Thursday evening, Oct. 24, students from the Thunder Mountain High School drama department will join students from Glacier Valley Elementary School to present a combined puppetry performance in the Glacier Valley commons. The performance marks the culmination of a project conducted at both schools led by teaching artist Ryan Conarro, called “Puppetry: Strong Characters, Expansive Imaginations.”
Conarro, current artist-in-residence at both TMHS and Glacier Valley, has been working on the project with the students since the beginning of the school year, teaching them to build a variety of puppet forms — including shadow, rod, bunraku and marionettes — and to build stories around the puppets they’ve created. The stories focus on character strengths, Glacier Valley’s theme for a positive school atmosphere this year.
In tonight’s performance, students will move throughout the school, showcasing the work of the third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms that participated in the project, as well as that of the TMHS drama students. The high school puppeteers will begin the event, performing a story in which the characters fall asleep and must gather a number of positive traits in order to awaken from their dream. They will then guide audience members through the school building, visiting classrooms to witness the elementary students’ puppet performances, each focusing on a different character strength.
The performance begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Glacier Valley School. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
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, a federal agency, with additional support from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Glacier Valley Parent Group, and the TMHS Drama Department, led by Barbara Jo Maier.