Saturday 1 December 2018

Life Outside the Box puppets on Nationwide

As a result of our appearance on RTE's The People's Angelus the Life Outside the Box project was featured on Nationwide.

It shows project faciliator Corina Duyn at her home and studio in Lismore, and interviews project participant Ann O'Grady, and shows a short clip of our film.

Thank you RTE for your support of our project.

Case Study of 'Life Outside the Box'

Dear friends,

It is with pleasure to announce that the funders of the Life Outside the Box Project: Create - Artist in the Community Scheme/ Arts Council of Ireland, published a case study of our project.
still from 'Life Outside the Box puppetry film
Filming Life Outside the Box  at Dungarvan Shopping centre

Case Study can be read in full HERE

Abstracts from the case study: 


The Monday group of the IWA-Dungarvan Resource Centre, of which Corina was a member at the time, consisted of about twelve members. Participants ranged in age from 27 till 73, male and female, living with either limited/partial mobility; congenital physical disabilities; long term illness, which also impacts on the finer motor skills; or acquired brain injuries.

Aims – What was the vision behind the project?

The IWA’s aim was to stimulate and/or rekindle involvement in the creative process, exploring new avenues for creative expression within the individual’s current ability; To empower the members by having input in this long-term group project, from start to finish.
The Artist’s vision was to make sure that all the members were part of the project. As Corina had been a member of this group for almost a year, she had a good understanding of her fellow member’s challenges and abilities. IWA staff was there to assist all members including the artist.

Artistic Outputs

The group created nine puppets, a large ‘disability box’ and large hand; a booklet which documents to process, and a short film. Members were invited to create their individual pages in the book, with some input from a local graphic designer. Every draft of the book was shared, edited and approved by the members and staff. Local filmmaker Alan O’Callaghan filmed the puppets stepping out of the Box at our local shopping centre, chosen as a public place to interact with the public.
Initial launches were held at Dungarvan and Waterford libraries. One of the puppet makers Mark Foley gave a wonderful talk about the project and what it meant to the group as people living with disabilities. His talk was followed by a funny and thought provoking speech by Sean Murphy, who delved into the idea of being ‘boxed’ in, for example people telling ‘you don’t know anything about [this] so don’t even try’. He suggested to ‘do it anyway’.
The group curated the ‘Dis-ability … This Ability’ exhibition at the Tramore Coastguard Cultural Centre to highlight our puppets. For this they created a series of blank notebooks, with images of our puppets on the cover.


Apart from the empowering effect of the project for participants, the project received a lot of interest from the media and the public. The launches and exhibition were well documented in local newspapers, as well as being subject of interviews on WLR FM. Arts and Disability Ireland supported the launches/exhibition on their website.
The film was screened at the Picture This… Film Festival in Calgary, Canada (2017). To coincide with this, the film was shown for one week before every movie in the group’s local cinema. The film was also selected for the Together! 2017 Disability Film Festival, London.
A one-minute adapted version is screened every three months as part of the People’s Angelus on RTE1 television. This resulted in RTE’s Nationwide visiting Corina’s house and studio to interview Corina and Ann O’Grady, one of the IWA members to talk about the project.

Project review by Andrea Lloyd - IWA Service Coordinator at the time of the project.

"This project always had the potential to be exciting from the very beginning. Even though we have ended up with a fantastic end product, for us it has always been about the process. The project has provided service users with focused activity for many months. As each week has gone by the anticipation of what might be possible has grown. Each service user has developed their puppet into real characters, with completely different personalities.
"Whilst the project became all about the puppets coming out of their box, in reality it was the service users that also ‘came out of their box’ to realise that they could do much more than they thought they were capable of. From creating the puppets, to writing press releases and presenting the project to the public at the launch, service users have been in control. They have taken complete ownership of the project at every stage. They have made the decisions and directed the launch and associated press and PR with minimal support from IWA staff. 
"The project has raised the profile of both the IWA locally and provided the opportunity for people with physical disabilities to be seen in a positive light… An excellent project with positive benefits for all involved”.

Case Study can be read in full HERE

Thursday 26 July 2018

'Reflections on Puppetry' at Cork Puppetry Festival

Corina Duyn will be giving a talk as part of the

Cork Puppetry Festival 


Venue: Festival Club,  St. Peter’s Cork, North Main Street, Cork city
Date:   Friday August 3rd
Time:   11am
Cost:    This event is free of charge

The venue is wheelchair accessible

Cork Puppetry Festival 2018

Corina will share her story, and that of others who live with chronic illness/disability and are the makers of puppets. How puppetry can be a creative way to convey our true life experiences, challenges and (creative) triumphs.

The talk is about 30 minutes with Question and Answer session afterwards.

There is also a small exhibition of puppets made by Corina and her students. Including 'The Reflection Girls' and the Rig made by Cork Artist Dominic Fee.

Also there will be short films about the puppets exploring illness/disability issues.

Full details, see HERE

Hope to welcome you to Cork.


The Life Outside the Box Project 

was also recently highlighted on NATIONWIDE 

See 16 minutes into the program

Thursday 1 March 2018

Talks on Puppetry and Disability at Nottingham Puppet Festival

Corina Duyn, the facilitator of the Life Outside the Box Puppet project is embarking on a speaking and research tour of the UK.
Starting with talks at the Nothingham Puppet Festival.
(details of other talks will be posted later)

Puppetry, Disability and Health
Speakers Include: Corina Duyn, Karrie Marshall

Fri 23 March, 2pm - 5pm
Bonington Building Lecture Theatre, Nottingham Trent University

Puppetry has always been a part of cultural wellbeing. Its rich use of the fine and dramatic arts has created fantastic possibilities for professionals working in disability arts and healthcare. The craft of puppetry is particularly effective in facilitating communication and increased participation in fields such as autism, dementia care and mental health.

Writing for Puppetry

Speakers include: Melvyn Miller, Corina Duyn

Sat 24 March, 3.30pm - 6pm

Newton Building Lecture Theatre 4, Nottingham Trent University

Playwriting and dramaturgy function very differently for puppets and actors. There have been some high-profile performances such as War Horseadapted to stage using puppetry, but what are the challenges of using puppetry for a playwright and dramaturg? We’ve invited experts to open and discuss this very exciting debate about how to create great writing for puppetry.

  • Free
  • Hearing loop installed
  • Sign Language Interpreted
  • Wheelchair access
(If you're attending the 'Writing for Pupppetry' event , please contact the organisors if you require  sign language, as it is not n place automatically)

Click HERE to read of Corina's crowd-funding event to help her with accommodation, and PA support 

Recent puppet related blog posts by Corina

  • Wheelchair AccessWheelchair Access

Thursday 21 December 2017

Christmas lunch paid for by the Life Outside the Box puppets

With funds raised from the sales of puppet project books and puppet notebooks, the puppets brought some of the people involved in the project out for lunch. Unfortunately, not all members could make it.

Thank you all those who have funded our work through buying our books/notebook. They are still available! (click on the links above)

Puppet project members:
(from left clockwise) Corina, Ann, Margaret Ann, ... John,
...,  Paul, ..., Pat
(... are IWA staff )

We had a great time at Crew's Restaurant in Dungarvan, and were very well looked after.

I had not seem some of the members for a while, so it was lovely to catch up with them about their lives and hear the continued enthusiasm for the puppet project.

Ideas which came from the members for further use of the puppets.

  • Talks at schools?
  • Make more puppets?
  • Longer film?
  • Use of puppets in advertising?


I updated the members/makers where their film has been shown since we last met, and where the puppets have brought me personally. 
That the film has captured the imagination of researchers in the field of puppetry and disability worldwide, and from the public in general.

I also shared the new puppet design I am working on, which will make it easier to manipulate a puppet while seated in a wheelchair, and for those who have limited strength in their hands.

Proud, so proud of all who were part of this project. And hopeful their story is far from being finished!

From all of us at 'Life Outside the Box' we would like to wish you a wonderful year ahead, and thank you for your company along this amazing puppet adventure! X

desert was 'plate-licking'good!
and there is always a way to indulge in the

Sunday 12 November 2017

Screening of 'Life Outside the Box' at Together! 2017 Disability Film Festival

Our film "Life Outside the Box" will be shown during the 

Screening will be during 

the Animate! programme, 

which runs from 2.45pm-3.15pm on Saturday 9 December 2017 

at the Old Town Hall, Stratford E15 4BQ, London, UK.

As part of the Together! 2017 Disability Film Festival. 
The UK’s only film festival bringing together films by and about disabled people from across impairment groups.
The majority of films will be London, UK or World Premieres.. 

The sixth annual Together! Disability History Month Festival, runs from the 17th November till 15th December. Showcasing the work of Disabled artists from East London, the UK and across the world. Unless specified all events are FREE, are open to everyone and are not ticketed: just turn up.
All festival details are on this website.

Note from organisers:  During the festival there will be links to the online versions, trailers or DVD sales site as applicable. This extends the Festival audience beyond the real-time audience. We then keep the programmes online so that programmers, curators, scholars and film fans are able to use our website as a portal to discover Disability Film in the Future. 

PS. The next TV appearance during the People's Angelus is on Friday 1st December at 6pm.

Sunday 22 October 2017

'Life Outside the Box' in Puppet Place newsletter.

Puppet Place in Bristol recently did an interview with Corina Duyn, facilitator of the project. 

It looks at her creative background, life with illness/disability and how all this lead to the

Life Outside the Box project and furhter puppet making adventures.

Abstract from the article related to Life Outside the Box
"You have been very prolific as an artist in many mediums, painting & drawing, sculpture, writing and poetry, doll making and even weaving. How important are puppets to your work at the moment?
Very much so. Following on from the 6 months of work I did on the ‘Life Outside The Box’ project with the Irish Wheelchair Association, I was invited to speak at the ‘Broken Puppet’ Symposium on Puppets, Disability and Health at UCC in Cork. Our video has now been shown on Irish national TV and at the Disability Film Festival ‘Picture This’ in Canada.   Attending the symposium was like stepping into a completely new world and yet when I entered it, and moved about with open eyes and ears, I realised I had been part of this amazing, creative, fun, healing, and astonishing place for pretty much all my life.
The engagement of people with disabilities with puppets, not only as a form of therapy, but as creators and artists in their own right is something that can be transformative. Listening to the stories and speakers at the event has only served to reinforce to me what a powerful, evocative and meaningful role puppets have played in peoples lives throughout the years and will continue to do so long into the future.
I have now returned to teaching puppet making, in small groups and by social media/email. Only for one and a half hours a week at the moment but what great fun it is. I am improving my ability to set my own limits to what I can do and enjoying finding ways to enable my students to work on their own puppets in my studio, or in their own homes. The healing effect of teaching puppet making is not something that might bring about a miraculous recovery from my illness, although one would be very welcome however it came about, but it is bringing a new energy into my life and who can say where that will lead.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Corina. Is it puppets, puppets, puppets all the way now?
Absolutely. My return to teaching puppet making and the experience of the symposium and discussions around disability and health has created an energy and enthusiasm that will take me onto the next stage of my journey."
two puppets facing each other. Reflection puppets by Corina Duyn
"Reflections" Puppets- project in progress.

Further reading about Corina Duyn's current "Reflections" puppet project:

Thank you for visiting, and please do let us know what your thoughts, and any questions.