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World Record Puppet Show

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Armchair Puppet Theatre's collaboration with Far and Wide Puppets, 3 Somerford Estate Schools and Dorset County Council's DepARTure, meant that on November 22nd, 2001 the puppet performance of "A Tale of Three Islands" created a new World Record category with 242 puppets in the Biggest Puppet Show On Earth.

Written by Year 10 students, the story was about the journey they had made through the three Somerford schools. Separated only by playing fields or the Sea of Green, the Infants became the Island of Magic, the Juniors, the Island of Fruit and the Grange Comprehensive, the Island of Life.

The vast range of rod puppets, included fish, ducks, caterpillars, butterflies, frogs, lizards, monkeys, hyenas, parrots, bats, snakes, creatures of the air, goblins, trolls, dolphins, spirits of light, trees and volcanoes, which along with a variety of tropical jungle animal shadow puppets and the Sun, Wind and Fire carnival puppet Gods were all made for this allegorical tale in less than six days.

With each phase of puppet making there was just enough time for each school group to complete an initial run through. On the eighth day the three goups devised and rehearsed their separate parts, so that on the final morning the whole story could be pulled together, in time for the afternoon dress rehearsal. 242 children then returned after school to perform the World Record Puppet Show for their parents and relations.

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Biggest puppet show on Earth