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idolrich shadow puppets workshop. Halton Heights, Hastings, UK.

Idolrich shadow puppets workshop at Halton Heights, Hastings.

Dreamcloth Puppetry open day

Want to learn more about the art of puppetry and how it can enhance creativity, health and wellbeing? Join Idolrich Theatre Rotto for a free day of activity, exhibition and performance on Saturday 24 April at Ore Community Centre. Nicci Talbot writes.

The Dreamcloth Puppet open day starts at 10am with a session for carers and co-ordinators to show how puppetry can be used as a tool to help older people develop their creativity, dexterity and confidence. This is followed by lunch and an exhibition of work at 12.30pm and showings and workshops at 2pm, which are open to all and will include a mix of puppet-making and performance.

The open day builds on the shadow theatre work Idolrich has done over the past year to support seniors in various settings. Shadow puppets find their origin in many corners of the world and sessions have involved a potted history as well as various activities – from being a spectator through to making and manipulation. Participants have learned new skills in crafting jointed 2 and 3D characters, experimenting with silhouettes and colour and using shadow screens to bring their creations to life. The open day is a celebration of work produced and will introduce the art of puppetry to a whole new audience.

“We are carrying on with our work in the seniors’ sector and holding this open day to show off the work produced so far and so that people can experience the magic of puppetry in real time,” says Julia Dunbar McLean, Idolrich’s artistic director. “The activity has been so well received, inducing a sense of well-being in our participants – many of whom have asked for return visits – that we are looking to extend the scheme to reach more people in East Sussex.

“Settings we have visited are sheltered accommodation, day centres, seniors’ clubs, special interest groups, care homes, nursing homes and hospitals for dementia sufferers as well as the U3A (University of the Third Age), which means we have covered a very wide age range – from 55 to 102! – whilst tailoring the activity to the varying abilities encountered”.

“I liked it, I liked the music and it’s nice to be making things,” said Tom from Barrington House Care Home in Hastings.

“Very entertaining, 10/10,” said David Rearden, a participant at the Thursday Club at Ore Community Centre.


The Dreamcloth Puppet Open Day is on Saturday 24t April from 10am to 4pm at Ore Community Centre, 455 Old London Road, TN35 3BH. It is free to attend but donations are welcome to support the work. The open day is supported by Big Local North East Hastings.

Idolrich Theatre Rotto is a Hastings-based charitably registered theatre company specialising in puppetry. They tour nationally and locally with a repertoire of children’s/family and adult shows as well as workshops and training. In the recent past they have diversified into working within the community – with young people, refugees and most recently – The Dreamcloth – in seniors’ settings. The scheme has been supported by Hastings Borough Council, Sussex Community Foundation and Big Local North East Hastings.

For more information visit the website, contact or call 01424 203944.

Posted 15:41 Monday, Apr 11, 2016 In: Community Arts

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