SANGEETHA UNNITHAN

School children put their creativity to use and made puppets out of plastic waste.

How can you connect a discarded plastic bottle with creativity? If you were a participant at the creative workshop recently organised at the Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds, on the sidelines of the Thiruvananthapuram Book Fair, you would know just how. For others who missed it, the answer is puppetry.

Fun workshop

For the 120 odd school students who participated in the two-day puppetry programme at the creative workshop, used-plastic bottles now mean a lot of fun. The students went about collecting discarded plastic bottles from around the premises of the Kanakakkunnu Palace and turned them into brilliantly coloured puppets of different shapes. They then proceeded to turn them into lively characters for their mini skits.

The puppetry sessions led by artist and activist A.K. Krishnakumar turned out to be fun-filled experience for the children, who also learned a few lessons on environmental protection through the programme.

“The objective of this programme is to use puppets to educate and entertain children. The idea is to create awareness about eco-friendly practices by using waste materials to make props that can aid them in their creative pursuits,” said Mr. Krishnakumar, who led the programme on behalf of the Kerala Shasthra Sahitya Parishad.

“Plastic bottles are just one of the many mediums which can be used to create puppets. Also used in puppetry are disposable cups and waste paper,” said Mr. Krishnakumar who is also a member of Pavakoodu Nattarivu Patana Kendram, a puppetry group based in Malappuram.

He added that puppetry can be used as an efficient medium to create awareness about many social issues. But it is with children that puppets work the best. “Children can bring in more fantasy and creativity into puppetry. They turn their puppets into mythical characters or even aliens,” he said.

That is not just it. Puppetry also integrates a lot of creative pursuits like drawing, painting, acting, music and what not. “Back in Malappuram some schools are also using puppetry to teach lessons. It helps students in understanding their lessons better and also makes learning great fun,” Mr. Krishnakumar said. For the participants of the creative workshop the puppetry programme led to the discovery of a whole new world of colours and creativity.