CREATING CHARACTERS: Ocean Shores puppet therapist Shelley Moses will be holding a puppet-making workshop next month. She was taught by Muppets and Sesame Street creator Jim Henson.
CREATING CHARACTERS: Ocean Shores puppet therapist Shelley Moses will be holding a puppet-making workshop next month. She was taught by Muppets and Sesame Street creator Jim Henson. Contributed

Trained by Kermit's dad, Shelley's helps others with muppets

FOR inanimate objects, Shelley Moses's puppets have a remarkable ability to traverse communication barriers and bring out the best in people.

The Ocean Shores puppet therapist, who was trained by Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets and the Sesame Street puppets, recalled one particular encounter with an autistic boy who had never spoken before making his own puppet.

"He was 21, he was severely autistic and when he had made his puppet, that night when he came home the puppet leant over the counter and said 'what's for dinner, mum?'," Ms Moses said.

"She had been waiting 21 years to hear him speak."

Fozzie the Bear, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog in a scene from The Muppets movie. Supplied by UPI Media.
Fozzie the Bear, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog in a scene from The Muppets movie. Supplied by UPI Media. Scott Garfield. Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ms Moses said the puppets could also help dementia patients move out of negative mindsets.

She said in one case, a puppet helped a woman with dementia get past a horrific and recurring memory.

"In dementia, as they deteriorate, if they haven't dealt with something severe, like rape in an institution in this case, suddenly the brain's going off and she's locked in this memory," Ms Moses said.

"When she (the dementia patient) met the little baby puppet she jumped out of herself and suddenly she was back and the memory never came back."

Ms Moses said a lot of her puppets have been used as tools for communication in child protection cases in Aboriginal communities where the puppets speak from the child's point of view about domestic violence and abuse.

"The puppets have their own little histories and they've found that really effective in creating change for adult groups because they now have more empathy for the children," she said.

"We've had children disclose things to the puppet, like abuse, because no-one told them not to tell the puppet."

Ms Moses said her passion for puppets sprung from her career as a teacher.

She said it was like finding another way to get messages through to children using the creative arts.

Ms Moses said she was one of a few puppeteers to have had the privilege of being taught by Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street.

She said his golden rule was that "the puppet does not know it's a puppet".

Ms Moses currently volunteers her puppet therapy at the Coolamon Villa Catholic Health Care centre in Mullumbimby.

The workshop

Shelley Moses will be holding a one-day puppet-making workshop in Ocean Shores on Sunday, June 21, from 9am to 4pm.

The cost is $250 and includes all materials and puppet clothes as well as lunch.

To book, phone Ms Moses on 6680 5895 or email shelleymoses@internode.on.net


Three times the Elvis appeal

Three times the Elvis appeal

Elvis - An American Trilogy show is coming to the Northern Rivers

Un bon film! French cinema festival is coming

Un bon film! French cinema festival is coming

Alliance Francaise Cote du Nord has unveiled this year's program

A beauty, a beast and some singing cutlery sought

A beauty, a beast and some singing cutlery sought

Ballina Players is auditioning for Beauty and the Beast

Local Partners