The Ontario Puppetry Association
The Ontario Puppetry Association

The Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival
was once again held in August in Almonte, and the OPA was there. Dan Wood and Karen Waterman (Waterwood Theatre Projects) brought the OPA puppet book collection to Main Street for a pop-up library that turned into the place to be. All manner of puppeteers, puppets and fans dropped by to chat, browse and just get out of the sun. Karen filed this report:
OPA Pop-up Library at Puppets Up! 2016
We have just returned from the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival in Almonte. The OPA set up a Pop-Up Puppet Library on the main street of Almonte featuring books from the McKay/Merten Collection that now resides with the OPA.

What a great weekend it was. The OPA presence was a welcome addition to the busy street fair and tent theatres set up around town. Many people stopped by to look through the books, tell us of their puppet experiences and enquire about membership in the OPA and Unima Canada. Some people briefly flipped through the books and others stayed for hours.

The collection includes books about puppet manipulation, shadow puppets, marionettes, scripts, set design and puppet history. There were young and old visitors from Ontario, Quebec, New York City, Russia, Mexico, India and France. May took pictures and notes and made drawings. We handed out more than 100 OPA postcards. What was most exciting was the enthusiasm for puppetry and the electric creative atmosphere of the festival.

We were able to slip away and see shows from the US, Canada and India. A highlight was “The Snowflake Man” by Sarah Frechette from Portland, Oregon who created a unique table-top show. Matthew Romaine the Laughtertainer premiered his new show, “Songs and Stories from Around the World”. Kerry Corrigan (Studio Babette), Jay Wilson (Pandora's Sox) and Robin Polfuss (Puppet Allsorts) all performed at the Cabaret on Saturday night to hearty laughter and warm applause.

It was a fantastic opportunity for puppetry artists to connect in a common cause and celebrate the art form. The OPA had a strong presence and the resources provided was welcome. It was good to have the collection see the light of day and share some of the knowledge of the past with others.

Puppets Up! Festival

Dan Wood

Karen Waterwood & Matthew Romaine

Browsing the books

Sandy Irvine & Sarah Freschette

Sarah Freschette holds Lindy the Marionette

Dan & Karen

Dan & Kerry Corrigan with Lindy


During the Parade

Robin Pulfuss and WhatWhat with Roroart Puppets

Banjo Puppets Booth

Teddy Dong's Puppet Booth
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