Climate Connections / Walkabout Refugee Puppets

This ongoing project by Glass Half Full Theatre is an interactive experience, featuring walkabout puppets representing people from all over the globe whose lives have been impacted by climate migration. These puppet characters interact with people on the street and at festivals to create instant, private theatrical moments to broaden participants’ understanding of the human impacts of climate change. 

Our inaugural performance, Brócoli, features a Guatemalan refugee to the United States. She carries with her everything she has brought on her journey from Guatemala, and reveals her story through non-verbal interactions with audience in the street.  The broccoli industry of her hometown has been devastated by rapidly changing climate, and she is seeking to rejoin her son who immigrated to Texas a few years ago. She reveals her story non-verbally through hidden messages, puppet, pictures, and postcards featured on and around her costume. 

 To continue this project, we are researching events that cause migrations due to climate shifts (crop failures, water shortages, extreme weather events). When possible we speak directly to people whose lives a have been affected. Based on true stories, we build and character embodied as a walkabout puppet to represent each location.  We then compose a series of potential interactions the character can have with passers-by on the street or at an event—everything from a simple wave, to sharing snacks, to showing off photos of offspring, to sharing news articles about her homeland’s plight or asking for help to make a phone call.

The audience may choose to interact at various levels, from the simply observing a puppet walk by, to observing an interaction between puppet and audience member, to participating in an interaction themselves.  Every puppet to audience interaction is based on our rehearsed scenarios, but is unique to each audience participant based on how they react and interact.  We wish ultimately to send multiple puppeteers out into events, conferences, and rallies, to engage with new audiences and grow the project. 

If you would like to participate in the project or bring it to a festival or event near you, please contact [email protected]