Puppetarians: Puppets are best friends and teachers of children
Lucknow: There is not anyone who has not played with puppets (remember the doll that you used to deck up and play mom, or the robot who you made fight aliens during our childhood?) Puppets influence our childhood in a way we can never fathom.
Two puppeteers understood this power puppets possessed and undertook a journey that led them to harness this unique power for the cause of education and learning.
Sangya Ojha and Hashim Haider, began their puppetry careers in 2005 as puppeteers for Sesame Street India aka Galli Galli Sim Sim (the famous kids’ show on television). Understanding how puppet characters can propagate early childhood education and influence children in a way unparallel, these two talented puppeteers started a unique brand of puppet edutainment and called it ‘The Puppetarians’.
The Puppetarians is a one-of-its-kind puppet design and performance company in Mumbai that creates unique, loveable puppet characters, generates entertaining yet informative content, organises shows with puppets employing story-telling, music, dance and games; conducts puppet-making and puppetry technique workshops for both children and adults; and collaborates with theatre spaces/schools/activity clubs/story-telling clubs/artist hubs – practically any place where there’s an audience.
The Puppetarians also conduct workshops on ‘Use of Puppets in Classrooms’ as their Teachers’ Training Program. “Teachers shouldn’t just use puppets because they are asked to. Puppets should be used to create a world where the children feel welcomed to have fun and interact with the characters as their friends. Learning will happen by default! ” stresses Sangya.
Chaman, Nandu, Monster G, Sheila – these are some of the puppet characters and are as unique as the name ‘Puppetarians’ itself. Hashim says: “According to us, a Puppetarian is a person who constantly lives in the world full of puppets and that’s what we do at The Puppetarians!”
The Puppetarians have also widely travelled with their shows and puppetry workshops. They have also collaborated with tv shows and made and performed puppets for them - like Mogambo-Zogambo, the
father and son duo for DID Little Masters and Acting Ka Keeda for India’s Best Dramebaaz on Zee Tv, kauwwa Kauwwa for 9X Jalwa, Sona and T for Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz and many more.
This World Puppetry Day they say “Our vision is to constantly create enngaging and meaningful puppetry works that help children in India to learn with fun, and communicate their fears, hopes and dreams without inhibition as we’ve seen kids talk to a puppet more freely than humans. We have had parents come and tell us after our shows that they are surprised to see their otherwise shy and reticent child reacting to the story and the puppet characters like never before.
"And therein lay the magic of this art form. Let’s Play Puppets!”