by Leah Before taking my daughter to her first Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre show, I worried. Would she have the patience to sit through an entire performance? Would the puppets scare her, or worse--would she be bored? Could a puppet show interest a kid with access to animated movies and phone apps?
After the performance started, I quickly realized how little I knew about puppetry and about Rag and Bone in particular. Co-founders Kathy MacLellan and John Nolan are award-winning masters of story-telling and their craft. In their hands, the simplest objects became expressive characters. Complex full-figured puppets breathed life. The children in the audience were as fascinated by the technical aspects of puppetry, as they were by the stories being told. My daughter wasn’t scared by the puppets—if anything, she related better to the stories because it was “like playing with dolls”.
Watching Kathy and John weave among the audience members, performing, responding to the children’s reactions, and seeing the older audience members lean in closer, it is obvious that they have an exceptional ability to connect with audiences of all ages and different backgrounds.
Since that first time, we’ve now gone to a number of Rag & Bone performances. With an emphasis upon classic children’s stories like The Wind in the Willows, combined with dance, music, and video, they create theatre that’s fresh, memorable and definitely fun. After seeing The Flying Canoe, I watched my daughter and her friends come up with their own stories about talking cats, howling like wolves, and sailing over the trees.
If you haven’t taken your child to see Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre, you are missing an extraordinary experience. Their next performance is an adaptation of the Canadian children's classic, Zoom at Sea, by Governor-General Award Winner and Member of the Order of Canada, Tim Wynne-Jones. We can't wait to see how Kathy and John create a whole ocean in a room!