Children in Cambodia prepare for giant puppet parade

This year will be the 9th instalment of the parade, and will see a variety of large animal-shaped puppets take to the streets on Saturday 21st February. The young Cambodian artists are making lanterns from rattan and bamboo skeleton frames, with the addition of LED lights for an extra spectacular show. Puppets that have already been created in preparation for Saturday include a leaf insect, a goat to celebrate Chinese New Year, and Mekong river fish.

Channelling the creativity of Cambodian children

British artist Stuart Cochlin started the puppet-making workshops in 2007, in order to help communities affected by war and poverty, and felt that the children needed a public space to show off their impressive creations. Those visiting Cambodia on Mekong river cruises are highly recommended to visit the parade, which showcases the fantastic creativity of the local children.

For this year’s event there are more than 500 children involved, who have been split into groups for four morning and afternoon sessions with help from a number of artists and visual art students. This is when the huge bamboo frames for the puppets are made, before being transformed into the colourful final pieces that take part in the Giant Puppet Project Street Parade.

Then, in the second week once the frames are complete, a lighting designer from Cornwall is scheduled to assist the children illuminate the puppets with rigging lights. Lisa Gaskill, the light designer, has also helped to make the parade safer during her time volunteering, by replacing dangerous inverters used to power the lights with safe 12-volt batteries.

The parade begins at 7pm, and will pass through the Old Market, before arriving at the Royal Gardens for 8pm.

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