Local puppeteer Tim Gosley is teaming up with the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria to bring the the Puppets for Peace festival to the city this fall.
Coinciding with the UN International Day of Peace, the festival uses the unique craft to promote social change.
“Sometimes people think puppets are all light and fluffy, and they often are, but there’s a depth to it as well,” Gosley said. “We’re trying to create a balance between entertainment and fun and our theme of bringing the world together.”
The festival begins Sept. 19, 1 p.m. at the University of Victoria, where puppeteers will be joined by the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership for a panel on how puppets and other performance art can be used to promote social change.
Other events include an anarchist puppet/poet slam at Roxy Theatre, celebrity signings by Karen Prell of Fraggle Rock and Judith Lawrence of Mr. Dressup and screenings of puppet short films both family-friendly and adult-oriented.
Workshops and performances will be held all day Sept. 20 at the Bay Centre. Styles include Muppeteering, First Nations puppetry, Chinese shadow puppets and Javanese Dhalang, which involves projecting puppet shadows onto a screen.
Puppets for Peace will conclude with a peace parade from Craigdarroch Castle to Government House off Rockland Avenue, where a multitude of mini-shows and activities will be held.
Gosley, who grew up in Victoria, originally studied drama, but drifted towards puppeteering after discovering he was “too shy” to be an actor.
Upon moving to Toronto, he landed spots on Fraggle Rock, Canadian Sesame Street and Wumpa’s World, where he earned a Gemini Award in for his work as Tiguak the polar bear. Since returning to Victoria, he’s shifted his focus to more “artsy” puppet forms, including three-dimensional shadow puppetry.
“Defining puppetry is like trying to define folk music,” Gosley said. “Most people have an image in their head of what it is, but it encompasses so many genres that there isn’t really an adequate explanation for it.”
Puppets for Peace runs from Sept. 19 to 21, with events catering to a variety of age groups. A full schedule is available online at puppetsforpeace.weebly.com.