Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre

Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre

John Nolan and Kathy MacLellan in ZOOM AT SEA
John Nolan and Kathy MacLellan wow audiences with their puppet theatre version of ZOOM AT SEA

The founders of Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre, John Nolan and Kathy MacLellan perform along with musician Russell Levia. They perform throughout the year at schools, libraries, children’s festivals and theatres and present high quality, intimate theatre experiences for school and family audiences. Since 1978, they have toured across North America. They also teach puppet-making, mask and drama workshops at all levels.

In their words: " We believe in simple, aesthetically beautiful effects that encourage imagination and new ways of looking at things".

Their performance style is similar to the Japanese Bunraku theatre–a style of performing that uses visible puppeteers. The puppeteers share the stage with the puppets–moving between being storytellers and actors to manipulating the puppets in full view of the audience–a style called "open manipulation".

Their use of simple props and fabric allows imagination to fill in the details. Another important part of the Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre productions is the live music that is specially arranged for the shows and is often based on classical themes.

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The Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre offers workshops on puppets, drama and mask work. Their workshops include:

  • Using scrap wood to make rod puppets
  • Shadow puppets with cardboard cutouts, coloured acetate windows to use on back-lit cotton screens
  • drama workshops
  • mask worshops (making and using them)
  • Residency programs (they will come and do an extended unit with your school)

Click here to go to their website www.ragandbone.ca to see more detailed information about the Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre. They also offer downloadable guides and booklets that contain puppet and drama workshop ideas, as well as specific information about each of their shows: perfect for schools and teachers.

Rag and Bones Puppet Theatre offers presentations that combine puppetry, theatre, storytelling, dance, music and visual arts. The live music that is included in their performances are performed on authentic instruments. Their shows would make an interesting focal point for a unit of study. As a homeschooler, I am constantly on the lookout for inspiring and creative ways to round out the arts programming in my children’s schooling!

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