Star turn

13th February 1998 at 00:00
School: Airth Primary, Falkirk,150 pupils; age of children involved 4-7 and 8-12; head Janet Kerr.

What was the best arts company to visit your school in the past year? Nomad Puppets.

How did you hear about them? From Sylvia Troon, who is a great puppeteer. She recommended them.

How long did they spend with you? Two days. They took a long time and great care setting the show up.

What did they do? They put on two shows, Baboushka and the Bear for the little ones and Window of Imagination for the older ones, and they brought all their own scenery and props. For Baboushka, for example, there was the scene of a cottage in winter and cookies and buns behind the window for the bear to steal. There were all kinds of puppets from rod puppets to body puppetry and Bunraku (Japanese style) puppetry, where the puppets are held in front of the performer. The performer is always in view. Window of Imagination was about the birth of a clown and was more performer-based, about an old character called Jack - and that's about escape into the mind.

Did you do any preparation? Yes. They sent outlines of the stories in advance.

Any follow-up work? One of them, Chris Duffy, gave a fascinating and instructive demonstration lecture afterwards, using pupils for the actions and responses. They loved it. He showed how body language is used to convey the character of an old man. How much did it cost? Pounds 450 for the two days.

Who paid? Our PTA raises the funds for this kind of thing.

What was so good about it? It was so professional. The children were just spellbound throughout the performances and the demonstration lecture. Chris Duffy held them in the palm of his hands. He had a very, very good rapport with them.

How relevant was it to the curriculum?

It fitted in perfectly to art, drama - all the expressive arts and was a very good exercise in confidence building.

Chris Duffy at Nomad Puppets and Puppetry, tel: 01337 828242

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