Puppet Tree Community Arts - Many branches - Community Roots
Welcome to the world of
Puppet Tree!
 
Puppet Tree makes story, play, dance, excitement, mystery, laughter and wonder a part of everyone’s experiences!

Puppet Tree is here for individuals, schools, groups & communities who want to find a new direction, a new confidence or a new story to tell.


Puppet Tree is for people like you...

Puppet Tree is Ian Craigan, an experienced storyteller, community artist, educator and musician. Please take a look around the website - you'll find current activities on the Recipe Book page. If you have any comments or questions, get in touch through the "contact us" page.


Recent activity

St George saves ther day!
Puppet Tree was delighted to be invited back again to perform the One Man Mummers Play 'George & the Dragon' at St George's Park, Kidderminster for their St George's Fun Day. And on the day itself went all the way to Aylesbury to help the Town Council celebrations go off with a 'Roar!'
Thanks to loads of audience participation (and a very dodgy doctor) St George was able to vanquish wicked Dragon Scorch and rescue Maid Marion... every time!



St George and the dragon in Aylesbury (courtesy Aylesbury Town Council)






Enthusiastic performers in Kidderminster



"Ian really helped make the event – he was outstanding with the children and grown-up’s alike, each and every performance had lots of people taking part!"

Mighty Merlin
Even on holiday Ian can't stop telling stories! He was at the wonderful Dance Camp Wales having fun and they asked him to help start off Fire Night with some shadow puppets and the story of how young Merlin helped Vortigern build Caer Myrthyn. Have a look at what happened:
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Merlin movie
Ian story telling to begin Fire Night at magical Dance Camp Wales 2016. For more info about Ian's story telling activities visit www.puppettree.co.uk


Anansi visits Rubery
Once a term Ian spends a day at Rubery Nursery school sharing stories with all his friends there.





Where's that Spider gone?      
Crick Crack Story Sack
A workshop to unlock your storytelling potential! Games, tricks, secrets and props that will help any group develop as storytellers and writers; ideal for schools who want to encourage children's creativity and confidence. Year 4 Pupils at Oasis Academy Warndon are making Story Sacks to share with KS1 at the end of term. Ian's Crick Crack session kickstarted their project - the class teachers said, "Thank you again for your visit. You were great and the children thoroughly enjoyed it!"

Story props for the Crick Crack Story Sack workshopStory props for the Crick Crack Story Sack workshop


A Midsummer Night's Dream

To help schools celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Ian is presenting a lively telling of the Bard's most popular comedy. With costumes, puppets and lots of silly hats, Ian brings to life the different groups gathering in the woods to discover love and adventure: young Athenians, quarreling fairies and rustic actors! Specially devised for KS1, the show can be adapted for all ages. It can also be combined with workshops in Puck's Magic Hat making, Fairy Spell casting, Shadow Puppets and Rude Machanical Acting.
"An excellent workshop, well delivered and very engaging for the pupils. Thank you so much!" Yr 1 teacher, Perry Hall School

"Engaging and age appropriate. Very interactive, allowing the children to participate throughout." Reception teacher

Vive La France

Ian had a tres bon day with students at Pitcheroak Special School in Redditch, sharing escargot and traditional French folk tales.

Then he started clowning around when they had a wonderful Circus Day in June...









Solstice celebrations


Ian was pleased to support The Friends of Fort Royal Park with their 4th winter solstice event. Lantern making workshops in the historic Commandery were bustling with eager makers who then enjoyed a glorious sunset over the Cathedral before taking part in the celestial struggle of Sun and Moon! The beautiful Candle Labyrinth helped the Sun and Moon on the path to the solstice fires where Dry Leaf wishes were cast into the flames.




The skies the limit

Children and parents in the Teme Valley had a fantastic time building and flying kites with Puppet Tree. Organiser Vickie M wrote afterwards, "the feedback was very positive and they all thought Ian was great! One parent said, “I thought the kite workshop was fantastic and Ian was amazing.”
 
The idea was to bring together families to have a fun and entertaining morning together. This was exactly what happened and the bonus was that everyone took home something that they had created together. It was also interesting to watch adults working on their own, separate to their children who didn’t want their help.
 
Comments from the children included, “this is the best meeting ever…”
 
"I strongly believe in using materials that are available in our homes and making activities accessible to everyone – this was definitely achieved".



Pitcheroak Pirates
Ooooh Aaaar!
What a wild day on the ocean waves at Pitcheroak Special School in Redditch. congratulations to every teacher and pupil for their fantastic outfits. Ian had a grand day, recruiting his new crew for the good ship Puppet Tree. Every pupil passed the tests with flying colours - or should I say Jolly Rogers! Sadly, the parrot isn't so clever...

"Great resources, engaging and enthusiastic story teller, pupils had a great experience during Pirate Day!" Jo M, Pitcheroak

Dinosaur drama
The 2015 Year 3 project at Highters Heath was a trip back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the earth! Using their imaginations (and a handy Time Portal) year 3 delved into the past to find brand new monsters - and rap about them! After their exciting assembly, year 3 wrote some fantastic letters to Ian:




  • "When I digged with soil it was really interesting because the thing at the bottom was the oldest thing there was."
  • "My favourite part of the project was when we all made shadow puppets because I used coloured paper."
  • "I liked the dinosaur rap because S... said 'he was too big, he looked like a pig!'"
  • "The best thing was doing the drama because we had to do freeze picture frames!"
  • "My favourite part was the assembly and I loved working with you."




Anansi & Turtle
Key Stage 1 at Our Lady and St Kenelm's in Halesowen are really into Minibeasts - so what better than to enjoy a few Anansi stories! After singing and laughing together we set about retelling the story of how clever Turtle got his own back on greedy Anansi with some really colourful puppets - and the children used brilliant character voices too!





Back to Top Toy Island!
When children are asleep where do their favourite toys go? Top Toy Island is the answer for reception children at Highter's Heath Primary in Birmingham. 

Over a single week with the class of 30, Ian helps them to create puppets representing their cuddly toys; a maze depicting scenes from the island's town, jungle and seaside; recordings of music and stories. The work is celebrated in a half hour assembly where the children take parents and other pupils on a guided tour of Top Toy Island's sights and sounds. Would your school like to discover the delights of the Island? Get in

Listen to our special recordings:

Jungle
recorded using Garage Band
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Beach
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Town
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Gong Hay Fat Choy!
We've been celebrating Chinese New Year in style! The year of the Monkey started with a bang, with stories, Monkey Crowns, music and Dragon Dancing in Scargill Infants, Rainham, Essex  this February. Our Chinese New Year story and craft sessions are getting more and more popular - If you'd like to book Puppet Tree for 2017 and the Year of the Rooster then click the Fu for Luck!

Church Lench Primary dancing their Dragon!

"Ian was a true professional. Great for reception- he made the session very visual, used actions to support his talking and had a great relationship with the children! The children loved it!!!!" Scargill Infants

"The kids, and adults, loved it! One boy in my class said you were amazing and he wished you could come home with him to tell him stories!" Church Lench PS

"Fantastic session - children were directly involved in all activities and had lots of fun. Great energy and lots of cross curricular links were made. The children loved it!" Streetsbrook Infants


Mystery Detectives
For his 2013 residency with Year 3 at Highter's Heath Primary in Birmingham, Ian helped the class investigate a mystery. Why was the playground littered with metal junk? Why did things keep disappearing from round the school? Who were the strange new staff - Mrs Mars, Mr Mercury, Venus Orbit and Neptune Comet - and why did they all look similar? Working in Detective Teams the children gathered evidence, interviewed suspects, made video appeals, acted out scenarios, formed theories and in their end of term assembly revealed their startling conclusions!
This was the third year in a row that Ian had been invited into the school to run a project designed to improve writing and speaking through drama and dramatic situation. Contact Ian to discuss how your school could benefit too!

"Puppet Tree were excellent at working with the objectives requested. They provided the children with an excellent basis for stimulating writing later on in the week’s literacy lessons." Yr 3 Teacher, Highter's Heath

"Ian, thank you for coming and doing stuff I hope you can come again very soon. We are nicking your song!" Year 3 pupil

African Adventures
As a child Ian lived in Ghana and Nigeria, and visited Tanzania & Botswana - so he's delighted to be sharing stories, dance and drumming from the various cultures of West and East Africa in schools workshops throughout the West Midlands. With so many schools developing links with African schools, there's no better way to enthuse pupils than to enjoy the vibrant tales and sounds of the continent. Bring your world into fun focus and contact Ian today.


Goso the teacher - a tale from Tanzania


Digging for dinosaurs
We're having a dinosaur picnic - but can't remember what they eat! Does Dippy the Diplodocus like meat? Is Trixie the Triceratops a picky eater? And what does Terry T. rex like to nibble? Ian's dinosaur workshop starts off with a dilemma for the children to help solve and the action never stops; Brontosaurus stomping songs, creating Raptor Raps and finally excavating a whole baby T Rex skeleton keep everybody learning to love these amazing reptiles. Discover dinosaurs today!

Digging for bones at Worcester Home Educator Group


Aladdin & the Magic Mobile
Ronksy Starz is a weekly drama club that Ian has been running for the Worcester Community Trust for several years now. The group's latest show was an update of the classic story of Aladdin, devised by the children and scripted by Ian. Visit the group's Facebook page to see more great pictures from the show!















Story & Puppet making
Ian was delighted to be invited back again for St Kenelm's Arts Week. Year 1 learnt the Australian aborigine story 'how the birds got their colours' and made wonderful puppets to retell it for each other - all in just 90 minutes! Reception had fun with The Three Lilltle Pigs and produced some wonderful straw, stick and brick pigs!













"We had a brilliant day!"
Puppet Tree is taking folk dancing & drama into primary schools and giving children (& staff!) a day to remember. Recent visits to Bowbrook school, Peopleton and Red Hill Primary, Worcester, added real value to their focus on British Culture, giving every child from nursery to Year 6 the chance to experience folk dance and learn about the music and traditions associated with it. As an experienced Morris dancer and ceilidh caller, Ian provides a rich and varied insight into our nation's dancing heritage. Get dancing today!
"Every child in the school, from nursery to Year 6, had a fantastic experience. A great chance for the children to experience live music and dance together.""

In the shadows - for good!
"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house..." A brand new presentation of the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore entertained visitors at Worcester Victorian Fayre - ideal for outdoor events throughout the winter.

I am Ra!
Year 6 at Warndon Primary brought ancient Egyptian creation myths to life, telling tales of Ra, Osiris, Thoth, Sekhmet and Nut using masks, music, shadow puppets and drama. After only five 80 min sessions they presented their stories to Reception children to tremendous applause!










Destiny!
Ian was invited back as Creative Partner to prepeat the very successful Destiny project with Year 3 at Highters Heath Community School in Birmingham. Destiny encourages thinking about the world & what makes different cultures and countries tick by imagining a whole new continent with three very different countries in it. What happens when they are hit by a challenge like natural disaster or a man-made accident? The final performance includes dance, drama and readings from the children's Destiny Diaries. Material from the project last year has been captured in a special book, "The Tough Guide to Destiny", which reproduces the children's art work and writing.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Ian joined in Arts Week at Our Lady & St Kenelm School in Halesowen, helping Reception children to make puppets and retell the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. "Our main objective was to have some fun," writes class teacher Helen Johnson. "Ian inspired the children with lots of positive encouragement and we certainly had lots of fun and produced some lovely puppets.  The children were still singing and retelling the story as they went home. Fabulous! Thank you!" And thanks to all the children who sent in cards and pictures!




Scrapstores The Movie!

Ian was delighted to be involved with Scrapstores UK film all about how great they are and the wide range of things they do. Naturally they wanted to visit Worcestershire Resource Exchange (WRE) to capture the superb things on offer and while they were there Ian led a story and puppet making workshop for families in the local Home Education network. The film was shown on the Community Channel

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Untold Stories - ScrapstoresUK
ScrapstoresUK has been set up by members of the scrapstore community to support the reuse of unwanted resources for the benefit of children and communities. Clean reusable scrap materials (which busin...
The Wonderful world of Books

Oldbury Park Primary has a fantastic Early Years team and they've creatd a wonderful child-centered environment in every area of the EY unit. So child-centered that Ian was bent double to walk round during his recent visit there! He shared lots of stories from books, including a lovely Australian Aborigine tale of 'How the birds got their colours'. Then everyone had a go at making their own story using the simple structures of traditional tales. The children sent in lots of lovely thank-you cards which you'll find all over the website

Three little pigs on a big adventure!

Ian spent an amazing three days at Moons Moat First School sharing the story and helping all three KS1 classes to make puppets. They then used the 'bare bones' of the story to create their own tales of adventure, involving witches, bulls, genies and magic stew!










































Ian calls for a number of bands in the West Midlands ("...thanks to Ian whose sense of humour and boundless energy kept us laughing and enthusiastic all evening. We will certainly recommend you to our friends." "...please pass our thanks on to Ian who was a brilliant choice of caller who choreographed the evening with humour, patience and fun")

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