Workshops

Raven Kaliana has developed a range of puppet-making workshops, shadow animation workshops, and puppet dramatherapy workshops. All of these can be adjusted in terms of length and focus, to fit the needs of your group, and can be taught online or in person. It is also possible to formulate a new workshop in accordance with your requirements. Private tutoring is also available.

Sitting Puppet Course

  • For adults or teens
  • Usually taught as a 10-week course
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

An original puppet design by Raven Kaliana, the Sitting Puppet is ideal for storytelling, solo performances, or combining puppetry with actors onstage. It features a hard sculpted head, foam-based body, and jointed arms. It can be worked with the puppeteer in full view. With the puppet’s legs draped over the performer’s arm, the head can be moved with a rod inside the the head, and one of the puppet’s hands can gesture via a rod at the elbow.

Quickly construct a small creature or human character using the technique of needle-felting – no sewing skills necessary. The puppets make great handmade gifts, and are perfect for storytelling, entertaining young people, or just keeping you company at your desk. Colourful, quick, and easy to learn. After the workshop, it is easy to make more puppets or soft toys, or use the felting technique for scarves, textile appliques, or haberdashery.

Needle-Felted Hand Puppets

  • For adults
  • Usually taught as a 1-day workshop
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Introduction to Shadow Theatre

  • For adults, teens, or children 7 and up
  • Completely flexible timing

Participants are invited to discover techniques with cut-paper shadow puppetry; 3-D imagery in cast shadow; as well as exploring the interaction of reflective and refractive mediums with light. Participants will have the chance to put together colourful individual mini performances. Information and ideas will be exchanged on how one might use the medium for self-expression, to share ideas, or improve their community, and sample film clips will be shown.

Learn to easily create exciting animations with paper, light, and colours – which can be video-recorded and shared to striking effect. This form of puppetry looks colourful and dramatic on video. It utilizes free or inexpensive materials and simple techniques – enabling film-making without large budgets. Along with time to experiment with the medium, tips about exploring characters, structuring stories, and film techniques will be shared. Complete the workshop with the creation of a short film.

Create a Shadow Animation

  • For adults or teens
  • Usually taught as a 2-day workshop
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

New section

  • For adults, teens, or children 7 and up
  • Completely flexible timing

Participants are invited to discover techniques with cut-paper shadow puppetry; 3-D imagery in cast shadow; as well as exploring the interaction of reflective and refractive mediums with light. Participants will have the chance to put together colourful individual mini performances. Information and ideas will be exchanged on how one might use the medium for self-expression, to share ideas, or improve their community, and sample film clips will be shown.

Puppets and Healing Self-Concept

  • For adults, children, adolescents, or therapists
  • Usually taught as a 1/2 day workshop
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Raven Kaliana teaches the process of building simple hand puppets, which can serve as a blank canvas to be individualised and brought to life as a tool to work with personal and social identity. Puppets (though particularly useful for children) can inspire new openness and curiosity in all age groups, including teens and the elderly. Participants will be invited to create their own characters to experience the feelings of validation and empowerment inherent in creating and projecting a personality onto a puppet. Therapeutic approaches for working with these characters and taking a ‘spect-actor’ role will be explored through exercises and group sharing.

This training event is designed for those working in the helping professions, on using puppet-based techniques to help support trauma recovery in children and adolescents. It involves practical exercises showing how puppets can be used in family therapy, or one-to-one. The workshop utilises cuddly animal hand puppets, which can be helpful when working with younger children. Puppets are quite versatile and can also work with many different groups, including teens and adults, refugees, and the elderly. The workshop uses Folkmanis Puppets, which are a range of beautiful animal hand puppets – an affordable but especially well-made brand which will hold up for years of use. Workshop includes a short film on trauma recovery, which uses shadow puppetry techniques.

Transforming Trauma

  • For therapists & helpers working with children or vulnerable people
  • Usually taught over 2 1/2 hours
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Rehearsing Resilience

  • For survivors or people at risk to experience trauma, ages 11 to adult
  • Usually taught over 2 1/2 hours
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Designed for people who may have experienced trauma – provides information on the effects of trauma, the stages of healing, active listening, supporting friends, leaving a harmful situation, and personal validation and empowerment through creative expression. The exercises are mainly conveyed through shadow puppetry, a medium which is colourful, easy, and fun to learn. Students produce a short improvised scene at the end, exploring options for leaving a difficult situation. The session includes a screening of a short puppet animation, Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress. Handouts help to diagram the dynamics of an abusive situation, and also give information on how to tip the scales so that connecting with support to shift the situation is possible.

Learn to easily create exciting animations with paper, light, and colours – which can be video recorded and shared to striking effect. This form of puppetry looks colourful and dramatic on video. It utilizes free or inexpensive materials and simple techniques. Historically, puppetry has represented the voice of the people – and now films can be produced independently without large budgets. Along with time to experiment with the medium, tips about exploring characters, structuring stories, and film techniques will be shared. Complete the workshop with the creation of a short film which can help communicate local concerns to an international audience, share personal experiences, and to touch the hearts of others – which can help build community connections to help shift social injustice.

Shadow Animation for Social Change

  • For ages 11 to adult
  • Usually taught as 2 day workshop
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Reclaiming Narrative

  • For survivors or people at risk to experience trauma, ages 11 to adult
  • Usually taught as a 2 day workshop
  • (Timing can be adjusted to suit your needs)

Exploring the medium of shadow animation – on the first day, sample film clips will be shown, then participants will be invited to experiment and play with the medium, learning to make jointed shadow characters. On the second day, story structure will be explored, as well as metaphor and character development. Dramatherapy techniques will be shared on how to transform difficult experiences through reclaiming and changing the story as well as learning self-compassion and self-care. Participants will be encouraged to film their own individual shows.

Some quotes from workshop participants:

I now know so much about how our minds work and deal with trauma; how I could deal with my past and how my future is in my control.

I love creating things and creating puppets and [learned] how to story tell my past with some distance.

I feel by using [puppetry] I can put my suffering and my past in the open and get validation from others that my feelings are legitimate.

[Raven] is very skilled in trauma work and I really like the fact that she's so open about her past and how she got into puppetry. Raven is a wealth of information on all things trauma-related.

It was so fun to make puppets and play together...Sharing responsibility for telling each other's stories. Interesting to talk with Raven about the way healing works.

Puppetry opened up possibilities for releasing my imagination, which I felt had become frozen. I have discovered through puppetry a fun and absorbing way of telling stories the way I need them told.

I felt safe and accepted immediately. I felt understood and that I was in a space where experimentation was encouraged, and that self-expression was something to rejoice in.

Get in touch

To enquire about commissioning puppets for your production; puppetry coaching for performers; puppetry performance in your show; teaching puppet-making or shadow puppet workshops; shadow puppet animations for films, television commercials, or music videos; presentations of the Hooray for Hollywood film; or booking performances of Love vs Trauma with associated workshop.

Please email Raven Kaliana at puppets@ravenkaliana.com or fill in the following contact form:



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