What is Snippets?

Careful with those scissors, kids!
Careful with those scissors, kids!

Snippets is our series of staged readings. Special guests read children’s books while we animate them with “snippets” of puppetry, drama, and music. Thanks to the Community Foundation of Ottawa, we’ve been presenting these events for free at The Irving Greenberg Centre, in partnership with GCTC, since the summer of 2014. Snippets has become so popular that we’re now able to present more than one performance of each one. In 2015, we received a grant from the ARTicipate Foundation to also repeat some of them at the Shenkman Art Centre.  In all, we’ve presented 11 readings, with the following guest artists:

Snippets of Mice and Moles, with GCTC director Eric Coates, August 2014

Snippets of Fairy Tales, with puppeteers Mat Kelly and Vic Thepmontry, September 2014

Snippets of Happy Families, with actors Nicole Milne and Chris Ralph, October 2014

Snippets of Snow, with OYPTS director Kathi Langston January 10, 2015 at GCTC

Snippets of Valentines and Velociraptors with actor Robert Bockstael, at GCTC, February 13 and 14, 2015

Snippets: Free as a Bird, with musician Russell Levia, September 12 at the SAC and September 19, 2015 at GCTC.

Snippets of Knights and Night-Time, with musician Ainsley McNeaney, October 9 and 10 2015, at GCTC and October 11, 2015 at the SAC

Why do we do Snippets?
The staged readings are a lot of fun for us. We love working with new people. We like trying out new books and stories, and sharing old favourites with new audiences. It’s great to be able to show the audience how important and fun it is for families to read books together. But Snippets is also great way for us to shake things up in our work for young people. Our own Rag & Bone shows can take two years from start to finish – writing the script, making the puppets and props, rehearsing with the music, and memorizing everything. We’re very proud of those shows, but sometimes it’s fun to throw something together in a week, and improvise. And it can be really fun to get people up from the audience to participate!

How do we find the books?
At the library, of course! Although some are our own books, or borrowed from friends. It’s usually one book that inspires the theme. The idea for Snippets of Paper came from a book about paper dolls. Then we searched the library website for books about books and paper. We thought of cutting out paper crafts, and folding paper. Our daughter, Rosemary Nolan, loves origami. And our friend Doreen Cowin, of the Child Care Provider’s Resource Network, suggested “Cut and Tell Stories”. Russell Levia, our guest, came up with songs that worked around the theme. And before we knew it, we had a show!

Where do we get all the puppets and props?
From our basement, mostly! We store all the props and puppets for our shows in our garage, but the basement is full of, well, other stuff. Puppets that people have given us. Toys from when our kids were young. Sewing supplies, woodworking supplies, costumes and hats. Also we love to find treasures at second hand stores wherever we travel. (Then we have to find a place for them in the basement . . . and remember where we put them!)

Upcoming Snippets
Snippets of Paper: 1:30 on January 10 at the SAC, and January 22 and 23 at GCTC with guest Russell Levia. Reserve your free tickets here.


Audience comments

Harry and Zoom
Harry and Zoom

Here are some comments from survey cards that people filled out after recent shows!

The Wind in the Willows —March 15, 2015

As much for adults as for children, I enjoyed seeing The Wind in the Willows a second time. (Mother of a 7-year-old fan)

We enjoyed it & loved the musical accompaniment.

Excellent show! We saw Felicity Falls as well. I loved the addition of the music for WitW. Thanks!

I love your shows – so creative and truly geared towards children in a time when all many kids see is animated shows. The live music is wonderful and I particularly like the singing.

I really like how you change your voice for each puppet. I would like to see more of the story like the train chase, Christmas at Mole’s and Toad’s escape from his room. It’s o.k. if the play gets longer. (Callie, age 7)

Wonderful performance. My first time. I love the props, beautiful materials. Music accompaniment is very effective. I had heard of your troupe and was happy to finally attend a performance.

Great puppets! Loved the story & the music. Loved it!

Perfect March Break activity.

The shows are always imaginative and highly entertaining for children and adults. The puppets and sets  are beautifully created and allow the audience to be immersed into the story. We eagerly anticipate more shows!

The Last Polar Bears—January 15, 2015

That was the best theatre play I’ve ever seen in Canada. Thank you so much!

I really enjoyed the show (Clara, 9)

Wonderful show! All the children were engaged the whole time!

Anna liked being dragged across the deck of the ship!

Always wonderful shows! Thank you.

We loved it. Thank you! It inspires children and adults to imagine.


More plays please. We love your plays.

Great show – as always!

The Nightingale—October 26, 2014

We love your shows. Thank you for making them financially accessible for families.

Nightingale was a wonderful story. We liked the music a lot.

I liked the nightingale’s song (Heidi, age 6).

It was good. I especially liked that it was funny. There was pretty music. It was a real story.

Excellent show! Great for children’s imagination.

This was the first play I took my daughters to (5 & 2 years). They loved it. Great experience. Thank you!


Snippets of Snow

Saturday January 10, 1:30 at GCTC – Free!
“Snippets” of puppetry, acting, masks, and music celebrate some of our favourite children’s books, read by special guest Kathi Langston. Actor, director, teacher and Artistic Director of OYP Theatre School, Kathi has studied and performed dance and drama in Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. She has won many awards, including the Ontario Provincial Leading Women Award, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Outstanding Female Performer at the 2014 Atlantic Fringe Festival.

Snippets, funded by the Community Foundation of Ottawa, will take place at the Irving Greenberg Centre (home of GCTC, the Great Canadian Theatre Company), 1233 Wellington St W, Ottawa, at the corner of Holland and Wellington in Westboro.
This staged reading is free, but you can reserve tickets online here.

Snippets: Happy Families

from the Victorian card game
from the Victorian card game

Our theme for the August Snippets is Happy Families.

Come and hear stories about families…all sorts of happy families. (No, not all happy families are the same, in spite of the Anna Karenina principle.)

Guests Chris Ralph and Nicole Milne will help us add snippets of puppetry, drama and music to staged readings of some hilarious books.

At GCTC on August 23 at 1:30. Admission is free. Reserve here.


a happy family
Kathy and the kids

Into imagination….

Ah, good times!
Ah, good times!

Sydney plays Ivy in The Story of Holly & Ivy, coming to the Shenkman Arts Centre December 12 to 15 2013.

What do you do?
I’m in grade four at St. Augustine School.

What colour are your pyjamas?
I have many pairs of pyjamas. One has a dog on it with a hat and it’s blindfolded and the bubble says, “Is it snowing yet?”

What’s your favourite bedtime story?
The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It’s a good lesson about not to tell lies.

What do you have for breakfast?
Eggs and bacon or cereal. My favourite cereals are Rice Crispies and Mini Wheats.

Where would you most like to go on holidays?
Hawaii if it wasn’t so dangerous.

What’s so dangerous in Hawaii?
Volcanoes and sharks.

When did your first big adventure start?
When I started school, and acting.

When did acting start?
When I was in grade one, I went to this camp that was really fun and they told us all the acting things, like comedy, romance, and the end we had a humungous play, a romance. I forget who I was. A maid.

Where did it take you?
Into imagination.

Why did you get involved?
Because I like being one person but when I act I can be many people.

What three things would you bring to a deserted island?
Food, water and duct tape. To build shoes, and everything you need to survive. I saw a TV show about it and they used duct tape for everything.

Who would you most like to get stuck in an elevator with?
Probably Ross Lynch and Selena Gomez.

What’s one thing you don’t like?
Seaweed. I have a terrible fear of seaweed.

Do you have a catch phrase?
Sydney! The end.

Do you have any bad habits?
Sometimes when I’m bored I bite my fingernails. And it doesn’t do anything. There already disgusting and I make them worse.

What’s one thing you really like?
I like socks a lot. Ankle socks. I never take them off.

What if they need to be washed?
Then I take them off and immediately put new ones on.


Today’s Character: A Wicked Witch

Princess Makemknowit, a witch
Princess Makemknowit

Our featured character today is the villainess from The Light Princess.

Princess Makemnoit is the King’s sister, and he forgot to invite her to his daughter’s christening. Princess Makemnoit is very clever and very wicked. Come and see her cast some evil spells in The Light Princess at the Shenkman Arts Centre on September 22 at 1:30 and 3:30, and then again on September 29 at the Irving Greenberg Centre, home of GCTC.

What do you do?
I cast spells. Would you like me to turn you into a frog? (Evil laugh.)

What colour are your pyjamas?
As black as my heart, with black spots.

What’s your favourite bedtime story?
Hansel and Gretel. Too bad about the end!

What do you have for breakfast?
Hansel. (Another evil laugh.)

Where would you most like to go on holidays?
The dark, dark woods.

When did your first big adventure start?
When I was not invited to the christening. I decided to go anyway and make the whole family miserable.

Where did it take you?
To the palace, of course. It was a lovely party, until I arrived. (Evil laugh).

Why did you get involved?
I wanted to teach them a lesson.

What three things would you bring to a deserted island?
My book of spells, eye of newt and my dragon! Have you seen my dragon?

Who would you most like to get stuck in an elevator with?
Rumpelstiltskin. Such a naughty little man. I’m sure we’d have a lot in common.

What’s one thing you don’t like?
Blue skies and sunshine.

Do you have a catch phrase?
Won’t I just?

Do you have any bad habits?
Sometimes I’m kind to small animals.

What scares you?
Sometimes I scare myself.

Recent comments

We always are happy to get comments from our audience—especially when they’re like this!

It was well paced, which kept the children’s’ interest, and the story moved along quite well. The music was excellent, and the audience interaction from the two main performers really enhanced the experience for the children and adults in attendance! There were lots of giggles, squeals, and gasps at all the right parts! The kids clearly enjoyed themselves.

Rag and Bone presented a magical performance, and kept the attention of this age group. .. The musical accompaniment on accordion and with some singing really makes this story work, and the creation of the seascape with different pieces of cloth was great.

We love your performances. We appreciate being able to introduce our children to the classics in an entertaining way. This show had a lot of appeal for our early adolescent daughter as well. Thank you!

Awesome show … so creative … beautiful voices … THANK YOU!

Excellent, high quality show suitable for the family … music (was) beautiful … duration just right … Q & A at end of show great! Thank you.

Excellent! Good props. Super puppets! Performance was scary but the children were not scared!

Excellent show. Loved the music!

Great show – something for everyone – even us adults.

Great show. Very entertaining for young and old alike.

Thank you. Wonderful show.

Fabulous show!

Wonderful! Very creative. Thank you.

We love your shows and try to see them all. Frances really enjoyed Felicity Falls. Bravo!

I like the scary parts. The frog was my favourite animal because he is silly.

That was absolutely marvellous. Your interpretation of the story and delivery of the puppet show was captivating and superb.

Wonderful imagery.

Excellent! We loved it!

Really fun! Great use of props and what great clothes!

Excellent show.

It was fun!

It was really funny.

Great fun! Would love to come again.

Great show! Thanks for sharing folklore with the kids.

Love the evocative use of props for water, trees etc. Love the simplicity of the script – so accessible to kids without dumbing it down.

Wow! My whole family laughed and were thoroughly entertained. What excellent value. You are all so talented. What a super experience for kids. Thank you.

You did a fantastic job telling the story clearly and engagingly.

Wonderful! Music was beautifully performed and presentation was enchanting! ☺

Cassandra liked the music with the instruments. She especially liked the nightingale. Isabella liked the Grand Master and his personality. Genevieve like the humour. Darren like the creativity which made you imagine along with the story. Mary Ann liked the flow of the story and how it was always very interesting.

There was lots of music – various soft and loud sounds. The puppeteers did a great job moving the puppets. My favourite scene was in the forest looking for the nightingale.

It was very interesting because I am Chinese. I would love more Chinese fairy
tales at the theatre. The actors are amazing. Encore! Encore!

Excellent Show! Very innovative. Made us laugh!