The Barrydale giant puppet parade and performance is a unique and significant public, large scale cultural and artistic event that takes place annually in the rural farming town of Barrydale on the R62 in the Klein Karoo of the Western Cape. The event is run by the award winning Children’s Aftercare provider Organisation Net vir Pret based in Barrydale in partnership with the University of the Western Cape’s Centre for Humanities Research in Cape Town. It is a unique, collaborative public arts project that is now entering its tenth year of process and production providing crucial arts access, mobility, employment, exposure and development for youths as well as the local community and public, in a region of South Africa marked by profound scarcity and the on-going everyday legacies of racial injustice and economic division. It is also the largest puppetry based event employing puppetry skills development and training that culminates in a large scale free public performance, in South Africa at present. It supports the power of this creative art form for young people and fosters co-creative practices and spaces for cultural, economic and artistic engagement in South Africa today.
Now in its tenth year of production, this annual site-specific community puppetry performance event involves nearly 200 local learners, youths and performers, as well as a host of puppeteers, artists, musicians and creative collaborators in puppetry workshops, puppet making, music making, dance, rehearsals, performance creation and creative celebration. It involves collaborators and participants from the farm schools in the Tradouw and Swellendam municipality area, Montagu and McGregor/Robertson, as well as well known and upcoming artists and contributors from Cape Town and around the country.