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Bagley Puppet Pageant: Building community thru the theatre arts

Julie Boada,  Anne Sawyer,  Kids, & Puppets.jpg

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre at Bagley Elementary

…sometimes a child who is a little more shy, when they can put on a mask or put on a puppet, they can give voice to that character in a way that if it's just them standing on stage, they might not be able to…you'll see kids who are super introverted suddenly just come to life on stage with it. – Ann Sawyer, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

For nearly two weeks, Anne Sawyer and Julie Boada from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre have been facilitating a multigenerational, multi-cultural creative experience at Bagley Elementary School. This Saturday at 3pm, the public is invited to attend the puppet pageant production of Nana Boozhoo and the Woodpecker, an Ojibwe story about how Nana Boozhoo defeats a fever with help from a woodpecker. Bagley residents young and old have been practicing their parts, creating puppets and other props, and learning Ojibwe language to bring the story to life. It’s a project made possible with grants from the Region 2 Arts Council and the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment.

It's a collaboration with Bagley Area Arts Collaborative and Indian Education and Community Education to really try to work with the various populations that are part of the Bagley larger community…We have from preschool to adults, and everyone's working together… the kids see the grown ups trying and creating and there’s not that many situations where that wide age range is really working together. – Anne Sawyer, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s mission is to bring people together for the common good thru the power of puppet and mask performance. Through their productions and experiences, they strive to build creativity, empathy and interconnection among the people they impact.

To hear about the production, how the project is impacting those involved, and how puppets create opportunities for expression and inclusion that other forms of performance do not, click on the green bubble above!

We're excited about thinking down the road about what can really happen with this… it's such a way to express your inner self, even if you're just building… the three of us ladies who have been here, we're all over 70 years old, and I know every one of us, when we walk in this room, we feel probably 25 or 30. So it's a great conduit for all of us. And that's what's just so fun about…this project. - Janet Brademan, Bagley Area Arts Collaborative

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.