Presenters and Program

We are so grateful to these amazing presenters who inspired, informed and galvanized to us at Puppet Power 2020.

Amanda Petefish-Schrag
Aretta Baumgartner
Kenneth Gross
Long Grass Studios
Fif Fernandes
Andrea Markovits
Nina Vogel
Denise Babin
AI, Puppets and All Things Uncanny Panel
Reneltta Arluk and Daniela Marsalis
Rebeka Haigh
Dolly Wiggler Cabaret
Dr. Dahlen Abdul Ghani

Amanda Petefish-Schrag

Amanda Petefish-Schrag is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU). A prolific playwright, director and puppeteer, Amanda’s performances and work has been showcased and recognized widely across North America. Amanda utilizes puppetry to help translate and make complex and abstract ideas within climate science accessible and actionable. Amanda’s presentation called Puppetry as Sympathetic Magic will share her efforts to facilitate this sympathetic magic of puppetry through the use of discarded material.

Puppetry as Sympathetic Magic:
Building the world we want from the materials we don’t
Prerecorded and Livestream

Amanda Petefish-Schrag’s presentation, will share her efforts to facilitate this sympathetic magic of puppetry through the use of discarded material, (aka “trash”). In doing so, Amanda will explore the distinct material realities of “trash” and the way these realities can lead us to new rituals—rituals rooted in environmental and community relationships—within puppet design, construction, and manipulation.

Amanda will examine the important role discarded material can play in re-centering puppetry practice within the puppeteer’s role as “citizen-shaman” as communities face the critical call to climate action.

The talk will include examples of Amanda’s recent puppetry work at Iowa State University. These examples speak to methods of using puppetry’s inherent material connections to create spaces and conditions in which communities can grapple with the political, economic, and ethical questions climate science poses, and, most importantly, envision ways we can heal our relationships with the natural world. preview video for 2018 production of “Iphigenia” material in puppetry

Aretta Baumgartner & Thom Stanley

Aretta Baumgartner is a performer/teaching artist specializing in puppetry, mask and movement. She’s been a professional puppeteer and actress/vocalist/movement artist since 1992 and is proud to be the Education Director at the world-renowned Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA—the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the art of puppetry in the United States where she oversees more than 50 distinct types of educational programming and outreach. She is an active performer, teacher and creator of new works for puppetry. As a testament to her leadership in the puppetry community, Aretta was recently elected President of the Puppeteers of America. Aretta has performed, coached and taught throughout the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada and Honduras. She’s a member of Association of Theatre Movement Educators, Atlanta Puppetry Guild, Educational Theatre Association and UNIMA-USA. When not puppeteering, Aretta sings in 2 bands and acts on Atlanta-area stages.

Thom Stanley is a producer and puppeteer from Atlanta, Georgia and co-owner of Bob’s Your Uncle Production, a puppetry focused production company.

Thom performed with the Muppets in “Muppets from Space” for The Jim Henson Company and has puppeteered in numerous independent short films including as lead puppeteer for the short film “Nature Calls” (New Puppet Order, 2017 Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Series). Thom worked as puppet builder and performer on the series pilot, “Freestyle Love Supreme” with Lin Manuel Miranda for Adult Swim. He has crafted numerous original, theatrical pieces and participated in four Xperimental Puppetry Theater festivals at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. His most recent puppetry performance is “Shadow Realm,” a segment for the interactive production, Dreamland for Immerse 2019 by Creative City Project, Orlando. Regularly, Thom can be found performing in the Puckin Fuppet Show, (USA National Puppet Slam Network), teaching puppetry for television, and mentoring puppeteers. When Thom isn’t building or performing puppets, he works as a freelance Art Director and Producer in advertising and marketing.
Thom and Aretta have collaborated on nine original puppet theatre productions.

Creating Art with Challenging Themes Panel
Prerecorded and Livestream

Puppeteers find inspiration in many different places, including true stories of tragedy and trauma. Panelists Thom Stanley and Aretta Baumgartner created a challenging piece of puppet theatre that was born of the events of September 11, 2001. They describe what led them to create this performance, its impact on themselves and audience viewers. Other examples of similarly inspired art and theatre along with themes and images that describe traumatic events, end of life decisions, grief and loss will also be discussed.

The panel will be facilitated by an Art Therapist and will include a Trauma Informed Narrative Therapist and a Grief Counsellor. All panelists will discuss the steps that can be taken to minimize triggering audience members and how challenging theatre can create connection and hope in difficult times especially now; given what the world is facing today and Covid-19.

Panelists are:
Aretta Baumgartner
Thom Stanley

Allan Rosales: MA – Art Therapy
With over 10 years of clinical experience Allan has facilitated art therapy programs for suicidal youth; adults with disabilities; women and children escaping domestic violence; and adults affected by cancer. Currently, Allan consults independently in Calgary, is a practicing professional artist, yoga teacher, an instructor at Mount Royal University and VIEW Program manager and facilitator. (Calgary, Alberta).

Brian Pickering:  BA/MTS
Brian has been a Counselor based out of Calgary Alberta for 30 years. He was on staff as a Grief Counselor with Alberta Health Services Grief Support Program since 2003 and recently retired in May of 2019. Brian was one of the AHS personnel that worked in and around Calgary to support individuals, agencies and communities in the understanding of the clinical aspects of grief & trauma in the 2013 Southern Alberta Flood as well as the Fort McMurray Wild Fires in 2016. He was also a Victim Advocate with Bow Valley Victim Services for five years. Trauma Informed Narrative Therapist  (Calgary, Alberta)

Cheryl Millman: Grief Counsellor (Calgary, Alberta)

Puppet POW! for Puppet Power
Recorded and Livestream 

Join Aretta Baumgartner of Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts in a fun-filled session that shares how the Center’s new @Home initiative answers the existential question “How can we be a puppet center without puppets or the Center?”.

Through a combination of live activities and Puppet POW! videos, we’ll explore puppetry basics AND tour the Center’s global puppetry museum.

TWITTER:       @ToPuppet, @CtrPuppetryArts

INSTAGRAM: @learningtoflypuppetplay        @ctr_puppetry_arts

Kenneth Gross

Kenneth Gross’s books include The Dream of the Moving Statue, Shakespeare’s Noise, and Shylock is Shakespeare. His Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life was co-winner of the 2011-12 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.  Gross received his doctorate in English Literature from Yale University.  A former fellow of the Guggenheim, Bellagio, and Bogliasco Foundations, and the American Academy in Berlin, he teaches English at the University of Rochester. He was born in New York City and lives in Rochester and Brooklyn, NY.

Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life Reading

Kenneth Gross will read from his book, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, followed by a moderated Q & A. The puppet emerges in this book as a hungry creature, trickster, seducer, and destroyer, demon and clown. It’s a test of our experience of things, of the human and inhuman. A book about re-seeing what we know, or what we think we know, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life evokes the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in life and art.

Guided Conversations About the Uncanny

Participants will join in a live video -conference with Kenneth Gross, author of Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, to discuss the strangeness of puppet theater, its mystery, even its creepiness, and how these things speak more broadly to our experience of ourselves and the world.  In addition to looking at handful of literary texts about puppets, participants will be invited to share stories and memories of their own most uncanny encounters with puppets, dolls, statues, and ordinary objects, moments when these things have acquired for them a surprising, perhaps dangerous or ghostly life.

“The puppet creates delight and fear. It can call to mind the innocent play of childhood or become a tool of ritual magic, an entity able to negotiate with ghosts and gods. Puppets can be creepy things, secretive, inanimate yet full of spirit, alive with gesture and voice.”

—Kenneth Gross in Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life

Jodi Lammiman & Amy Spark
Barb English

Jodi Lammiman and Amy Spark co-created Refugia Retreats out of a desire to integrate the emotional, spiritual and

mental health aspects of environmental and social justice conversations with personal and community contemplative practice.  Refugia is a scientific term referring to places that become safe spaces for organisms and life to endure in the midst of upheaval. Jodi hasa Bachelor of Sacred Literature, Master of Arts in Leadership and a Certification in Spiritual Direction.  Amy is an environmental scientist and advocate focused on the intersection between ecological and mental health. Her work highlights ecological grief – the emotional experience after the loss of cherished natural spaces.

Barb English, BED, BA in International Relations from UBC. Barb recently retired from the Calgary Board of Education in order to pursue her lifelong interest in art, making and puppetry. She spent her career supporting students with complex social/emotional learning needs and is passionate about inclusive education, trauma informed practice, and using art as a medium to support mental health and wellness. Currently, Barb is teaching wet felting workshops to students in K- to Gr2 with ArtFelt Studios. She loves that all children can find success when using wool as a medium to create.  Barb joined WP Puppet Theatre in Fall 2019 to help design and facilitate workshops that use puppetry to discuss mental health & wellness.

Tending to our Grief in Troubled Times:
Livestream Audience Discussion

What does it mean to be human in this era of climate change and unsustainable systems? How do we process our experiences of loss, grief, and unprecedented change?
Join Jodi Lammiman and Amy Spark from Refugia Retreats for the Cairn of Mourning, an exercise adapted from the work of eco-philosopher Joanna Macy.

In advance of the session, participants will be asked to create a totem to represent their response to uncertain times. After registering, participants will receive more information on how the session will progress and what a ‘totem’ is, and a resource from artist Barb English outlining various ways to make a totem with materials you likely have at home. At the session, participants will be invited to share the story behind their totem (if comfortable).

The first portion of the interactive session (in which Amy and Jodi will contextualize eco-grief) will be recorded, but the sharing portion will not be recorded.

Instagram: @refugia_retreats

Juanita Dawn, Monica Ila & Pat Rozitis Long Grass Studio & Workshop

Inside an unassuming red home, 5 mins west of Calgary, with a handcrafted sign out front, Juanita and Pat spend their days turning fantasy to reality. Their little workshop, dubbed The Long Grass Studio & Workshop, creates puppets of all types and sizes for theatres across Canada.

Juanita was born to build puppets!  Her puppets have performed on stages large and small, near and far.  Recent works include The Bench, (Long Grass Studio), Giant (Ghost River Theatre), Ghost Opera (Old Trout Puppet Workshop with The Calgary Opera), Mimic, (Decidedly Jazz Dance Works), Kayak (Between Shifts Theatre Co), Gourmenghast, (Marilyn Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Theater, Brock University), Snow Angel, (Quest Theater), From Naughty to Nice, (National Film Board and The Old Trout Puppet Workshop) …and many more!

Monica Ila joins Juanita in the creation of this delightful story of a park bench, as puppeteer, co-creator and set designer. Monica is an emerging visual artist and puppeteer, She makes large scale monsters and creates worlds for them to live within using acrylics and other media. Monica has worked with Long Grass Studio since 2016 and has shown work at the Festival of Animated Objects, Dolly Wiggler Cabaret and OUF! Festival Off Casteliers. She enjoys bringing the playfulness of childhood into her adult life and helping to inspire others along with her in whatever way she can!

Pat discovered glass fusion while attending a pottery studio conference in Phoenix Az. He found that glass made a great addition to his ceramic studio shop. From this humble beginning, that the passion for fused glass would become a central focus of his life. Over the last few years Pat has been exploring, creating and perfecting many different aspects of fused glass art. His passion for design and colour is evident in his work.

The Bench:
Recorded Performance with Live Artist Talk Back

It is true that a bench is a place to sit and share space with others. Often we find them dotting parkways and unassumingly serving the public. This particular bench in the story is just that, an island in the sea of bustling daily life. It is used to rest weary bones, contemplate nature, share confidences and or remember loved ones who found solace in the view it offered. Generally, each of us is welcome to use this simple furnishing in our own way. Which leads us to the premise, does everyone have the right to use it? Are there some more or less worthy to do so? The Bench demonstrates how one simple structure can affect the lives of many and explores what makes a true community.

This delightfully entertaining thirty-minute play allows you to smile and reflect on life emulated entirely through puppetry. If you frequently find yourself sitting in a show and asking BUT WHERE ARE ALL THE PUPPETS? Then this is the show for you.

Appropriate for puppet lovers big and small. This show is suitable for ages 12 and up.Performance of The Bench includes a 10-minute intermission followed by a Presentation and an Artists Talk-Back.

INSTAGRAM: #longgrassstudio

Fernandes-Boyd & Hamish Boyd
Livestream w/ Live Discussion

Fif Fernandes-Boyd received her BFA, specializing in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Calgary and has been performing professionally, teaching and facilitating various retreats and workshops internationally since 1984.

Hamish Boyd, received his BFA in Drama from the University of Alberta and has worked professionally as an actor in classical theatre, improvisation and musicals, on radio, stage, film and television since 1977. Together they have trained and are certified Laughter Yoga Leaders, and co-founded of The Art of Peace Camp, a Camp for Kids with youth in Canada and Uganda where they facilitate laughter and teach peace activities through the arts to teenagers and young adults who have been brutalized by war.

As Medical Clowns with the MedDiClown Academy in Auroville, India, Fif and Hamish design and implement retreats, courses, seminars and workshops in communication skills, mindfulness, laughter, play, storytelling, puppetry and humour. Their work has been termed as a social technology for creating active transformation through inventive play and creative exploration, using puppets for healing through storytelling, performing arts and mindfulness activities. The healing power of the simple puppet has had a profound impact on the people Fif and Hamish work with.

Empowering play for sustainable change

Fif Fernandes-Boyd and Hamish Boyd of MeDiClown Academy in India will share how they have used found objects to create puppets, and how they utilize existing objects and puppets in their practice of employing empowering play for sustainable change. Their interactive presentation will weave together video clips, demonstration, discussion and inspirational stories of transformation on how their medical clowning engages people of all backgrounds.

They will detail the process of breathing life into puppets and imbuing puppets with the 5 senses and the 6 invisible superpowers. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and expand the range of their own movement and voice and give the puppet a life of its own thus building a strong understanding of the outcomes of creative play and how they can apply the tools and social technology in their own professional and personal lives.

Andrea Markovits & Polo Fernàndez

Andrea Markovits trained as a Special Education Teacher, studied Drama Therapy at the University of Chile and Puppetry at the School of Puppetry and Drama in Israel. Today, she is a puppet therapist whose practice is directed to memory and trauma, violation of children’s rights, imprisoned women, survivors of war and political repression, relatives of the detained-disappeared and people with disabilities. She has developed significant and effective puppetry & puppet therapy programs for people under social risk.

Polo Fernàndez graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Spanish Language from Universidad de La Serena, Chile and also studied Puppetry at the School of Puppetry and Drama in Israel. Andrea is the academic director of the Diploma in Puppet Therapy, Chile, and both Andrea and Polo teach in the program. Together, they founded the Puppets in Transit Company in 2010. Much of their work is focussed around how puppets can be used to heal individual and collective trauma and memories.

Puppet Therapy: Objects, Memory, and Activation
Prerecorded and Live Discussion

Puppet therapy methodologies created and developed by Puppets in Transit (Andrea & Polo) have been effectively implemented with different groups and programs aimed at assisting victims and relatives of the detained-disappeared during the military dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990).

By constructing a puppet, like an embodied metaphor of the detained-disappeared and the individual and collective pain, the therapeutic healing power increases and the puppet becomes a symbol and an intermediary object which stimulates individual and collective work. Simultaneously, generating collective dialogue culminating in the performative processing of trauma memories. This methodology has been shown to have a high impact on audiences and is effective and meaningful as a complementary expressive therapy, within the ambit of mental health therapies.

Instagram: @munecoterapia

Nina Vogel

Blessed with strong intuition, Nina connects with those dreams that seek to come forth in the real world and, through the language of music, creates a gateway into substance. From this musical universe emerge the story, the characters and the décor which she designs and creates herself. An imaginary world comes to life, reflecting the deepest human aspirations. Her solo performances, both poetic and intense, blend song, puppets, costume-scenarios and dance. This trained lyric singer and actress was introduced to the art of puppeteering during an artists’ residency in Chile.

The Toulouse-Lautrec marionette earned her two scholarships of excellence from Université du Québec à Montréal is one such being that Nina brings to life. Since 2015, Nina has been traveling throughout the Americas and France, performing in theaters and festivals.

Her newest creation ConCordis – the Heart Lambe-Lambe, a one-on-one animation is set to travel the world in 2020 and be presented in Indonesia, Chypre, China, Brazil and throughout South America, in the quest to meet other people’s hearts, to produce a poetic documentary on it.

“Nina Vogel is a magician, who creates art to reconnect us all with our inner child.”   – Magali Balles

 ConCordis – the Heart Lambe-Lambe (presented in French and again in English)
Pre-recorded with Live Audience Discussion

 2020. Our planet has 7.7 billion human hearts, 5 billion cell phones, 3 billion social network users. We are surrounded by mass shows, photos, videos, podcasts. Everything is done to attract the greatest number of views and people. Suddenly you are invited to go to the theater and discover that you are not going to share the audience with anyone. The artist is there, waiting to receive each of her spectators individually, with her minimalist stage. A heart so big that surpasses the lines of the artist’s body. She holds it wide open in her arms and invites the viewer to approach. Inside, a small inhabitant and unsuspected miniature universes reveal themselves in a journey to find what makes a heart beat. Can one miniature puppet perform human agency, through what we have the most human of all: our feelings?

Nina Vogel invites us to approach the other’s heart and listen to yours, by sharing the creative process of her latest creation – ConCordis- the Lambe-Lambe Heart.

2020.Notre planète a 7,7 milliards de cœurs humains, 5 milliards de téléphones portables, 3 milliards d’utilisateurs de réseaux sociaux. Nous sommes entourés d’émissions de masse, de photos, de vidéos, de podcasts, tous faits pour attirer le plus grand nombre de vues et de personnes. Tout à coup, vous êtes invité à aller au théâtre et à découvrir que vous n’allez partager le public avec personne. L’artiste est là, attendant pour recevoir chacun de ses spectateurs, individuellement, avec sa scène minimaliste. Un cœur si grand qu’il dépasse les lignes du corps de l’artiste. Elle le tient grand ouvert entre ses bras et invite le spectateur à s’approcher. À l’intérieur, un petit être et des univers miniatures insoupçonnés se révèlent dans un voyage à la rencontre de ce qui fait battre son cœur.Peut une seule marionnette en miniature performer agentivité humaine, à travers ce qu’on a de plus humain chez nous : nos sentiments ?

Nina Vogel nous invite à approcher du cœur de l’autre pour approcher son propre cœur, à travers le partage du processus créateur de sa dernière création – ConCordis, le Cœur Lambe-Lambe.
Instagram:                   @ninavogelart

Denise Babin: Moderator for Nina Vogel sessions

Denise Babin is a communications professional and has been part of the Québec puppetry arts community for over 20 years. Since the fall of 2018, she’s been Assistant to the Directors at Casteliers, a specialized

puppet theatre presenter, organizer of the annual Festival de Casteliers, and cofounder with the Association québécoise des marionnettistes (AQM–Québec Puppeteer Association) of the Maison internationale des arts de la marionnette (MIAM–International House of Puppetry Arts) in Montréal.

Denise Babin est une professionnelle des communications engagée dans le milieu de la marionnette québécoise depuis plus de 20 ans. Depuis l’automne 2018, elle est ajointe à la direction de Casteliers, diffuseur spécialisé en théâtre de marionnette, organisateur du Festival de Casteliers, et cofondateur avec l’Association québécoise des marionnettistes (AQM) de la Maison internationale des arts de la marionnette (MIAM) à Montréal.

AI, Puppets and All things Uncanny Panel

Kenneth Gross (New York) Author

Kenneth Gross’s Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life was co-winner of the 2011-12 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.  Gross received his doctorate in English Literature from Yale University.  A former fellow of the Guggenheim, Bellagio, and Bogliasco Foundations, and the American Academy in Berlin, he teaches English at the University of Rochester. He was born in New York City and lives in Rochester and Brooklyn, NY.

Neil Cadger (Kelowna) Performer, Director, Professor

Neil Cadger graduated from the Lecoq Theatre School in Paris in 1984 and co-founded Wissel Theatre in Gent, Belgium. Wissel Theatre created performances and toured Europe and North America for a decade; he subsequently performed with theatre/dance companies in Europe and Canada.  In 2000 he began teaching mask, mime and movement at the University of Saskatchewan’s Drama Department. In 2005, he launched the BFA Interdisciplinary Performance program at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna
where he currently teaches. Neil founded the Living Things International Arts
Festival – an annual festival of puppets, masks, object theatre and related
devices – in 2017.

Lan Troung (Calgary) Director of Marketing & Business, ASICA

“My hope for integrating Artificial Intelligence in everyday life is to improve the quality of life by equalizing and enhancing everyone’s skillsets. ”

Lan has over 15 years of business experience in maximizing operations, building invaluable client relationships, and providing solutions for company growth. After graduating with a Commerce degree from the University of Calgary, she found her passion in supporting industries and management in bridging gaps and realizing their business strengths and direction. Her role as the Director of Marketing and Business Development for ASICA, an Artificial Intelligence software company, continues to challenge and push her boundaries of solving complex business problems using technology. When she is not at the office, you will most likely find her researching market and culture trends (for fun) and trying out crazy cookie recipes.

Claire Mikalauskas (Calgary) MSc Computational Media Design

Claire is a UX designer with a passion for visual art, creative writing, and live performance. She recently graduated from the University of Calgary and is always looking for new ways to combine her love of technology with the fine arts. Claire also has a BSc in computer science with a minor in visual studies and art history.

AI, Puppets and all things Uncanny Panel: Pre recorded & Live Stream 

What kind of “imitation of life” is a puppet? What is most special about the way we find life in the puppet? How is such life different from the life we might or might not attribute to daily or sacred objects? As a living artifact, how is the puppet’s life similar to or different from the “life” of real or imaginary robots, or the images produced by video animation, motion capture, and computer-generated imagery?
What difference does it make that the puppet is a creature of the theater?
How do we understand the difference between an invisible and a visible puppeteer?
Is the medium the message?
The panel will discuss these and other questions, ranging broadly between puppet theater, traditional and experimental, and other ideas of animation and artificial life, including the products of digital technology.

Reneltta Arluk & Daniela Marsalis

Photo Credit: Reneltta Arluk

Reneltta Arluk is an actor, playwright, poet, director and producer, who has performed globally. She is currently the Director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre. She has directed at The Stratford Festival and received the 2017 Tyrone Guthrie – Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award for her direction of The Breathing Hole. Some of her many additional credits include: Marie Clement’s Copper Thunderbird at the National Arts Centre; touring with Human Cargo’s Night; the world premiere of Chantel Bilodeau’s Sila (Underground Theatre; Cambridge, MA); and, Hardline Productions’ RedPatch (Vancouver, BC). She was the first Indigenous woman to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting degree from the University of Alberta and is committed to stories inspired by Indigenous language and has worked in depth with Indigenous and minority youth through her theatre advocacy work.

 Daniela Marsalis

Daniela Masellis is theatre designer and artist based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta), on the Treaty 6 Traditional Lands of the First Nations and Metis people. Daniela’s training includes a B.F.A. of Theatre Design from the University of Alberta, a Grant MacEwan Diploma of Fine Arts, and a design apprenticeship in Italy at ‘Teatro alla Scala Milano’. She has designed in theatres large and small across Canada, collaborating on over 65 professional productions. Her credits include work with such companies as The Stratford Festival, The Citadel, Workshop West, Kill your Television, Mile Zero Dance, Shadow Theatre, Western Canadian Theatre, The Maggie Tree, L’Uniteatre, Akpik Theatre, and many others.  Daniela works mainly in the areas of set, props, lighting, and projection design for live performance and is ever interested in expanding her discipline into the worlds of film, installation and interior design.

 The Breathing Hole: Impetus, Process, and Impact
Pre-recorded with Live Audience Discussion

The Breathing Hole was specially commissioned by the Stratford Festival to mark Canada 150. Set in the Arctic, this highly impactful and moving play written by Colleen Murphy, directed by Reneltta Arluk, centres on the 500-year saga of a polar bear named Angu’juaq, which translates to “a big man” in Inuktitut.

Beautifully designed by Daniela Masellis, audiences follow Angu’juaq from birth in an Inuit community in 1534 to an encounter in 1832 with English explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew. The journey continues through to the 21st century, looking at the lives of a biologist and security guard working for an oil company, and a future devastated by global warming.

This production marked many firsts for Stratford: its first Inuit director; its first commission focused on the North and Indigenous people; and its first cast featuring a large number of Indigenous characters, played by eight Indigenous actors.

Join Reneltta as she shares her journey, process, and impact of the production of The Breathing Hole. This talk is approximately 45 mins followed by a Q&A with Reneltta Arluk and Daniela Masellis.

Reneltta Arluk

Instagram:                    @rarluk

Twitter:                         @AuspiciousR

Daniela Masellis

 Rebeka Haigh
Livestream w/ Live Discussion

Rebeka Haigh is a maker, puppeteer and illustrator based in the North of England. She is also the co-founder, Director, Head Puppeteer and Head Maker at the outdoor puppet theatre company, Frolicked.

Frolicked specializes in unique, visually striking experiences for outdoor audiences and unusual location. Frolicked’s self-devised, interactive and magical shows and games have captivated people of all ages and nationalities, and our growing family of original puppets have toured to delighted audiences across Europe. Frolicked’s work often combines interactive performance, game design and simple technology in surprising ways.

Magical Interactions: How to Use Interactive Technology to Engage Audiences

In a world where technology (for better or worse) is becoming an integral and fundamental part of our culture, an outdoor performer, Rebeka explores ways in which we can subvert or use this technology to our advantage.
Delightfully surprising audience interactions are key to an outdoor performer’s success. This outdoor puppetry maker found herself asking:

Can a performer introduce ways for participants to interact with shows through the technology they carry around with them?

How can we use technologically enhance our direct interactions with an audience?

Rebeka has explored both the electronics and code to: make parts of a model move or change using Twitter, and make an interactive lighting system, where audiences tell us their favourite colour and we trigger this to light up within a costume, as well as how technology triggered by social media can be used with a walkabout performance and its response.

When integrated technology compliments the narrative, it can add a magical layer to an already engaging piece of work.

Join Rebekah as she shares her knowledge of how to use puppetry and leverage existing technology to create magical interactions with her audiences. This relevant talk will explore interactive, emerging technologies and how they relate to the puppetry sector.

Dolly Wiggler Cabaret produced by Calgary Animated Object Society

This raucous night of puppetry for adult audiences is wild, weird, and extremely popular. Produced by CAOS madwoman Xstine Cook and hosted by the ever hilarious Mooky, the annual Dolly Wiggler Cabaret features a packed roster local greats and international stars, staging short bits of brilliance and new raw material in edgy, hilarious and unforgettable performances that will leave a mark on your psyche. VIP tickets get you special front row seats to this licensed 18+ event.

Dr. Dahlan Abdul Ghani
To be confirmed

Dr. Dahlan Abdul Ghani received his PhD in Wayang Kulit—a traditional Malaysian form of shadow puppetry, and 3D Animation Studies from the University Malaya. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Creative Multimedia Department and Head of Research & Innovation at the University Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Information Technology. With an aim to see Wayang Kulit preserved for future generations, Dr. Ghani is in the midst of translating the dying art into 3D animation with the hopes of making the traditional medium relevant to younger generations.

Using the power of puppetry to impact social change.