The Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival

Marionette Making Workshop

with Maritime Marionettes

Students create a 5-string marionette, in one hour, with several basic, everyday materials gathered by the students in advance of the workshop.

During the workshop the students will learn how the distribution of weight in the puppet body affects the movement of the character. They will also learn how to adjust the strings to the right length to achieve good control. The marionette the participants create will be very expressive and able to perform many human actions and express emotions. The basic manipulation will be shown to the puppet makers by the marionette artists.

All workshop supplies and tools must be gathered by the students and brought to class for the workshop, *Pre-cut fabric can be sent to the schools, if desired. This would be at a cost of approx. $3 per student

  1. *One piece of fabric-cut to min. 20” x 20”or 50 cm x 50cm, max 24”x 24”or60 cm x 60 cm
    1. It is essential that the fabric is supple and will drape ie: a light scarf, old t-shirt, thin polyester knit fabric. Test your fabric by holding up a drinking glass and draping the fabric over it to see if it falls naturally around the glass. Ideally it will sway a bit when you rotate the glass. (No stiff cottons, such as heavy pillowcases, or heavy fabrics.)
  2. One skein or ball of yarn, medium weight – The yarn will become the head, hands and feet of your character, so pick a colour accordingly. It should contrast well with the colour of your fabric, so the hands and face standout. Also, it can be, but does not have to be a natural skin tone. You can use several different colours in one marionette if desired.
  3. Duct tape, or masking tape – (will use 3 to 4 pieces approx.19cm or 7 inches long)
  4. Corrugated cardboard, (could be from a shoe box)one square piece, minimum 7” x 7” or 19cm x 19cm
  5. Two popsicle sticks, or 2 short pieces of dowel, or 2 small sticks approx. 4” or 11cm in length.
  1. ruler, or soft tape measure
  2. scissors
  3. glue gun and glue sticks 

All DramaFest Workshops have limited availability and may also be limited due to bookings by other classes. This workshop is not available May 5th. 

Outcomes for Grades 10 and 11:
  • Students will be able to respond with critical awareness to their own work and to the work of others.
  • Students will address problems and make decisions relating to their drama work.
  • Students will demonstrate personal growth through drama.

Heather and Darryll Taylor of Maritime Marionettes have been giving puppetry workshops for over 30 years. They have led hands-on puppet manipulation workshops for both children and adults. In the past 7 years, the Taylors have instructed hundreds of workshops in the school system in all regions of Nova Scotia. The performance duo has also taught classes on marionette making while on tour outside of the province in communities including Ontario, BC, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Salt Lake City, Utah. View the Maritime Marionette’s profile here.

  1. This workshop is a mostly desk-based workshop. 
  2. This workshops requires some supplies.

Book now

Please note: Theatre Nova Scotia respectfully requests that schools and community groups ideally do not cancel workshops once they are booked, unless absolutely necessary. If a group must cancel or reschedule, please give us a week of prior notice. In these precarious days for arts workers, TNS is going to great lengths to provide schools with exceptional theatre education and local artists with paid work in our industry. Please be aware that artists may have turned down other paid work to accommodate these workshop bookings. Thank you for your understanding.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

Students stay seated throughout this workshop.

This workshop requires some supplies.