July 18, 2024

Puppet workshop brings creativity to kids

The afternoon at the end of their run-through on Wednesday, June 26. Members of the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre stand with the kids, who show off the puppets they performed with.

Cloth, sewed buttons, wooden rods and clay heads show a different side of theater for those participating in a local workshop.

With a creative flair and love for performance, the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre has arrived in Creston under a guest artist residency hosted by Creston Arts and Crest Area Theater, holding weeklong workshops with local children.

Two workshops are taking place this week, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These workshops culminate into performances Friday. All workshops are led by members of the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre.

The morning workshop invites kids from grades 2-5 to the Creston Arts building to make their own puppets, getting an early introduction to the history of puppet performance and getting a chance to collaborate with other kids to make their own show. The kids will learn different forms of puppetry, from hand puppets to shadow puppets and more.

Each day of the workshop involves kids learning about a certain form of puppetry, and then making puppets and applying what they had learned. Each puppet is hand-crafted, painted and sewn by the kids.

Madison Miller poses with her puppet, which she made herself. Choosing the fabric, painting the clay head and sewing cloth patches were done all by the morning workshop participants.

An open house at the Creston Arts building will be held for the morning workshop at 9:30 a.m. with an “informance” at 11, where the kids will present the puppets they made and perform what they learned throughout the workshop.

The afternoon invites middle school kids from grades 6-12 to SWCC to help produce and perform a full 30-minute show. Eulenspiegel have brought the show “Remembering Buxton” to the workshop. They will show the full show at the Performing Arts Center at SWCC Friday at 7 p.m., with $5 per ticket, with one child admitted free with each paying adult.

The afternoon workshop learned rod puppetry, using puppets made by Eulenspiegel for the workshop. The kids’ skills focused on the minutiae of puppetry and performance, learning from the artists and improving their skills throughout multiple run-throughs of the show.

Eulenspiegel describes their goal for the workshops to “guide students to explore the creation and performance of puppetry, an ancient and expressive art that integrates visual art, theatre, and movement.”

The afternoon workshop will bring the show “Remembering Buxton” to life. Eulenspiegel describes the show as “a compelling story that brings to life the unique history of Buxton, Iowa, a coal mining town known for its racial diversity and vibrant community spirit.”

Buxton was a coal mining town in southern Iowa in existence from about 1900 to 1925. The show will reenact the daily life of the town, an Emancipation celebration, a fire and a parade for women’s suffrage.

The show is composed by Iowan Dartanyan Brown, whose grandmother had lived in Buxton. Brown is a resident in Des Moines and a member of the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame. He will be in Creston performing his soundtrack alongside the puppet workshop on Friday.

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre are a nonprofit theater group dedicated to teaching and introducing puppetry to local communities. Their 50th anniversary happens to fall this year in 2024.

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.