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Puppets liven up North Hall theater class
After learning how to make puppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, these North Hall High School theater students made puppets and masks for an upcoming production. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

‘Children of Eden’
North Hall High School International Baccalaureate
Theater program spring musical
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Brenau University Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center, 429 Academy St., Gainesville
How much: $8
Contact: 770-983-7331

This week, a group of North Hall High School students will take what they learned in a classroom and present it in living color to an audience.

"Children of Eden" will feature 48 puppets, all created by the students and inspired by a recent field trip to the Center of Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.

"First, we had to figure out how to do it. It was really a trial and error process," North Hall junior Hali Steinmann said. "It was a lot of hard work, but it was very interesting."

Since the musical’s plot includes the tale of Noah’s Ark, the students devoted their attention to creating pairs of animals — including tigers, elephants and giraffes. Overall, it took the students about a month to create the puppets.

"Going into it, I really had no idea how we were going to accomplish this," North Hall senior Catherine Im said. "I’m more academic — creativity really isn’t my strong suit. But we had a lot of help, and I’m really happy with the end products."

To create the large props, the students used a compilation of materials including wires, mesh and lots of paint.

As part of the International Baccalaureate theater program, the students must be exposed to different elements of theater, including production, instructor Jan Ewing said.

And although the North Hall school has had a theater program for the last decade, this year will mark the first that the school has had IB theater graduates.

"The IB theater curriculum is more rigorous than the (traditional drama department courses)," Ewing said.

Some of the seniors, who have been involved with many school productions, say the puppetry unit enhanced their theater experience.

"This has helped make the (performance) feel like a real theater experience," North Hall senior Connie Steinmann said. "Working on the puppets makes it a lot more personal. I’ve always acted (in plays), but this has allowed me to experience the production side. ... It’s a totally different kind of experience."