Monday, 7 August 2017

Puppets created and performed by people with disabilities

The Life Outside the Box Puppet Project was mentioned in the
'Puppetry as reinforcement or rupture of cultural perceptions of the disabled body.' 
A paper written by Laura Purcell-Gates & Emma Fisher. 
Published in 
Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. 
Published online: 26 Jun 2017.

To link to this article: 

This article proposes puppetry as a practice uniquely situated to intervene in ideological constructions of the disabled body both onstage and off. Examining our current and recent practice-based research that uses puppetry to intervene in cultural perceptions of disability, we put forth a provocation, asking readers to consider the ways in which puppetry practices can be deployed to enable performances by disabled puppeteers as well as in ways that engage with cultural constructions of disability. We suggest that puppets, as bodies that are materially constructed, can both reinforce and rupture such constructions. 

page 364 (2nd page - 2nd paragraph in the online document):

... Disability arts practices in Ireland that engage with puppetry include both theatrical and therapeutic practices. Theatrical engagements include explorations of how disability might be differently enacted in society, such as artist and writer Corina Duyns collaboration with fellow members of the Irish Wheelchair Association to create a puppetry community arts piece titled Life Outside the Box which premiered in 2016, with puppets created and performed by people with disabilities to explore the idea that people with disabilities can gain freedom by stepping outside of societys disability box.1  Therapeutic practices include the development of artistic skills in people with disabilities, such as the Arts in Dis- ability workshops of Dublin-based Artastic, a street spectacle, entertainment and arts education organisation, in which adults and children with disabilities construct and puppeteer direct-manipulation puppets.2 Countering the isolation of children in hospitals, including children with disabilities, and enabling creative conversations that connect them to the wider community was the core aim of Helium ArtsPuppet Portal Project in 20092010.3 

  1. Life Outside the Box website with link to book and DVD:
  2. Website with images from Artastic arts in disability workshops:
  3. Helium ArtsPuppet Portal Project website: 

    Link to this article: 

    Laura Purcell-Gates & Emma Fisher (2017) Puppetry as reinforcement or rupture of cultural perceptions of the disabled body, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 22:3, 363-372, DOI: 10.1080/13569783.2017.1329652

    RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance is a refereed journal aimed at those who are interested in applying performance practices to cultural engagement, educational innovation and social change. It provides an international forum for research into drama and theatre conducted in community, educational, developmental and therapeutic contexts. ... read more 

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