to connect generations! “Puppets connect seniors to their playful, creative selves and give them an opportunity to be spontaneous!” Within her initiative to teach, she has even teamed up with Strathcona School in Vancouver, to allow the seniors to perform for kindergarten classes, and watch just how much of an impact these different generations have on each other.
“The kids respond with total delight in the puppets, and the seniors can see that, which makes them open up even more, and play and improvise with the puppets. It’s so great to see elders play like 5 year olds!”
Sharon presented “Good Health, Happy Life – Puppetry with Chinese Seniors in the Arts and Health Project” and hosted “Shadow Puppetry Basics” & “Toy Theatre” workshops at the Puppet Power Conference in 2016.