Greek heros and monsters come alive

This week Light Bulb Fantastic helped year 3 and 4 children at Landscore Primary School, at Crediton, in Devon to bring their Greek myths alive. The students had written their own tales of what Heracles 13th task might have been.

Teacher Mei-Lin Houston said that the best part was “Being able to make their stories into real performances” and “their monsters into puppets”.

Students explored different skills. One child who struggles with written work in class, narrated a whole scene, from memory, described in a rich language that his teachers did not know he had.

The classroom was buzzing with excitement. I agree with teaching assistant, Karen Kirby, who said that the best part was “Their proud little faces when they put on their shows”

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Safety event for Devon's disabled communiity

Devon & Cornwall police have invited us to demonstrate our "Stop Bullying" and "Internet Safety" shadow puppets at their Devon Blue Light Day, at Westpoint showground.  You are welcome to come and play with the puppets, we would love to see you.

Entry is free to the event, which promotes services to help Devon's disabled community and their carers, to be active, safe and healthy.  We should be in the beautiful log cabin, which has ground floor access.  BSL interpreters available.

Wednesday 15th August 10am to 2.30pm.
Westpoint, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, EX5 1DJ (about a mile off the M5)




Stay Safe Online

Teenagers with special educational needs explore internet safety using shadow puppets. Here the puppet has two new online friends, but are they who they seem to be?  Can either of them be trusted?

During the first of two workshops for Lifeworks at Dartington, in Devon, members of the Kool Club made puppets, discussed and performed scenes around the topics of: passwords, sexting, Childline, Facebook and blocking unpleasant people.

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The Lucky Lamb

Adults with learning disabilities at Stairways in Ivybridge, Devon, created their own puppets and wrote this exciting story about the adventures of a lamb who fell off a cliff.  During the workshop they developed skills in design, dexterity, imagination and teamwork. When I played background classical music for their performance, a beautiful atmosphere of calm enchantment came over us all.


"Stop Bullying" joins forces with the police

Plymouth Police force has invited Light Bulb Fantastic to exhibit our "Stop Bullying" shadow puppets at their Blue Light Day this June.  The event is to highlight support for people with learning disabilities and includes fun attractions like access to emergency vehicles, police dog displays and the chance to play with our shadow puppets.

Most of the exhibits will be outside, so look for signs to our stage as we will be indoors.


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Backstage at Dartington, in Devon, where we performed "Dreams before Dawn" in collaboration with the talented Totnes Young People's Theatre.  On stage the actors are debating inside the mysterious Turtle Island Tavern, while the puppet screen reveals the action outside as the terrified Brian makes his unwise decision, to escape in the rowing boat out across they bay.....

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"Dreams before Dawn"

We are excited about combining live action with shadow puppets, for a collaborative performance tomorrow with Totnes Young People's Theatre.  This devised piece tells a tale of a ship wreck and mermaids seeking revenge for humans' pollution of the seas.  Even the dolphins are angry ..."and it takes a lot to annoy a dolphin!"

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Accessible Theatre this Christmas

We have been delivering a series of festive workshops for the lovely Animate Theatre, in Plymouth, who provide drama experiences for people with a variety of disabilities.

Over 5 sessions participants: experimented with puppetry skills like how to express emotions, wrote original Christmas themed scripts,  played with lighting effects and music, made their own wonderful puppets, props and scenery.

At the 6th session the air was buzzing, everyone had a part to play, as the Animate Theatre Company performed their four festive stories, to a delighted audience of friends and families.

Participants' and carers' feedback:

"Identified the SU's needs and delivered well"

"A workshop that provides socialising, cognitive, manual skills etc with an outstanding finale in the show"

"We smiled from start to finish"

"Makes me feel better with meeting all people"


World Day of Bullying Prevention

Today the world is focusing on how to tackle the international problem of bullying.  I am busy making new puppets, for workshop participants to use when expressing how this problem affects their lives and how we can deal with bullying together.  For more information about this workshop see "Stop Bullying", on the Themes Page.

 Using puppets to communicate how overpowering bullying can feel.   

Using puppets to communicate how overpowering bullying can feel.


Woodland Creatures Workshop

The wood Fair was great fun, young and old enjoyed creating a woodland scene together, bringing it alive with their charming shadow puppets.  One family decided to throw out their TV and get a shadow puppet stage instead!


Wood Fair

Create your own woodland animal or animated tree with Light Bulb Fantastic at Sustainable South Brent's Wood Fair.  This shadow puppet workshop will be from 12.30 to 1.30pm, on Saturday 9th September, at the village hall in South Brent, Devon.  Upstairs but there is a lift. Entry is free and there will be lots of other tree related activities and displays.

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Scary Monsters Party

Twin boys celebrated their 6th birthday with friends on 8th July, by creating their own scary monsters and mythical creatures shadow puppets.  As a grand finale to this Lightbulb Fantastic workshop, the children performed a story, devised themselves, to their proud and delighted families.

"Great afternoon - very varied activities; designing, making, story, performance. Very different from usual party stuff" Neil Davenport.

"Fantastic experience, variety of activities, learning new skills and working as part of a team. Great idea for a party. Evelyn loved all the colours and making. Highly recommended." Dave Glassock.

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"Stop Bullying" trial at Hooe Primary School, Plymstock.

This trial confirmed that LBF's "Stop Bullying" workshop is ready to launch.  In the morning of 6th July, 30 students, discussed, wrote, rehearsed and performed for each other a rich variety of scenes about bullying, its causes and solutions.  The year 6 students, ( 10 years old ) produced such insights as the bully whose father is a drunk and the wheelchair used accused of being a bully when she tries to defend herself from taunts.  

Student quotes included:

"You get to really explain the emotion. I enjoyed performing because if it has happened to you, you can express it without telling someone"

"I enjoyed performing most because it makes people understand more what I have been through"

"I enjoyed watching, to see what other people think about bullying"

The class teacher, Sam, said "Fantastic session that has led to all the children feeling more comfortable talking about bullying"

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"Stop Bullying" Trial at Your Way, Plymouth.

On 15th June our second trial was at the "Your Way" Studio for adults with special educational needs.  We only had half a day, so this time participants chose their puppets from a selection that Light Bulb Fantastic provided.  Following a discussion, small groups devised their own scenes, adding their personal insights, feelings and even humour. The students having a free rein allowed their teachers and me to observe and challenge any misconceptions, for example clarifying the difference between an argument and bullying.

Every student was included, differentiated support being provided as needed, for example using narration to prompt action during performances on the screen.

Sarah, Your Way support worker, said "Nice to act it out, instead of sitting listening to someone just talk about it"

Alison, Your Way project coordinator, said she learnt "People who become bullies are victims themselves and have their own issues"

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"Stop Bullying" Trial at Oakwood College, Dawlish

Bullying is a huge problem for many people with learning difficulties, so on 19th May, Light Bulb Fantastic's first trial of our anti-bullying workshop was at Oakwood College for special needs.  I was impressed at how openly the students shared their difficult experiences, of being a bully as well as being bullied.  During the day the teenagers made their own puppets, wrote, rehearsed and performed powerful scenes illustrating different aspects of bullying, its causes and solutions.

Jenny, their teacher, said it was "Informative, fun, entertaining and interesting, especially watching the students using their skills and becoming more confident throughout the day"


Christmas Magic

Join us for some Christmas Magic on Saturday 17th December at the lovely Jellyfish Gallery in Buckfastleigh, Devon.  All ages are welcome (under 11s need an adult with them) and the workshop runs from 3 - 6pm.  £10 per puppet, which you can take home. 

"Our Soil is Alive" workshop

27 participants of all ages enjoyed our workshop for Sustainable South Brent. Conversations were sparked off about the importance of the precious life in healthy soil, while tardigrades, termites and rotifers magically appeared before us.

"Our Soil is Alive"

This Saturday 3-6pm, we're running a free shadow puppet workshop "Our Soil is Alive", exploring the fascinating creatures that live in healthy soil and seeing how they are affected by our activities above it.

The workshop is part of Sustainable South Brent's 10 years party, with displays, refreshments, story telling, live music and DJ. From 3-11pm in the Village Hall at South Brent, Devon. The village hall is on the other side of the railway line from the main car park.

All ages are welcome, but under 11s need an adult to remain at the hall. It's all free. for details.

Fractions and Percentage Puppet Workshop

June 4, 2016

Adults and children alike enjoyed the shadow puppets and maths workshop.

"A creative and interactive way to learn maths. I furthered my knowledge of fractions. I also think shadow puppet workshops could be a great way to develop social/communication skills and perform comic strip stories"

Adult participant, Heather.