Saturday 22 December 2012

Bullies, Puppets and Windows

When he was a child, David Poulton was bullied mercilessly because of his stammer - so much so, that he remained silent for two years. In third grade a teacher popped a puppet bear on his hand and by speaking through this character, he found his voice again. Puppets became David’s vocation. For nearly six decades he toured the world with his puppet theatre, helping children to express themselves through this art form.
He now devises the mechanical puppet theatre displays for David Jones’s famous Christmas windows. This year it took ten artists six months to create everything necessary for the displays plus a nine tonne truck to get them down from Noosa. Each window tells the story of a Christmas carol, and the puppets make synchronised, lifelike movements to the music. These aren’t hi tech puppets. You can see their strings and many of the animals are rendered in a na├»ve, understated style. They are beautifully crafted and there are tiny details in the costumes and backdrops to keep you looking.

David says puppets are powerful. And how! You only need stand by for a bit and watch the children respond to them to realise that. The kids press their bodies and hands to the windows, kiss the glass, hold out their arms, squish their noses and enter into these other worlds with abandon. There are kids like Sophie and her older sister Lucy.

And Julie……..

and hundreds of thousands of others.

This fellow does a little dance.

Glenn is selling The Big Issue near the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer window because he claims it’s the most popular one. He’s noticed children make more subtle responses compared to the adults. And speaking of adults, there are lots of delighted ones here too.

These women break out into a spontaneous round of carols.

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