American puppet master and Artist in Residence at Keystone, Greg Ruhe, visited the Academy last week. Mr. Ruhe is the creator of the entertainment company, Puppet Pizzazz in the United States, and a teaching artist and performer. He has received many awards and accolades for this work, often traveling the world to perform with his larger than life puppet creations. Greg’s commitment to education is evident in his craft, working with educational institutions such as the Children’s Museum of Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Harris County Board of Education Project GRAD, and the Houston Grand Opera.
Last week, from February 19-20, Mr. Ruhe brought his passion for education and puppetry arts to classrooms at Keystone. Working closely with primary and secondary school students, Mr. Ruhe participated in a series of master classes and workshops for students to learn the art of puppetry. Primary school students eagerly listened to Mr. Ruhe in the performing arts classroom, as he morphed himself into a human sized puppet, and explained the history is puppetry arts and the merits of this artistic artform.
With secondary school students, Mr. Ruhe went into great detail to describe the different types of puppets and the art of performance with each puppet character. All students practiced voice exercises to learn the process of preparing themselves to get into character, for future performances. Puppetry art is an art with a long history, and much like other artistic mediums, it tells narratives in unique and compelling ways and offers audiences glimpses of histories told in new, modern ways.
In many of the workshops and masterclasses, Mr. Ruhe went into detail with the materials used to create the physical puppets, allowing students to create their own puppets and offering guidance and instruction on how to recreate this art at home. His visit to the Academy culminated in a final workshop and speech in the Performing Arts Centre. Parents, members of the faculty and staff, and other community members gathered in the audience and became enchanted with Mr. Ruhe’s presentation and workshop on stage. Puppetry arts came alive at Keystone thanks to Mr. Ruhe’s colorful interpretation of this unique art form.