20 June 2005
Who wants to be a puppeteer?
In an article "Who wants to be a puppeteer?" posted today on Arts Hub, Australia, Naomi Guss discusses the bleak state of puppetry in Australia, or should I say, 'Melbourne'!
Guss indicates that there are only two puppetry courses currently running in Australia, the VCA's Postgrad and Master of Puppetry, run by Peter Wilson in Melbourne and another run at the University of South Australia. Too bad, the writer didn't look any further into what's happening in a few other Australian cities!
In Western Australia, there are courses run by Spare Parts, who have a school of puppetry in Freemantle and the Film and Television Institute in Perth run often courses in puppetry and animation.
In Sydney, there are courses running at the TAFE Design Centre in Enmore, where I taught 170 students during the first semister this year. Then at Sydney Film School, where I also teach varied courses - the main thrust being 'Puppetry for Film and Television'. This is just a start - there are more!
I agree with Guss that there is very limited funding for the Arts, especially for puppetry in Australia, but I come from a country, namely South Africa, where there was absolutely no funding for the arts (especially-so puppetry) where I spent most of my life! So what's the solution? Keep lobbying and bringing puppeteers together to unify and work together on projects. Using both our joint artistic ability and the power of the group, we should eventually get the message across. But still puppetry seems quite isolated and parochial in this country and the only way to change this, is for us to get off our butts and do the work!
Enough said, read the article and let the age old puppetry debate continue!!