Sunday, July 21, 2024

Professor Launches ‘For the Love of Georgian Bay’ Virtual Puppet Making & Drama Camp to Raise Environmental Awareness


Shannon Hughes, Instructor of Applied Theatre at Brock University, will be running a virtual puppet making and drama camp, July 13 – 18, from 10 a.m. To 12 p.m.

In this free camp, participants will learn to make puppets of the Georgian Bay and Niagara Escarpment’s most endangered plants and animals, bringing their stories and struggles to the forefront of the efforts to preserve the Georgian Bay.

The first hour each day will consist of performance training and the second will be puppet making. A list of materials will be supplied to participants ahead of time and materials will be cost-efficient and rely on recycled/reusable materials as much as possible. Each puppet pattern will be assigned a level of difficulty to help guide puppet choices for a wide range of ages.

The Georgian Bay is the proposed site for an open-looped pumped storage plant (PSP) by TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Pipeline) on the shore of the Department of National Defence (DND) land in Meaford. A reservoir for 23 million cubic meters of water will be carved in the Niagara Escarpment to create the upper reservoir. Water will be pumped up from the bay at night during low-peak energy hours and released during high-peak hours to generate electricity on the way down. The PSP will use 30% more electricity than it generates and has been criticized for selecting such a populated and environmentally sensitive area,” Hughes noted.

Examples of species at risk at the site of the PSP that will be made into puppets are the Midland Painted Turtle, the Massasauga Rattler, and the Bald Eagle. As fish populations are a major concern, one of the puppets will be the Deepwater Sculpin, a fish listed as threatened by the Government of Canada and found within kilometres of the proposed site.

As a Meaford resident and professor of Applied and Educational Theatre at Brock University, I wanted to provide this camp to continue to articulate the community’s disapproval of the TC Energy proposal. Having taught theatre camps and workshops with the Georgian Theatre Festival, Blyth Festival, and with the Stratford/Suchitoto project in El Salvador, I have seen the incredible work that youth can produce as well as the effectiveness of community engaged educational programs,” said Hughes.

I also hope this camp will bring some entertainment to those who are isolating at home due to COVID-19,” added Hughes.

To register visit

The Department of National Defence comment period about the proposal is open and concludes on July 31, 2020. Comments may be sent to Holly King at

A petition to the House of Commons is available at

Shannon Hughes is an Instructor of Applied Theatre at Brock University and a PhD Candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact

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