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Christian Puppetry

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Buck-Beaver, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. GabeFirestone

    GabeFirestone Well-Known Member

    okay... let me say what i MEANT to say originally:

    i think discussing the puppetry related to church is okay, and all of the other aspects like that.... it's just that when it comes to discussing jesus being g-d, which is not something i believe in, it's SLIGHTLY uncomforitable topic. sort of like if you were reading a thread about any controvercial topic that made you feel akward. i'm bot trying to be offensive to anybody, i just think including gospel quotes is a bit too much.
  2. Punch'n'Judy

    Punch'n'Judy Well-Known Member

    If you think it will offend then the easiest option is just not to read it. Or to say to yourself that this is one persons set of beliefs, they are different to my own, life's full of these differences and get on with it.
  3. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround Well-Known Member

    Gee Gabe seems what is bothering you is that Jesus is named. It shouldn't, at least not when you consider the topic of this thread.

    I have read the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments and I would enjoy seeing a puppet show based on Jewish scripture of the Old testament such as the Exodus from Egypt or the story of Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery because they were jealous of him found in Genesis.

    Anyway as far as Christian puppetry goes I know of one troop that does Christian puppetry to keep troubled kids from troubled families active and off the street. Which is a good thing and they make new friends.

    By the way did any of you ever see "Marshall Efron's Illustrated, Simplified and Painless Sunday School" broadcast on the CBS network back in 1973? I think the show lasted 5 years.

    Marshall would play every main Biblical character acting out Bible stories and as his cast he would use store brought mannequins. He would tell the heart of the Bible story but it was hilarious when unintentionally a mannequin's arm would fall off or if they started to fall over. He would continue on with the story no matter what happened to his 'cast.' I'd love to see this series on DVD someday.
  4. Puppettude

    Puppettude New Member

    First of all, I would like to say Hello to everyone, being the 'newbie' on the forum.
    Now, on the subject of Christian Puppetry. Many of you have stated that most shows that you have seen by Christian puppet troupes were horrible. No attention to lip sync, arms flailing about the stage, ext. But, I know for a fact that not all Christian puppetry is as horrible a nightmare as that. I am a member of a Christian puppet troop called "Puppettude", and we just returned yesterday from a regional Christian puppet Festival in Agawam, Massachusetts. We drove up there with 18 puppeteers, from ages 7 to 15, and 8 adults. It was one nightmare of a drive, getting lost and all, but we made it in time for the open song competition at 9:15pm. I do agree, one of the songs preformed by one of the troupes made me sick, just the 'flipping of the lid' and poor use of arm rods. We preformed a song called 'Love is a Wonderful thing". We did a wonderful job. The next and final day of the festival, Myself and fellow puppeteer Hannah entered the "Lip Sync Challenge", where you try to lip sync to songs you may have not heard before, and out of 16 contestants, compete for 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place.
    At the award ceremony, we took home:
    A gold medal for the Open song competition
    The "Peoples Choice" Award for the Open song competition
    The "Best Props" Award for the Open song competition
    I took home first place in the Lip sync, and Hannah took home third.
    This festival was made by the 'One Way Street' a professional Christian Puppettry company. They know puppets, let me tell you that!
    This whole story was just to give an example
  5. DannyRWW

    DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    hmmm.... I haven't posted in awhile but this topic got my attention. Now first of all my full time job is teaching at a Christian school. As part of that job I run a puppet ministry group. I love puppetry (although I'm always still learning, because any skill takes practice) and this was a wonderful opportunity to take something I enjoy and use it (its also great to have puppetry be considered part of what I get paid for). I think in anything you do you should strive for excellence. While talking about my faith is important, it is also important for my group of teenagers to do the best they can as puppeteers. We work hard on our skills (though truthfully some kids are more devoted than others to learning the craft of puppetry). A down side is that because I work for a school I have to take anyone and everyone who is interested in joining our program... the plus side is that I get to see a select few turn a spark of interest in puppetry and fan it into a flame. Of my 33 puppetry students about half of them come to me daily to discuss puppets (and not just our ministry program). We share videos and study professionals. We really do strive to be the best puppeteers we can be. I guess my point is while to me personally the best blessing is sharing the message of my faith, the ability to do what I love (and get paid for it) and to share my love of puppetry with a new generation is rewarding. Lets face depending on where you live ministry programs may be the only way to use these skills. I'm thankful that I have this in my life. I love performing... (though I can always improve)... I love writing scripts (I can not stand bland scripts that force a message on people...they need to be well thought out not just a cheap "God Loves Me" message)....can we get better...yes. But I do my best to be a good puppeteer...Christian or otherwise.
  6. wes

    wes Well-Known Member


    It's good to see you angain, and that's awesome that you get to teach puppetry as part of your job. Cool I would love to do that! Keep up the wonderful work!!
  7. Puppettude

    Puppettude New Member

    I agree. Our troop is at our church, so we must let anyone who wishes to join, join.
  8. DPuppets

    DPuppets Well-Known Member

    I think there has been some really good thoughts that have been expressed.
    I think it a matter of leadership. Something I learned along time ago.
    "The Law of the Lid" You can't take anyone higher than where you are yourself. Our leaders at churches need to have a passion to do it well and relay that to the ones under them. IFa leader is not going to take the time to better themselves hard to better others. Also you might be a great puppeteer, but that does not make you a great teacher either. (I think there is a scripture on that.) Just my thoughts!
  9. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    Hey Daren,

    It's good to see you again, I agree with what you say! See you around!:)
  10. scarylarrywolf

    scarylarrywolf Well-Known Member

    I agree with just about everything that's been said about Christian puppetry on this forum so far, but I'll share a few thoughts anyway (it's good to verbalize things for yourself sometimes).

    I think one thing that people in the church who use puppetry should be doing is asking themselves why they use it. I've read far too many formulated puppet scripts that are basically just monologues without a punchline and probably shouldn't even be performed by an actor. I believe puppetry should be used as an extension or exaggeraion of human expression — if something is funny or dramatic, it can be twice as funny or dramatic if performed by a puppet. So first of all, the script needs to have a spark of creativity. If the script meets that standard then consider incorporating puppetry.

    Also, I find it sickening that puppets are only used in children's church anymore. I mean, marionettes were originally used for more effective teaching at Masses (marionette = "little Mary"). I'd take a puppet over most of the preachers I've slept through any day (and if you happen to have a puppet service at any of your churches, let me know so I can come!). At the church I went to in my pre-teen years I helped with children's church and once a year the team would hold a kids' service for the entire congregation to show them what we do — everyone loved it. I think adults appreciate puppets as much as anyone.

    Lastly I think one reason church puppetry is lacking is that not every church has the human resources to pull it off. Certain denominations and congregations have more dramatic people who are willing to serve than others, and a lot of times people with little qualification get placed in that position because no one else was willing to give up their time for the kids. Now I believe a heart for encouraging kids trumps artistic passion, but it's not the same thing. That's just what it comes down to.

    If I could sum up all my comments in one word, that word would be "think". The church has too many traditions, and I'm afraid puppet ministry could be counted as one of them. If you want to really be effective, think about why we use puppets and how we should use them — in ministry or otherwise.

    Just my 2 cents... or maybe 3.
  11. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    That is my total pet peave, any chance I get i smash that, theory

    Yes thats exactly why!!

    Maybe but there needs to be a balance, I have been know to tell a Mother that her child is great when He/she is not really good at all.
  12. RevTieDye

    RevTieDye Member

    Were the guys initials S.P.? In a workshop I teach, I use him as an example of a time I was shocked and challenged by the fact that "broke the rules" by bringing a legless puppet out in front of an audience, with no stage, and no ventriloquism. I looked on in my youthful puppet snobbery, and was promptly smacked down by an amazing display of character and a great story. I had to rethink my devotion to all the rules. (Then again, it was at a convention full of grown ups.)
  13. Whispers

    Whispers Well-Known Member

    I belong to the Christian Puppetry Ministry Team in my church and actually am a co-director. I love the chance of getting to use puppets not only to express myself through a character but also to teach children values. Of course the fundamentals of puppetry are important. I don't allow people to simply slap on a puppet and just flip the lid without actually learning to bring a character to life and make the actions and words believable.:)
  14. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    Great Job! You have to be a little strich When deal with basic skills, I had to deal with this with parents wondering why their child didn't get lead parts, I tell them basically that they need to learn their basic skills.
  15. doozerduststew

    doozerduststew New Member

    Christian Puppeteering discussion.

    I believe puppets are a great way to teach children, and puppet ministries in a church can be very effective. I agree that many church puppet ministries can be a little amateurish, but I've found one in Tucson that is actually VERY well done. It's K'Deo- they have a website and they're up on YouTube too (I think). I've been to it a lot, and it's got lots of great stuff for the parents to laugh at- not just the kids! (reminds me a lot of the Muppets).

    Anyhow, I think puppets are a GREAT way to teach kids (in a church, or school- drug abuse resistance programs etc). Go puppets!

  16. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member


    I have a couple of thoughts...One think that I've always realised while doing Puppetry in churches, and street evangelism (although I don't do a great deal of that) is that Puppets can get away with things that humans can't. They can make a joke that might be going too far if it were said by a human. They can make a hard-line statement of Christian principle, and no one is offended...after all, what does the Puppet know?

    I always include a strong message in my Puppetry in churches, but I also include a lot of humour and character and always have people laughing.

    My parents once basically dictated to me what they wanted put into a Puppet script, which in my honest opinion took the whole thing too far, and it didn't work at all. No matter what silly voices, or cool props were used.

    Still, Puppets are attention grabbing and can say things to adults, whilst talking to children, that the adults might not listen to otherwise.
  17. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I think i have told my Puppet minestry story on here before, but what I have found if you let the Puppet really kind of interact with the people (kids or adults) they really become a part of the show. That way your message comes across more clear. At least that's what I think.
  18. Alvin

    Alvin Well-Known Member

    Not sure how i found this particular thread, but here are my thoughts....I am a Christian...and I am a puppeteer. YES I have seen some BAD church puppetry...REALLY BAD. But I think there are those of us who want to change that. Myself...I would LOVE to be considered the Christian Jim Henson. I am even putting together some stuff to get something together to see if I could debut my puppets...which are very "muppet like" on the 2011 Dove Awards. If all of those other TV shows and what not can have the "Muppets" then the Christians should have their....whatever....so I am working towards that.
    Childrens entertainment these days is soooooo bad. I mean yeah sesame street is still around that's good, but these cartoons nowdays...oh my....we need something more. Take what I do, and add a whole lot of flare to it. I write ALL of what I do. Songs included. Lately I have done 80's parodies, and people eat it up, and the kids love it too. Who wouldn't love a big red monster singing a parody to "Old Time Rock-n-Roll" changed to "Jesus Saved My Soul" I am even putting together a CD with about 10 parodies on it to sell at my shows. Parodies are a legal use of music. It's good to hear that there are other Christian puppeteers who are trying to change the way church puppetry is portrayed and make it good again. Kudos to you all.
    BTW if anybody is interested in one of my parody CD's let me know...I think you would get a kick out of it, or at least I could send you a few of the songs. God bless...and keep up the good work!
  19. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    i used to be called that back in the day...

    puppety in my church is how i got my foot in the door,i was the churches puppet team leader and later became the puppet team Director

    sadly all my puppeteers where the teenagers who didnt want to be in the drama team or singers so they shoved them my way
  20. Alvin

    Alvin Well-Known Member

    LOL...yeah i worked with some teenagers at one point...when I was one....and turns out...I'm still doing it, and was even better than they were at the time. Are you recognized in your community with your puppets...if so...how did you do it? I am trying to get out there...it's tuff!

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