Giving children a creative outlet
Jolputul Puppets, a Dhaka-based community of puppetry enthusiasts, inaugurated a new puppet school over the weekend. The school, located at the capital's Elephant Road, will allow young kids to learn the once popular craft of puppetry.
Students will be trained on various aspects of the art form, like how to make and control puppets, and how to design stories and settings for live shows.
"We want our students to get familiar with various kinds of puppets and the process of making them using everyday items," says Saiful. "Our curriculum will also help them understand how to create a setting for a puppet show. Besides, we also teach them how to develop their own stories and make it presentable to their audience."
Originally set to open earlier in the year, the school's inauguration had to be delayed due to the coronavirus. "We had been planning to begin activities at our puppet school for a while," says Saiful Jarnal, Creative Director at Jolputul Puppets. "But like everything else, the pandemic brought those plans to a screeching halt."
"Initially, we ran a series of live puppet-making sessions on our Facebook page. This went on for about 40 days. But we weren't fully on-board with the idea of making kids sit through these virtual sessions," Saiful recounted. "We would rather that they spend less time on smartphones and computers, which is why we decided to begin in-person classes."
Classes are scheduled for weekends, and students can choose to come on any one of the two days. Currently, each session is limited to around 5 to 10 students and is conducted over a period of two-and-a-half hours.
Once the pandemic situation improves, Jolputul Puppets expects to enrol a larger number of students and hold classes outside the capital, Saiful said.
Currently, the school is operating a 2-month course on puppetry. In the first month, students are introduced to the basics, while in the second, they are provided with more advanced lessons related to the craft.
"It's my first day here with my child, and from what I can tell, everything seems very well managed," says Zakir Hasan, parent of a student at the school. "I overheard the children enjoying themselves inside the class, and I feel content to know that."