Running a puppetry session in prison…

  • Visiting the prisons was a highlight for me, as I had never experienced that kind of environment before and it was very different to the approved premises we were working at for the PD project. It was also a highlight for me as my supervisor, Rachel, had asked me if I wanted to run a session in the two prisons, based on some of the work I do at university.
  • I obviously didn’t want to turn down this opportunity, but was slightly nervous at the thought of running a session with the inmates. I took a lot of time to think about what kind of activity I could do with them, bearing in mind I was very limited on what materials I could take into the prison environment.
  • I eventually came up with the idea of creating marionette style puppets, and then using them as a drama tool. I was told I wasn’t allowed scissors, strong glue, any form or blue-tack or putty, anything sharp, and so I started to understand that I would have to re-evaluate the whole process of making a puppet, as the way we did it with Sean in first year would be completely unfeasible.
  • I did some research and finally decided on creating them out of newspaper and tape, with the bendy part of a straw as the joints.

     

  • Although they were sceptical at first when I pulled out a tangled, slightly battered puppet from my bag, upon arrival at the prison, they all gave it a go and at the end told me they were glad they took part as it had taken their mind off other things.
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