Creation Myth Puppets works with local children to create "life enhancing" play about the climate crisis

SA Updated
Creative Myth Puppets works with local children to create "life enhancing" play about the climate crisis

South Hams children have been given the chance to work with a creative charity to express how they feel about climate change and biodiversity loss.

The project, supported by South Hams District Council, is called Talking Forest and is run by South Hams based charity Creation Myth Puppets, which specialises in allowing children to express themselves through the creation of puppets and storytelling.

It enabled 70 children from the South Hams to discuss the topics of climate change and biodiversity loss and then produce a “bright and engaging play that we can all learn from”.

Tony Gee, artistic director at Creation Myth Puppets, said: “For this project we wanted to create a piece of work that would make the issues of climate change and biodiversity more accessible to those people who are not as engaged with the subject.

“We hope that these people might be more receptive to the subject if they can hear about it through the voices of the children.”

Workshops took place over four days, with 70 children taking part in Kingsbridge and Totnes, where they were encouraged to express how they feel about the climate crisis. Between them, they built just shy of 100 puppets and created four separate plays.

These plays were then put together to create one story – the story of the Talking Forest, which was performed as a play to over 150 people in the Civic Hall in Totnes.

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Councillor for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: “What a truly inspiring way to help young people understand some of the issues facing the world today. I am pleased that as a council we were able to support this through some of the local members locality funding.

“It is so important for us to create spaces like this for children to be able to express how they feel and to bring these issues to new audiences.

“I was one of the lucky people to attend the Grand Finale and the atmosphere was absolutely buzzing. The children were totally immersed in the spirit of the production and it was clear that the adults got the message.”

Cllr John Birch, South Hams District Council’s Ward Councillor for Totnes, said: “What a simply marvellous performance. Eight South Hams District Councillors were delighted to put some of their locality money towards the creation of this project which will help to bring climate change and biodiversity discussion to life in a new way.”

A SHDC spokesperson explained: “Each councillor in South Hams has a Climate Change and Biodiversity Locality budget of £3,000 until March 2022. They can use this money to help not-for-profit groups or organisations deliver community projects that help them support the council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Declarations.

“By putting funds towards the Talking Forest project, the councillors are providing education and awareness of the Climate and Ecological emergency through direct engagement with hard to reach groups and individuals.”

South Hams Councillors who supported this project included: Cllrs O’Callaghan, Cllr Jackson, Cllr Brazil, Cllr Hodgson, Cllr Rose and Cllr Sweett, Cllr Birch and Cllr Holway. This project was also supported by Totnes Town Council.

Catherine Marlton, town clerk, Totnes Town Council, said: “This was a brilliant event which we were proud to support. It truly showcased the creativity and passion of the people of Totnes whilst highlighting the urgency of tackling climate change and supporting improved biodiversity. Hearing the positive comments from participants of all ages, it is clear what an inspiring day this was for all.”

Comments from the audience included: “We went to the Talking Forest this afternoon and I loved it, almost brought tears to my eyes at times and I was completely in awe of the amount of work you had done in such a short time. Thank you so much for the invaluable gift you have given my grandchildren.”

“Totally life enhancing, a great show and the kids were so happy, more of your magic. Wonderful!”

“Thank you so much for giving my daughter such a wonderful experience! She loved every minute of the two days she spent in the Talking Forest workshops and the production at the end was so moving. What a very special thing you all created!”

A film of the full play is being produced and the creative team hope to be able to bring the messages within it to a much wider audience. Here is a short teaser of the wonderful creations as the children were workshopping their stories.

Tony Gee, artistic director, added: “In their story the children created creatures from all over the world ranging from penguins to giraffes and orang-utans to the dodo.

“The magnificence of the modern environmental tale that the children constructed and created was reflected in the huge standing ovation they received from an audience of more than 150 people.

“For my part, it was just as magical as when we first made a huge show at the Civic back in 1989. It was simply blooming marvellous!”


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