Shakespeare in Schools
A puppet production of THE TEMPEST for upper primary school
Dream Puppets’ The Tempest is an original production involving puppetry, live music and student participation.
The production was first performed in 2016 to commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare's death. It was launched at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne as part of the Wheeler Kids'Literacy Program in April 2017 .Macbeth - a puppet production for secondary schools. Not offered in 2016/17
The production includes story-telling, puppetry (all characters are represented by original puppets which we have crafted), shadow puppetry, singing and music. The performance is designed for uppet primary agesd children who are invited to participate as puppet manipulators, performers, and in creating the island sounds using simple instruments.
The language used is a combination of the original and modernised English and the play runs for approximately an hour.
We believe this enchanting play is accessible and deeply enjoyable for school children, as an introduction to engaging with the works of Shakespeare.
"The performance captivated the students from the start. The set, the puppets and the use of light and sound in the show was unique, interesting and helped the students experience the storyline by drawing out emotions, surprise and humour. It was fantastic to see the students actively engaged and even participating in elements of the performance.”
Richelle Hoogenraad, Dixons Creek Primary School
The wonder of The Tempest's moral fable of love, forgiveness, and personal freedom, was successfully condensed into a comfortable hour. The stars here were Dream Puppets' hand-crafted puppets. I saw the best Ariel ever — a dragonfly puppet with a long tail and gold face. The Prospero puppet bore an uncanny resemblance to the bard himself, and Caliban, with his long dreadlocks, played on the legs of an actor! The proscenium backdrop festooned with ivy and decoration created the 'woodlands'. Dramatic props which stood for larger concepts, such as the ship; and the use of non-marionette puppetry (foxes with electric, glow-in-the-dark eyes!) created an onstage 'world' for us. It even included a pop-up stage for the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand. Simplicity was the form but sophistication the mode. All the magic of this adult play was communicated to the children, without an element being discounted. After the performance, the space was made available for exploration as the team spoke of their creative process. It was a delight to see the workmanship behind the wooden dolls. A magic spell was cast over us by these storytellers, just as Prospero cast his to shipwreck his players onto his shores in order to tell his tale. We relaxed under their artisanal spell, with their old world skills, allowing our minds to 'travel' to distant worlds, suspending belief. The puppets seemed so alive when they performed. Where did they travel to when they slept? You'll need to see them live to ponder that question!
The Tempest, which was Shakespeare’s final completed play, is a miraculous tale of magic and power, murder plots, politics, revenge, sacrifice, trust, responsibility, romantic and paternal love, forgiveness, and what it means to be human. It all takes place on an island , unpredictable, dangerous and beautiful ,where human beings are at their most exposed. The puppets have been lovingly crafted to embody the characters of Prospero, the exile and magician, Miranda, his daughter, Ariel, an airy spirit, and Caliban, an island creature, as well as those shipwrecked on the island who undergo various trials.
Through discussion and suggested follow-up activities students can investigate how societies are formed, how people work together and how to best establish communities which work in harmony with their environments.
REVIEW: Dream Puppets' The Tempest
THE WHEELER CENTRE