THE popular Nal'ibali booklets aimed at enhancing reading – carried in The Herald on Thursdays – will come to life this month when EduPuppets presents the books through puppetry and narration.
Nal'ibali, which means story time, is a four-page tabloid size reading supplement. It is part of a national reading initiative aimed at enhancing storybook reading among children of all cultures.
The Nal'ibali shows will open this Saturday during trading hours at King's Court in Walmer.
Stacey Kay of EduPuppets said they were introduced to Nal'ibali through The Herald Kids' Expo last year.
"We first discovered Nal'ibali through The Herald who invited us to do a show for their Nal'ibali corner at the Kids Expo in June last year. In December, we hosted our first festival at The Walmer Town Hall with a reading corner hosted by Exclusive Books. It was then that we realised how powerful puppetry and reading can be as a combined force.
"Our Nal'ibali show consists of live storybook reading and puppet improvisation followed by a voice-recorded puppet show – professionally recorded by Kingfisher FM," she said.
Kay said shows are designed to teach children basic life skill lessons on friendship, kindness, sharing, bullying and good manners. Custom- made shows are also available to primary schools and nursery schools.
"To a young child, it's not a puppet, it's a real, living doll – their biggest fantasy come true. I can tell a story to a child and then the puppet can come out and tell a different story. In my experience the child remembers everything the puppet said, but not what I said. When we do story reading, the puppet improvisation is done by the puppet asking the children questions and making comments about how he thinks the story will end. This aids in keeping the children engaged in the buildup of the story."
The shows are aimed at children aged three to seven and are about 30 minutes long. Children are seated in the castle-themed theatre room in Fairy Hollow. Puppet-making activities and the Amazing Market Race will also be available as an option to school or party bookings.
The main stage will be used for live children's theatre puppet productions on Saturdays, starting April 6. They are written and directed by Nicolene Louw, a qualified teacher and lecturer at Stageworld and NMMU in performing arts.
Over the past weekend, the EduPuppets team did a fundraising show in Jeffreys Bay. Organiser Amy de Villiers said children and adults alike were captivated. The fundraiser was in aid of eight Jeffreys Bay martial artists chosen to represent South Africa at a Mixed Martial Arts event in Orlando Florida, as well as the Jeffreys Bay Primary School.