Stories With Puppets: Interview With Pat Spalding – Ep. 11

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Beth talks with storyteller, performer and former puppeteer Pat Spalding, one of the people behind the storytelling series True Tales Live. They discuss Pat’s early days of telling stories through puppets, monologue-style storytelling, and how Covid has her writing all new material. This episode is chock full of wisdom about crafting and rehearsing stories for the stage. It’s a must listen for anyone who wants to get into storytelling, or would like to up their performance game.

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In this episode

Get a sneak peek at the episode below or check out the full audio episode above. This interview includes storytelling advice, as well as tips on how to write and perform before various audiences.

I’ve always made things and when I was in high school, I was more a visual artists. I constructed things. When I went into college, I graduated with an art degree. Yeah, I think I did.

And I liked tactile materials. I liked fabric and all that sort of thing. So, before graduating, a friend and I made puppets just for the hell of it, just as objects, interesting objects. And she put them in an exhibit which, some woman came. This is, we’re talking now in the seventies, mid seventies, early to mid seventies. And, this woman wanted a puppet show for a birthday party and Nancy who’s my friend, she said, “Well, uh, we don’t have one.”

And the woman says, “Well, it’s not for three months. And could you come up with one?”

And she said, “Maybe.” So she got in touch with me. We pulled the puppets. We messed around with voices and characters. We just played like two kids would play with dolls. We played with these odd, this odd combination of puppets.

We adapted some fairytales then we did this show three months later. And it went over pretty well. I mean, it was fun. The kids enjoyed it. It was funny. So without intentioning to do so we had a puppet show. Word got around to different libraries.

People started asking us, so we kept doing shows and we were in business, you know, unintentionally in business. And that business grew. And I became a puppeteer. So I was in investing time and adapting stories, creating stories. We did some, the show got bigger that we did it for about three years, so that partnership fell apart.

But I got to puppetry performance through the visual construction of puppets. And the use of puppets and reuse of puppets rather than making an object to sell. I made an object to rent. People paid me for the use of this object. So, crazily, I got into puppetry for economic reasons.

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