- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Recreational artifacts
- Sub-category Public entertainment device
- Department Folklore
- Museum CMH
- Earliest 1950/01/01
- Latest 1969/12/31
- Related activity Puppetry
- Caption Characters from theatre productions
- Additional Information Variety show performances, mid to late 1950's (Clown on Unicycle). Various performances, 1960's (Juggler)
- Caption The Variety Show
- Additional Information A well-known singer and a virtuoso musician perform a popular song. A clown practises a juggling feat. In a variety show, it's the technical skills of the puppeteer - behind the marionette - that are really under the spotlight. Based on the tradition of the travelling circus, a variety show consists of short numbers performed by one or more marionettes. More important than the story is the panache given to the puppet's movements and the realism of the imitations. Excerpt from exhibition text: Strings, Springs and Finger Things: A New Puppet Collection at the Museum, May 1996 to August 1998
- Caption Gladys McPherson
Gladys McPherson trained in puppetry with George Merten. She was a founding member of the Hamilton Marionette Club, and trained many of the group's members. With her husband and Ken and Dorothy McKay, she founded the Hamilton Junior Marionette Club, which provided training for young people in Hamilton.
Adapted from Figuratively Speaking : Puppetry in Ontario by Ken McKay, copyright 1990. Courtesy of the Ontario Puppetry Association and Ken McKay.
- Caption Nancy Kyle
Dancer and display artist Nancy Kyle (née Hazell) discovered puppetry by accident. She first made puppets for a design assignment, and became so interested in them that she began training with the Toronto Guild of Puppetry and with George Merten. She later assisted puppeteers George and Elizabeth Merten in their productions, and was a frequent puppetry instructor at the Guild and through the Ontario Board of Education's Community Programs Branch. Kyle specialized in cast papier-mâché, and many of the photographs in George Merten's books feature Kyle's hands at work. She produced puppetry variety acts to classical music, which she toured throughout Southern Ontario. Kyle was deeply involved in the Ontario Puppetry Association, and was director of the organization's Puppet Centre from 1984 to 1987. She also served as vice-president of the Puppeteers of America.
Adapted from Figuratively Speaking: Puppetry in Ontario by Ken McKay, copyright 1990. Courtesy of the Ontario Puppetry Association and Ken McKay.
- Caption Marionette
(Alternate name: String Puppet)
This category of puppet is controlled from above using strings. Marionettes are usually fully articulated, with strings linking the different parts of the body - head, torso, arms, legs - to a hand-held "control". Several different types of controls exist, with various degrees of complexity (vertical, horizontal, angled). Marionettes can be made of a wide range of materials: wood, paper, fabric, foam rubber, etc.
Marionette combining two characters - sometimes more - which are usually placed side by side and attached to the same control. This type of puppet is most often used when similar characters must make identical movements; e.g., a corps de ballet.
A marionette constructed and strung in a way that allows it to perform precise and intricate activities (e.g., juggling, performing complex manoeuvres on a trapeze), or to transform (e.g., when one character changes into another). In the latter case, it should be noted that the term "transformation marionette" can also be used.