Celebrating World Puppet Day: Discover the Magic of Puppetry in Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney


    Cirque du Soleil is synonymous with high-quality productions featuring extraordinary acrobatics. However, many other elements contribute to the captivating storytelling of the world’s most famous circus. Along with Cirque du Soleil’s marvelous mix of traditional circus acts and modern acrobatics is the wonder-filled element of puppetry—an ancient theatrical art form, which was first recorded in the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece and possibly dated back to 3000 BC.

    The importance of puppetry as a vessel for storytelling is especially evident in Cirque du Soleil and Disney’s innovative and immersive show, Drawn to Life. This combination of Walt Disney Animation’s nostalgia and magical storytelling and Cirque du Soleil’s signature production style and astonishing acts uses puppetry to bring the imaginative realm of animation to life and tell the story of a motivated young woman who finds one last item left by her animator father—a collection of incomplete sketches. She sets out on an exciting quest infused with her childhood memories, assisted by a magical pencil and a funny band of creative muses–many of which are puppets.

    “It is no surprise that a show created by two of the world’s most creative and magical entertainment companies is also a puppetry masterpiece,” said Heather Reilly, Company Manager at Drawn to Life. “Puppetry is a testament to the power of storytelling and the imagination, reminding us of the magic that can be found in the simplest of things by bringing life into otherwise inanimate objects and creating fun dynamics between the puppets and live performers in the show.”

    Each performance features 22 puppets, exhibiting 10 different styles and puppeteered by 33 artists. Included are the Doubtovskys, the minions of the villainous Miss Hesitation. The various Doubtovsky puppets can carry and pull their oversized trash bins, as well as climb from the grid to the stage, showcasing the incredible craftsmanship of the puppet builders and costume designers. These talented professionals hail from Canada, France, Germany, the US and Ireland.

    Other beloved puppets in the show include a Horse Table puppet named “Doodles,” a playful pillow puppet called “Petit Oreiller,” which is French for “Little Pillow,” and a giant hand called “Mainamie,” which translates to “Hand Friend.”

    “A puppet can emote all the emotions that a human can because there is actual human breathing life into the puppet, which makes puppeteers unique storytellers with the power to inspire the audience’s imagination and emotion,” said Kristi Hughes, the professional puppeteer of 14 years who created and performs the puppet character, Mainamie. “For example, throughout the story, the Mainamie becomes like a mother to Julie, supporting her in her journey and comforting her when she is scared.”

    Puppets are great conduits for the creative development of characters with whom they share the stage and interactions between characters and puppets in Drawn to Life have inspired some of the most beloved moments in the show.

    Drawn to Life is truly a one-of-a-kind show showcasing puppetry’s incredible artistry. To learn more about the show and its amazing puppets, visit cirquedusoleil.com/drawn-to-life.