Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia launched the Institute of Puppetry Arts in 1998 with the aim of promoting and enhancing the art of puppetry both at home and abroad. Classes, workshops and demonstrations, both in-house and through outreach sessions, are tailored to the specific needs of family participants, teachers, recreation leaders, theatre professionals and industry. Jim Morrow is the project's principal advisor, while Mermaid's senior puppetry experts are available for longer-term residencies and performance projects in addition to shorter assignments.
Based at Mermaid’s spacious headquarters in Windsor, NS, the Institute’s intensive professional-level annual sessions (ANIMOTION) are intended for those with a strong interest in puppetry and physical theatre and the desire to expand their range of abilities. Graduates of these programs are eligible for apprenticeships and eventual touring engagements with Mermaid’s flagship productions.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Institute’s seasonal puppetry camps sees youngsters from around the area enrolling in these innovative programs. In addition to summer camps and occasional single-day youth workshops, we also travel to area schools for residencies or single-day puppet manipulation or construction workshops. More information about our local workshops is here.
Institute instructors have been warmly welcomed in worldwide locations, with workshop frequently offered in conjunction with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s global touring. The Institute’s faculty members include professional associates who are recognized experts in the fields of theatre, music, dance, design, and construction. We offer a standard workshop to presenters who are bringing a Mermaid production to their venue, which takes place on stage and allows children or adults to learn the basics of Mermaid's unique style of puppetry in a hands-on setting.
With the innovative touring productions of SUNKEN TREASURES and CODE GREEN, the Institute of Puppetry Arts pioneered in the development of a new kind of performance for schools. Drawing its themes directly from the school curriculum, The Institute creates shows in conjunction with professionals in the field (i.e. scientists and biologists), with a view to enriching and reinforcing classroom material. The touring company transforms the gymnasium with scenic elements that envelop the audience on all sides. Innovative puppets, hand crafted in exquisite detail, travel in, around and over the heads of students. Extensive use of informative video footage, interpretive comments, and evocative soundscapes add to an unforgettable experience.