Juneau-based teaching artist Ryan Conarro has organized a collaborative puppetry project that involves students from two local schools, Glacier Valley Elementary and Thunder Mountain High School.
Conarro began the project at Thunder Mountain, working with 23 students in Barbara Jo Maier’s drama classes. Those students will then act as leaders for their elementary school counterparts at Glacier Valley during the rest of the project, which will continue into October.
The students will work on creation of large-scale puppets using only paper and tape. A variety of puppet forms will be considered, including shadow, rod and bunraku puppets, as well as marionettes. Following fabrication of the puppets, they will explore basic skills for manipulating them and creating stories for performance. The stories will focus on character strengths, which is Glacier Valley’s theme for positive school atmosphere this year.
The project, called “Puppetry: Strong Characters, Expansive Imaginations,” will involve a total of seven classrooms.
The finale performance for the project will be Thursday, Oct. 24, at Glacier Valley, beginning at 6 p.m.
This project is made possible by the Alaska State Council on the Arts Artists In Schools program which receives funding support from the Alaska State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Glacier Valley Parent Group and the TMHS Drama Department.