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Summer Seekers 2022


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Storytelling is an important part of any culture. Stories help us learn about right and wrong, the world around us, and even who we are!

Theatre is a type of storytelling. Plays, masks, puppets, and drama are part of how children in the area of Goulbourn Township have lived and played for hundreds of years!

Click around me to learn more about the history of theatre in the lands now called Canada.

Masks are often a part of storytelling, because they let one person look like someone or something else!

Indigenous Peoples from Canada’s Northwest Coast often use masks to tell stories about their past, and to pass on important lessons. Here is a picture of a mask, collected on Haida Gwaii in 1879. This mask is supposed to represent the moon.

Photo: Canadian Museum of history, CMC VII-B-9 (S85-3273), available for viewing here.

In North America, many Indigenous Peoples use puppets in traditional ceremonies. The puppets often represent supernatural beings and spiritual powers. If you’d like to learn more about puppets in Indigenous Storytelling in Canada, click here!

Puppetry is when you use objects, like human or animal figurines, to tell a story. It’s an ancient form of art all around the world. The earliest puppets are from over 3000 years ago!

Here is a puppet from The Canadian History Museum. This type of puppet if called a Marionette. It is controlled with strings.

You can look at more puppets like it here.

Photo: CMH/MCH 94-1117, CD2008-0090, IMG2008-0028-0084-Dm

When European settlers first came to the land now called Canada, they performed theatre for entertainment. The soldiers here to fight battles and set up military forts would put on plays for their friends. As more and more people came from Europe, the more "professional" the plays and theatres became.

Click on the Script to get started!

ACT 1:

ACT 2:

ACT 3:

ACT 4:

ACT 5:

Click on any of the activities to get started!


Finger Puppets

Click around the stage to learn more about puppets! When you're ready, click "START" to learn how to make your own finger puppets.

When settlers arrived in the Americas from Europe, they brought European puppets with them. Marionettes, controlled by strings, were very popular! Puppets on sticks, like this one, were also common.

Click here to learn more about the history of puppetry from the Canadian Museum of History!

Image: Canadian Museum of History, CMH/MCH 87-221, CD95-177, S87-1650

Puppets were important to children in Goulbourn township for fun, entertainment, and even learning.

Here is a photo from Goulbourn Museum's collection of a group of Richmond Puppeteers putting on a show at a school in the 1960s:

RIC202, Goulbourn Township Historical Society Collection

While some puppeteers continued to follow European traditions, some settlers created new puppets unique to Canada and North America. Known as the “Puppet of the New World”, the Limberjack puppet was a dancing puppet developed in the 1800s. Here is a video of how a Limberjack Puppet works:




Click around the stage to learn more about masquerade balls! When you're ready, click "START" to learn how to make your own mask.

Over 500 years ago, it was popular for wealthy people to go to big parties known as masquerade balls. They would get dressed up in big fancy costumes and wear masks that hide their faces. These events took place across Europe, and eventually made their way to North America.



Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are sentences that are very tricky to say! This is because they are usually made up of words that start with the same letter. It can be fun to see how many times you can say a tongue twister in a row and how fast you can say it! Click around the stage to learn more about tongue twisters. When you're ready, click "START" to learn how to write your own tongue twisters.

Tongue twisters were a popular game for children to play 150 years ago. They would try to either say or sing a tongue twister as many times in a row and as fast as they could. It could get very silly at times!

One of the first known book of tongue twisters was published by a man named John Harris in 1813. The book was called “Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation” and included a tongue twister for every letter of the alphabet. However, people did not start calling tongue twisters by this name until 1895!

Take a look at this online copy of the book published in 1820 from the Toronto Public Library!

Peter Piper's practical principles of plain and perfect pronunciation

Courtesy of Toronto Public Library, Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books.

Today, some people use tongue twisters to prepare for speaking in public - like before performing in a play! Tongue twisters are also a fun tool for people who are learning how to speak English. It helps them learn the differences between sounds and how to form English words.

Write Your Own Tongue Twisters




Charades has been a popular game for both children and adults to play for over 100 years! To play the game, one person silently acts out a word or phrase, and another person has to guess what they are doing. Click around the stage to learn more about charades. When you're ready, click "START" to complete the activity.

Many books from the Victorian era written by popular authors such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and Jane Austen mention people playing charades. Some historians think this helped make the game popular around the world.

The game of charades was invented in France in the 16th century. To play the game back then, one person would say a riddle that would include clues to a secret word and other people would guess what the secret word was. These riddle games were often printed in books and magazines like “Cassell's Book of Sports and Pastimes,” published in 1903. Over time, the game changed into an acting game that many people still play today.

Photo courtesy of Wellcome Trust.

The game of charades has inspired many popular games today, like Pictionary and Time’s Up. You might have even played some of these games before!


Play Charades!

Shadow Buff


Click around me to learn about a game called Shadow Buff. When you're ready, click "START" to learn how to play the game yourself!

Shadow Buff was a popular game played by children during the Victorian Period. The instructions for this game are found in a book called “Every Boy’s Book: A Complete Encyclopaedia of Sports and Amusements” This book was printed in 1869, that’s a long time ago!

This same book also includes many games that are still played by children today such as “Rushing Bases” which is a version of Octopus Tag, “High Barbaree” which is a version of hide-and-seek, and “Jumping Rope.” You’ve probably played some of these games before!


Shadow Shifter!

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Create your bird and person puppet and put on a show!

Create your own masquerade mask and attend a ball!

Play your own version of Shadow Buff and try to fool your friends and family!