Objects Without Borders is a practice-based research project that investigates the role of puppetry and object performance in connecting people across borders, boundaries and differences. The project draws on the knowledge and experience of people living on and between the borders and boundaries of society including refugees and people from deprived communities.
We know how powerful puppetry and object performance can be in applied theatre and arts contexts. What we want to get at through this project is: How do objects help us to cross boundaries? What are the differences and unique benefits in the ways that objects help us connect across boundaries of communication, identity and communities? What are the objects doing for us?
The project ran six pilot sessions over Zoom between May-July 2021, connecting artists, community theatre facilitators and puppeteers from Jordan, the Czech Republic and the UK. Participants included Seenaryo, a UK NGO working in Jordan; Dafa Puppet Theatre from Prague; Theatre Orchard from Weston-super-Mare, UK; Wattle and Daub from Bristol (UK); Bristol-based producer Rachel McNally; and Sam the Artist, a Palestinian refugee visual calligraphy artist based in Bristol.
Across the six sessions each of us shared our existing creative practice, used objects to get to know each other, played with objects within and across the digital space, and collectively created an object-based devising process.