Storytelling Through Shadow Puppetry on the South West Coast

Lay Summary 

“Storytelling through Shadow Puppetry on the Southwest Coast” is an artistic means to increase tourism in the area. We worked with four groups in the area: the Isle aux Morts Theatre Festival (IAM), the Codroy Valley Marshland Interpretation Centre (CV), the Port aux Basques Heritage Railway Museum (PAB), and the Rose Blanche Lighthouse (RB) to create shadow puppet plays on local stories. I hired local Isle aux Morts playwright and storyteller, Dylan Farrell, to travel to each community and find three stories from each locale. We then examined the tales, and through communication with the various organizations, selected a story for each one. For CV, we helped them tell the story of Mary Sandy, a local matriarch, who was saved from a near death experience during a wild winter storm. In PAB, we received permission to use the Sherry Ryan song “Stop the Trains,” about human weathervane Lauchie MacDougall, and how he would control the trains moving through Wreckhouse, NL. In Isle aux Morts we told the Ann Harvey story, of how she rescued survivors from the shipwreck of the Despatch; and we told of another shipwreck, the Dorothy Edwards, and the rescue of the crew by locals in Rose Blanche. Each of these shows was presented in the community, along with our own play "The Brass Button Man," which is a tale from Burnt Islands, a community next door to Isle aux Morts. Afterwards, 3D printed puppets were created, which will be taken back to the communities in Summer 2021 (delayed by the 2020 pandemic), in order to remount these shows as a Summer tourist attraction. Special thanks to the Harris Centre and ArtsNL for their assistance on this project.

English Language and Literature
Isle aux Morts
Channel-Port aux Basques
Rose Blanche-Harbour le Cou
Newfoundland and Labrador
Start date 
3 Jul 2019
End date 
3 Sep 2021