Category Archives: Events

Puppets in Partnership Festival, 14-16 June 2013


Image by Warren Apel

About Puppets in Partnership
Jay Griffiths: ‘Kith: the Riddle of the Childscape’

Puppets in Partnership is a small participatory arts festival in Govan, Glasgow being held on the 14-16 June 2013. It is delivered by Govan Folk University in partnership with CRAN Theatre and local schools, community groups, and theatrical production companies.
The festival has performances suitable for all ages.

Why a puppet festival?

Masks, puppets, magic and performing objects are tools of transformation. They are a kind of seismograph of the consciousness that we have of ourselves and others. They are unique tools of empowerment and group collaboration; keys to cross-cultural and intercultural performance and the promotion of international peace, friendship and understanding. (Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre)

The art of puppetry has a long heritage and has often been used as a means of addressing and commenting on issues which ordinary people feel are important politically, spiritually and culturally. We are proud to present this festival in Govan, showcasing performances and puppets both from professionals and the local community.


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As well as the anchor organisations involved in Govan Folk University and our partner CRAN Theatre, the festival includes involvement from author Jay Griffiths, Govan High Autism Unit, Pirie Park Primary School, Yugen Puppets, Little Branches Nursery, Penny Geggies, Gingerbread Puppets and Puppet State Theatre.

Puppetry is an excellent means by which participants can gain self confidence, social skills and work experience. Performing as a puppeteer within a group can also teach teamwork, self expression, creativity and craft skills.

Because of its tactile, visible, participatory nature it is also the ideal means of encouraging involvement and celebration. We also recognise the valuable role that convivial arts such as puppetry can play in encouraging the formation of healthy communities.


Often thought of as an art-form solely for children, puppetry actually has a very strong history of presenting argument and encouraging debate (often in a quite provocative, even ribald fashion). The Commedia del Arte plays passed influence back and forth with puppet theatre: Mr Punch is an obvious example of cross-fertilisation, being strongly related to the character Pulcinello. Mr Punch was originally a representative of the people who would prick pomposity, attack social injustice and corruption: often to the point that such shows were banned! Puppets themselves hold a great fascination and magic. They can be beautiful, grotesque, comic and evocative. Some are highly sophisticated, capable of a great range of expression and others can be as simple as a face drawn on the back of a wooden spoon. The Puppets in Partnership festival will be showcasing a wide variety of expressions of the art.


The three venues used for the festival are all within Central Govan, easily accessible by public transport. Govan Subway Station is a few minutes walk away. Govan Bus Station is well served  with frequent bus services (check Traveline Scotland to plan your journey).

Govan Old Parish Church, 866 Govan Rd G51 3UU
Govan Cross Church, 796 Govan Road G51 2YL
The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, Glasgow G51 3UU

Link to Open Street Map of the area

Schedule (running times subject to change)

Tickets for all events are £1 at the venue.

Friday 14th June:

1800- The Pearce Institute Jay Griffiths- Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape (more information below)

Saturday 15th June:

1200- Govan Old Parish Church Sixpenny Pies, Penny Geggies (ages 5+)

penny-geggies logo

Penny Geggies returns to Govan with some slap-stick nonsense based on nursery rhymes. Who will rid the kingdom of the big green ogre? Will Princess Alexandra find her handsome prince? Who ate all the pies? All of these questions and more will be ignored in a riotous production by this much-missed puppet theatre company.

1300- Govan Cross Church The Great Silkie, Pirie Park Primary 5 (ages 4-94)


A magical tale from Orkney. A silkie- a seal at sea and a man on land- comes ashore looking for a girl to have his child.

1400- Govan Old Parish Church The Magic Horse, Yugen Puppets (ages 5+)

magic horse

When Fingal – the hero of our story – is given a magic horse, his life changes forever. The horse takes him to a prince, who tells him to fetch a princess, who in turn sends him on a number of quests. But who will marry the princess – Fingal or the prince? In this Scottish fairy tale, Yugen uses storytelling with audience involvement. Children become courtiers, mountains and magnificent castles. Puppets move through human forests, fields and snapping crocodile waters. This show uses cloth puppets in a setting of patchwork trees, fields and sky and has an original Scottish soundtrack.

1500- Govan Cross Church The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Branches Nursery (ages under 6)


Eric Carle’s story of the hungry caterpillar that eats everything in sight.

1600- Govan Cross Church The Garden Waits For Spring, Govan High (ages 7+)

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Pupils of Govan High have devised a piece of puppet theatre which deals with their concerns about climate change, the balance of the seasons and their interest in gardening. Can the evil Jack Frost be beaten by team-work, loyalty to friends and a bit of magical know-how? Don’t ask the seagulls – they’ve got more than enough to say for themselves!

1630- Govan Old Parish Church Sixpenny Pies, Penny Geggies (ages 5+) (repeat of earlier performance)

Sunday 16th June:

1100- Govan Cross Church Feeding the Crowd, Gingerbread Puppets (this show is free and forms part of regular Sunday morning worship- suitable for all ages)


A bible story. Jesus sails across Lake Galilee. A  crowd follows him by land. How are all these people to be fed?

1300- Govan Old Parish Church Sixpenny Pies, Penny Geggies (ages 5+)

1400- Govan Cross Church Theseus and the Minotaur, Gingerbread Puppets (suitable for all ages)


Classical tale from ancient Greece. Theseus, a prince of Athens goes into the labyrinth in Crete to struggle with the Minotaur , a creature that is half-man half-bull.

1500- Govan Old Parish Church Sixpenny Pies, Penny Geggies (ages 5+) (repeat of earlier performance)

1600- Govan Old Parish Church The Man Who Planted Trees, Puppet State Theatre (age 7 to adults)

This multi-sensory theatrical adaptation of Jean Giono’s environmental classic tells the inspiring story of a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn, transforming a barren wasteland. As much a touching tale as it is a hilarious puppet show, THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES shows us the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world.

Information on Jay Griffiths’ event on the 14th of June, ‘Kith: the Riddle of the Childscape’


Jay will be joined by a special guest who will be announced closer to the event.

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in indigenous cultures. From communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses anthropology, history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children’s affinity for the natural world, for animals and woodlands, and examines the quest element of childhood. Arguing that the risk-averse society enfeebles children, robbing them of the physical freedom they both want and need, Griffiths illustrates how the stress of overscheduled lives denies children their hours of unclocked reverie.

Kith examines the history of breaking the will of the child and explores issues of childhood privacy, contemporary surveillance, the importance of folk tales, children’s relationship with pets and the profound politics of childhood. It looks at the extraordinary psycho-drama played out when Settler children, taken by Native Americans, refused to be rescued, and includes the way children have seized power over their own lives. A book of stories, it includes the one real-life Lord of the Flies situation – with the result the reverse of Golding’s bleak vision.

In its urgent defence of the rights and needs of every child, Kith is an impassioned, illuminating analysis of the heart of human experience.

Jay Griffiths previous books include Wild: An Elemental Journey which won the inaugural Orion Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orwell prize; Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time which won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for best new non-fiction writer in 2003; Anarchipelago and A Love Letter To A Stray Moon, a fictionalised biography of Frida Khalo.

Advance praise for Kith

‘Kith could have been written by no-one but Jay Griffiths. It is ablaze with her love of the physical world and her passionate moral sense that goodness and a true relation with nature are intimately connected. She has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn’t just good – it’s necessary’ Philip Pullman

‘Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children’ KT Tunstall

‘An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late’
Iain McGilchrist

‘Kith is a call to live life intensely and authentically, vividly, and with grace, humour and passion. Griffiths has politised awe and wonder and play’ Niall Griffiths

‘Jay Griffiths is one of our most poetic and passionate critics of the ways of civilisation, provocative, illuminating and shamelessly romantic’ Theodore Zeldin

‘Kith is a subterranean book. We excavate it to refind the secrets of childhood, our own, and many other childhoods in times and places far from ours. We join an underground resistance to the capital of grown-up greed, accountancy and profit. We rejoin the Bears.’ John Berger