Behind Morph: Kylie Penn and The Magic Play House

A destination event puppet festival has been a project on the wish-list of The Magic Play House founder, Kylie Penn, for many years. Twenty five years of developing and performing puppet-based theatre and film has confirmed first hand, for Kylie, the research that puppets have a profound impact on their audiences.

During the 2020 lockdown New Zealand entered a period of isolation and during that time many turned to the arts for connection. There is a magic to puppets that can do more than just connect, it can take people to another place, another time, away from their worries.

When we came out of lockdown, Kylie undertook the production of two small puppet shows to be debuted at the Hulaballoo and Whangarei Fringe Festivals. The reaction to these plays was one of joy, wonder, excitement and inspiration, but there was something more than that. The audiences were diverse in age, race and gender but the reaction was always the same. A spark had been ignited. They wanted to participate.

It felt like the time was right for a full-on, immersive Puppet Festival, and the hope is to build on the smaller, inaugural event going forward, to create something magical in our part of the world. We hope you can join us at MORPH! from the 6th to the 10th of July in Kerikeri, Far North, Aotearoa.

For more information on Kylie and The Magic Play House:

Morph! Puppet Festival will take place in July in Kerikeri

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Photo Credits: Flash Gordon Photography , Sam Penn, Jenn Rowsell, Jo Danilo

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