The puppets started with a phone call between Joanie Cunningham and Lorna MacLean, a talented close friend. It wasn't a short call because neither had ever made puppets, and the ideas that were discussed seemed pretty crazy, but Lorna agreed to help anyway. From there, they researched blacklight reactive materials and how to build puppets. After a few false starts, an electric carving knife and lots of hot glue sticks were bought. Then they started to see some progress.
Each main puppet started with a cardboard mouth. The head was shaped around the mouth and covered with fleece. Ears and eyes got attached. A body made of foam was formed, shaped much like a barrel, and got covered with fleece. Arms and legs, made of stuffing, were formed, with handles on the wrists and ankles. Then, just like Frankenstein, they were all stitched together.
More people were asked to help make the props. Three houses needed to be made, one of pool noodles, one of jelly beans, and one of rolling stones. In actuality, each was built on a frame of black PVC tubing, carved out of rigid insulating foam, and painted with special UV reactive latex paint. Nigel Kearns, Steven Rolls, and Heather Kennedy MacIsaac worked together to build these crazy houses.
Another piece to the puzzle were the smaller puppets to be handled by the younger puppeteers. These puppets were flowers that grew up on stage and danced to the music. A very creative group based in Halifax called Team Possibles helped with this part. Team Possibles is an arts exploration group made up of young adults with Down syndrome and their peers (ages 15-30).
And finally, we needed a butterfly and bumble bee. Every children's story should have a butterfly and bumble bee. Carolyn Guy dreamed up how they should look and work on stage and then went about creating puppets that did just that.
Carolyn Guy – Board Member & Puppet Creator
I am the president of the board of directors of The WeirdBeard Troupe. As well, I have created the large butterfly puppet and the bumblebee puppet seen during the transition between scenes in The Three Little Pigs. I will be on hand during the night of the performances to assist as one of the crew.
I am excited to be a part of the WeirdBeard Troupe as I am inspired by Joanie Cunnigham’s vision for individuals with Down Syndrome.
Heather Kennedy MacIsaac – House Painter
I am still glowing…and it's not from the paint!
Nigel Kearns – Technical Advisor & Prop Builder
C0-Master of the Dark Side. "May the Foam be with you."
Steve`s Tattooing – DJ Jazzy Hogg's Tattoos
If you ever need a giant, black-light pig puppet tattooed, these guys get the job done!
Steven Rolls – Creative & Prop Builder
Young Apprentice of the Dark Side
Every now and then a project pops up which makes to say “Boy, do I have to be part of that”. That is exactly what WeirdBeard was for me. I love a creative idea and being able to build so I’ve hung up my computer mouse, jointed the Dark Side and am helping pump out set pieces. “I have never worked so hard of things that will never be seen”
P.S. The building goes much easier once you realize the construction does not have to happen in complete blackness.
Team Possibles – Prop Builders
These members from Team Possibles built our three flower puppets:
– Renee Forrestall
– Marie Forrestall Webb
– Millie Forrestall Webb
– Johnny McNeil
– Cerah MacIntyre