Puppet Workshop Spotlights Local ‘Sheroes and Heroes’

Aspiring young artist Nikhil, age 3, works on a façade of Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen accompanied by his father Arun.
Aspiring young artist Nikhil, age 3, works on a façade of Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen accompanied by his father Arun. (Lucas Voghell/UConn Photo)

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry buzzed with community puppet-building workshops this weekend in preparation for the parade and pageant “Sheroes, Heroes, and other Champions of the Mansfield Community” that will take place Sunday.

Workshop participants will carry the puppets as part of the Celebrate Mansfield Parade on Sept. 16 at noon, part of the 15th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival. Line-up begins at 10:30 a.m. at Farrell Field near the Post Office.

Acclaimed Boston puppeteer Sara Peattie led the efforts to design and build life-size and over-life-size puppets of community role models for the parade.

Peattie is known for her dramatic creations that have become a central feature of community parades and pageants across the United States. Long a mainstay of Boston First Night festivities and the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York City, Peattie’s work—through her Boston-based Puppeteers Cooperative company and Puppet Free Library—combines community participation; simple, cheap, and practical puppet-building techniques; and design sense to allow community members of all ages to take part in the age-old pleasures of participatory puppet performance in public spaces.