Puppets as Storytellers

Subject THTR20042 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Southbank - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 01-Feb-2016 to 17-Feb-2016
Assessment Period End 14-Mar-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 25-Oct-2015
Census Date 12-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 26-Feb-2016

This Subject will be delivered intensively over 3 weeks

This subject has a February enrolment quota of 26.

Selection is based on the order in which students enrol in the subject.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 60 hours
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Mr Mark Postlethwaite


Coordinator: markrp@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

A puppet allows alternative modes of authorship not easily achieved with live actors. This subject will initially examine the history of puppetry as a story telling language including the methods of construction and operation of various styles of puppet. The outcome of allocated research topics will be used to formulate ideas for a specific puppet character. Students should then apply this research to the design/making process required to make a puppet. The emphasis will be on the animation of the inanimate through the discovery of a “soul”. The puppet must have a purpose for being “alive” a reason to exist, a world to occupy, and a history of experiences to define the character that emerges

Some materials will be provided as part of a materials levy ($50.00 per student) however students will also need to supply specific materials for the realisation of their individual designed puppet in addition to this fee. Costs will vary depending on materials selected.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject will expose participants to the history of puppets as a storytelling vehicle and explore the nature of transforming the inanimate to the “living” character through the design and making of an operable puppet character.


Research component: A research paper exploring a style of puppetry and its cultural context (1,000 words or equivalent) (worth 20%)
Due end of week 1 (day 4) of classes, subject will be delivered as a Summer break Intensive over 2 weeks

Design Portfolio: A folio of research images, concept drawings, working drawings and related materials. (1,000 words or equivalent)
Due beginning of week 2 (day 6) of classes (worth 30%)

Completed Puppet (1,000 words or equivalent)
Due end of week 2 (day 10) of classes (worth 30%)

Guided Self Reflection (1,000 words or equivalent)
Due 1 week after final class (worth 20%)

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students should come away from this study with an understanding of;

  • The historical context of puppetry as a storytelling vehicle
  • The concept of imbuing an inanimate object with life.
  • The performative theory’s surrounding puppetry and their influence on the design and realisation of a puppet.
  • The process of developing and problem solving a design from concept to completion around the fundamental premise of “character”.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Contemporary Music)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film and Television)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Production)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Screenwriting)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art)

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