Module Specifications

Current Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title
Module Code
Online Module Resources

Module TeachersMartin Molony
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
The purpose of this module is to expose students to the communication opportunities offered through the use of puppetry and what distinguishes it from other forms of performance art as a means of communication.

Learning Outcomes
1. Recognise the potential of puppetry as a form of communication.
2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the history or development of puppetry.
3. Distinguish and describe various forms of puppetry.
4. Identify the limitations and strengths of puppetry as a form of communication.
5. Recognise the communication strengths of particular forms of puppetry.
6. Produce a puppetry-based piece of communication.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture15Weekly class contact and tutor consulation
Lecture5Guest lectures by puppetry practitioners
Tutorial18Workshops in puppetry production & performance
Lecturer supervised learning12Visits to performance and production venues
Assignment25Case Study Assignment
Group work50Group Production
On-line learning40Use of course-related material on Moodle
Library15Accessing academic journals
Independent learning70General research; production and performance practice
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at:

Indicative Content and Learning Activities
What is Puppetry?.
Defining Puppetry: A Puppet Tree; Principal forms of puppetry: masks, body puppets, hand puppets, rod puppets, marionettes, remote controlled figures, shadow figures, animated figures, computer-generated figures, virtual performer / object; Ventriloquism; Characteristics of the puppeteer; Edward Gordon Craig and the uber-marionette; George Bernard Shaw on puppets;.

Origins and History of Puppetry.
Puppets pre-dating actors; Eastern roots; Bunraku; Puppetry in Europe since the Renaissance; Motions; The origins of Punch: Commedia dell'Arte, Petrushka, Pulcinella, Polichinelle, Guignol, Petruk, Kasperl, Casper, Karagioz, Karagiosis, Punch & Joan, Punch & Judy; Radical puppetry; Voice of everyman; Vaudiville, Variety and Music Halll; Cabaret; "Modern" Puppetry; Puppetry & Animation; Puppetry in film and televsion..

Puppetry in Ireland.
Stretch's Show; Swift & Puppets; D'Arc's Marionettes; Irish Ventriloquists abroad; George Boyle; Eugene Lambert; Dublin Marionette Group; Puppet Opera Company; Ventriloquism on the Radio; Murphy agus a Chairde; Brogeen Follows the Magic Tune; Baile Beag; Lambert Puppet Theatre, Wanderly Wagon; Bosco; Dustin; Macnas; Zig and Zag; Puca Puppets; Podge & Rodge; Anglo - The Musical..

Puppetry as a form of Communication.
Communication attributes of puppetry; Puppetry as an alternative form of communication; Puppetry's abiity to overcome barriers to communication; The puppet as an intermediary; Alternative personae; Puppetry as an allegorical tool; Communicaiton facets of ventriloquism; Use of puppetry for communicating sensitive or taboo messages; Cross-cultural use of puppetry; Using puppetry for social change; Case studies in the use of puppetry-based communication and performance..

Puppetry as a form of Popular Entertainment.
Choosing a puppetry medium for a purpose; Strengths and weaknesses of puppetry as entertainment; Puppetry as an allegorical form; Puppetry as a caricature; Puppetry as a form of satire; Spitting Image; Avenue Q..

Puppetry in Film & Television.
Puppets vs Actors; Restrictions and opportunities for puppetry on film and television; Use of puppets in advertising; Andy Pandy; Muffin the Mule; Captain Scarlet; Thunderbirds; Seasame Street; Spitting Image; The Muppet Show; Barney; Team America; Puppetry on Irish television..

Puppetry in Education and Therapy.
Puppetry as an educational tool; Puppetry as a therapeutic tool; Puppets as surrogates; Puppetry as a means of social expression; Puppetry as a language for teachers; The puppet as an intermediary; Therapeutic puppetry; Case studies in educational and theraputic puppetry..

Glove, rod, shadow and string puppetry; Character development; Storytelling with puppets; Construction; Manipulation; Production..

Guest Practitioners:.
Cliff Dolliver (Dowtcha Puppets); Miriam Lambert (Lambert Puppet Theatre); Niamh Lawlor (Puca Puppets); Professor John McCormick (Puppeteer and founder of TCD Drama Department);.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reflective journalIndividual Reflective Journal: Students are required to maintain a weekly reflective journal, based on their experience of each of the sessions for this module.20%Every Week
EssayIndividual Case Study: To describe and analyse the use of puppetry, EITHER: - in a particular situation to address a particular communications requirement; OR - by a particular puppeteer, ventriloquist or puppet company.40%n/a
Group project Group Production: To produce a puppet performance intended to achieve a stated communication objective.40%n/a
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category
Indicative Reading List
  • Bicat, Tina: 2007, Puppets and Performing Objects: A Practical Guide, Crowood Press, Marlborough, Wiltshire,
  • Currell, David: 2002, Puppets and Puppet Theatre, Crowood Press, Marlborough, Wiltshire,
  • Francis, Penny: 2012, Puppetry: A Reader in Theatre Practice, Palgrave Macmillian, London,
  • Bell, John (editor): 2001, Puppets, Masks and Performing Objects, New York University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Bernier, Matthew and O’Hare, Judith (editors): 2005, Puppetry in Education and Therapy, Authorhouse,
  • Chester, Lewis: 1986, Tooth & Claw: The inside story of Spitting Image, Faber and Faber, London,
  • Collier, John Payne: 2006, Punch and Judy: A Short History, Dover Publications Inc, Mineola, New York,
  • Connor, Steven: 2001, Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism, Oxford University Press,
  • Finch, Christopher: 1981, Of Muppets & Men: The Making of the Muppet Show, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York,
  • Icon Group International: 2009, Puppetry: Webster's Timeline History, 1121 - 2007, Icon Group International,
  • McCormick, John: 2004, The Victorian Marionette Theatre, University of Iowa Press, Iowa,
  • McCormick, John: 2005, Popular Puppet Theatre in Europe 1800 - 1914, Cambridge University Press,
  • Segel, Harold B.: 1995, Pinocchio's Progeny, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London,
  • Sherzer, Dina and Sherzer, Joel (editors): 2006, Humor and Comedy in Puppetry, Bowling Green University Popular Press, Wisconsin,
  • Speaigt, George: 1990, The History of the English Puppet Theatre, 2nd edition, Robert Hale, London,
Other Resources
Programme or List of Programmes
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