A form of theatre performance, hand puppets are great for developing speaking and listening skills in children. They also allow the child to be more imaginative and come up with ideas by enacting, comprehending and formulating a story that requires one or more characters.
A popular form of entertainment for children, puppets are increasingly being used in education and therapy. Puppets are usually seen as toys but are effective tools of communication and education. Counselors also use puppets to encourage riot-affected children to talk about their ordeals and their fears.
Several puppet shows are conducted on the Ramayana and Mahabharata or on Panchatantra stories to make it easy for students to better understand the teachings.
Using puppets also helps bring a subject or story alive.
Learning Puppetry in Mumbai
During holidays, most students and aspiring puppeteers learn how to draw and design puppets and then use them to tell a story.
For the more advanced puppetry workshops, you’ll find theatre actors, students, working professionals, housewives and the elderly attending the classes. The University of Mumbai runs certificate courses in puppetry that teaches participants how to create and use puppets.
During the sessions, the teachers teach participants how to make puppets in a variety of shape, sizes and materials. Puppets, she says, can be of any size, from a four-inch to a four-foot tall creation.
Puppetry has been extensively used in ancient India to narrate stories of emperors and epics alike by folk artists. While shadow puppetry makes an appearance in Kerala during festivals, in Maharashtra, it’s a fast-dying art form. Folk artistes, for decades, used to narrate episodes from the epics with string and shadow puppets set to folk tunes. In the coastal Ratnagiri area, shadow puppets, known as chamadyache bahulya, were used to tell stories from the Ramayana during festivals and social gatherings but the art is fading slowly. With folk artistes giving puppetry a miss, the new certificate courses from Mumbai university promises to revive and restore a dying art form.
Originally posted 2015-06-13 08:44:28.