What’s new with us?

John and Kathy find a hat!
What's with this hat?


How are things? It hasn’t been an easy year, but we’ve seen some bright spots! We’ve been so happy to see kids, parents and teachers enjoying our shows online—and so impressed with those of you who’ve found ways to make this crazy virtual world work. It’s wonderful to finally enjoy some summer weather. And we have some fun new projects that we’re eager to share!

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on Hat Trick, our newest show, which will be available to Zoom in June (soon!)

We’re planning more episodes of Snippets, our staged reading series.

We’ve started work on a new show for senior and adult audiences called An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good.

And …

Drama classes anyone?
We will be teaching “Discover Drama” (online) from 10:00 to 11:30, July 5-9, for ages 8-10. Spots are going fast, so if you know someone who’d like to join us (or another class) for drama games and acting, get in touch with the Ottawa Children’s Theatre asap!

Are you a puppeteer?
Fresh Ideas in Puppetry, an annual mini-conference and festival, showcasing artists taking new and ground-breaking directions in puppetry, is looking for live-to-broadcast or pre-recorded presentations about your discoveries.

Are you a teacher or community presenter?
Consider booking an online performance before the year ends! Email us for more info, or contact MASC.

Looking for more online events? Check out the Ottawa Children’s Festival’s line up.

Dorval Family Morning Series presents Felicity Falls

Sunday, January 31 at 11 am, via Zoom $5 per Zoom link

Kathy with Rhapsody and Rose
Kathy with Rhapsody and Rose
Rag & Bone is going on tour (virtually) and you’re invited. Our annual performance at the Dorval Library, just outside of Montreal, P.Q., will be presented via Zoom with a live intro and a live Q & A. The show is Felicity Falls, and we’d love to see you there!
 
Felicity Falls is about a group of animals who find a new place to live. The show follows their everyday lives as they build their homes and their community. Even parents will laugh at what happens when one little rabbit can’t sleep and another loses a teddy bear. Then the roof starts to leak. And a hot air balloon arrives with someone who will change their lives forever. These gentle, funny stories about families are told with stuffed toy puppets to encourage children to go home and make up their own stories. Because felicity means happiness.
 
The children were captivated by the story line and the delightful stuffed animals…It dealt with familiar topics—getting along with each other, family togetherness, friendship. They thoroughly enjoyed the presentation! The selection of musical instruments was very intriguing for young children. They loved the sounds!—Central Park School, Toronto!
 
See more about Felicity Falls here.
 
More on Dorval’s upcoming events here (search for arts & culture).

Snippets in the Stream

Interview: Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre explore infinite world of possibilities in puppetry

From Apt613.ca

 
By Jessica Ruano on October 22, 2020

 

Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre has toured across Canada and the U.S. since 1978 with over 100 performances a year in schools, libraries, children’s festivals, and theatres. Kathy MacLellan has also written for children’s TV shows including Mr. DressupUnder the Umbrella Tree, and Theodore Tugboat. John Nolan appeared as Jackson on the YTV show Crazy Quilt. In this interview, Kathy talks about the infinite world of possibilities in puppetry — whether live onstage or at a distance on screen.

MASC: You may not know this about me, but I am a total puppet nerd, and in fact dedicated part of my Master’s thesis to deconstructing puppet theory, recognizing puppets as balancing on the threshold between life and death, embodying the qualities of both animate and inanimate objects… Do you think much about the philosophy and theology behind puppeteering, and how does that translate into your work?

The philosophy and theology are, in a nutshell, the magic of puppetry. A puppet is an abstract object. It encourages the audience to use their imagination and suspend their disbelief. This gets them more involved.

I pour my thoughts and feelings into the puppet, audience members project their own thoughts and feelings onto it, and we meet in the middle. As puppeteers, we have control over this little world, but in our approach, it’s a benign and loving authority, “comme des anges.”

Using puppets gives us freedom – a character can fly, jump off a roof, or dance on a teacher’s head. We are also inspired by the way that children play with toys – creatively, imaginatively, and cooperatively. When kids play like that with toys, they learn that they can shape their own stories, and perhaps their own destinies. Maybe change the world into a more loving, co-operative, and benevolent place.

Does the inside of your house look like a magical puppet fantasy land? Otherwise where do you create your puppets and where do you house all your creations and materials?

We live in a wonderfully normal-looking house in Orleans, with a two-car garage and an unfinished basement. The garage has shelving on three sides, full of sturdy boxes containing sets, props, and puppets for twenty different shows.

Various creative projects are always on the go in the main part of the house – sewing, knitting, design sketches, creative writing ideas, and the computers that help run the business. The basement is action central for John’s woodworking, sculpting, and bicycle maintenance. It’s also home to a lot of storage for items that could make it into a show some day – fabric, costumes, hats, interesting antique objects, and old toys. We love toys! Toys from our childhoods, toys that our kids have outgrown, and toys from thrift stores. And lately, the basement has also become a surprisingly well-equipped studio for recording, streaming, and hosting online events.

With your live performances, you present intimate and innovative theatre experiences for school and family audiences. How has this changed with your online programming? What new discoveries have you made about your art form and how you connect with audiences?

With our new basement studio, using close-ups, eye contact, and live interaction, we can be even more intimate and innovative! Our first event was the livestream of Felicity Falls, through the National Arts Centre’s #CanadaPerforms program. With one camera in a fixed position, we took a week to figure out how to move into close-ups and long shots, keep all the props organized, and keep going for the whole show.

We had over 3,000 views, and many heartwarming comments. Since then, we have taught drama classes online with Ottawa Children’s Theatre, performed online for a Montreal library and, thanks to Ottawa Community Foundation, launched Snippets — staged readings with special guests. Our first guest was Nadia Sammurtok from Iqaluit, and the audience included people from as far away as Vancouver and Mexico! Schools and communities can book a whole show from us — like Felicity Falls — or one story, like Peter Rabbit, from “Hippity Hoppity Snippets.”

 

As a member of MASC, what do you gain through offering your workshops in schools and in the community?

Some of my most poignant memories feature work with kids who have special needs: one girl who had never spoken before suddenly found her voice to make her puppet talk; another boy joined a group in one of our workshops and, for the first time ever, made friends at school.

I love the roar of the crowd when something is funny, and the absolute silence in a moment of tension. I also love how MASC connects us with other artists who work in schools and communities like we do. It’s great to share and learn from their experiences and approaches.

I value the input, advice and friendship I’ve had for many years with MASC staff, brainstorming solutions, fleshing out ideas, and sharing laughs. As Chair of the MASC Board of Directors for many years, I am very proud of things that were accomplished during my tenure.

Why do you think it’s important for our local community to have access to professional artists?

Art experiences and communal events are essential to any community’s quality of life. When a school group meets in the gym, staff and kids laugh together, think about new things, learn a bit about empathy and caring, see things from another point of view, and talk about it afterwards.

It’s also important that people see artists who live in their own city, that it’s possible to make a living in the arts, find a job that you love, work at something meaningful, and feel that you are making a difference. Some kids love sports and find a place to belong in that world. Others will only thrive and survive if they can find a way to express themselves through the arts. In our small way, we are throwing a lifeline to those kids. Life is beautiful and worth living, we say to them, and so are you.

What’s new with us?

What’s with this hat? How are things? It hasn’t been an easy year, but we’ve seen some bright spots! We’ve been so happy to see

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Snippets in the Stream

Interview: Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre explore infinite world of possibilities in puppetry From Apt613.ca  By Jessica Ruano on October 22, 2020   Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre has

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At home…

An interview with Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre by Karen Scott-Gagne, reposted from Shenkman Arts Centre’s Facebook page. Everybody’s staying at home these days, even the

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Hat Trick!

Dance Delights at The School of Dance Every year for the past 20 years (or so), we have spent two weeks at The School of

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As You Like It

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Neighbours of Chapel Hill

So excited to see our family featured in the local “Neighbours of Chapel Hill” magazine! Here we are, from left to right: our son Harry,

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