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Autism and puppetry, a conversation with Josiah Carr

“I believe puppetry is an important art form”

I properly got interested in puppetry when I was invited into Spectrum Youth Theatre. It was my first time doing puppetry. I joined STY three years ago and was quite nervous at first but I soon got used to everyone there and got used to it quite quickly. Maui’s Island was my first show and I liked the puppets. A lot of the puppets were complex in design and they became quite lively during the show. It was definitely an enjoyable experience. Since then I have developed my sense of humour and throughout the time I have been at SYT I have developed my acting and drama skills (although that’s kind of a give away really!) I also met and made many great friends since I have been there, which is quite relevant to the next question – which is what do I enjoy most at SYT? I most enjoy coming to see my friends and it’s always fun and a pleasure meeting everyone there, including the adults!

“Spectrum Youth Theatre greatly helps with an autistic person’s communication”

I believe puppetry is an important art form for people on the spectrum because it enables you to work together as a team, not only to control the puppet but to decide the story and design of the shows. It also develops skills such as improvisation. It greatly helps with an autistic person’s communication, for example I think some of the members are now more confident comfortable and speak more freely.

Beyond the Flash is our third and latest production. It follows the story of a boy named Joel. The story concept is flying set against a background of imagination. It is not too long but is very entertaining and also features one of my greatest creations which is ‘Banter Airlines’ which is definitely a reason why you should come and see it (your health and safety is not guaranteed!). As for the festival, it is a great place to come and see this unique show because we are the only Autistic puppeteer group in the world and it shows us off to our best.

“Puppetry is an important art form for people on the spectrum”

You are probably wondering why I am the King of Banter – well it’s a name that’s followed me around for a while now – I’m not sure how its origins came to be, but I have been obsessed with the word ‘Banter’ and it suits my excitable personality.

To end on a final quote don’t forget this …’Banter Airlines will always be a cross between Southern Rail and RyanAir’ It has the reliability of Southern Rail and the cost-cutting prices of RyanAir.

Signing off.

Josiah Carr

Little Angel Theatres’ Spectrum Youth Theatre perform BEYOND THE FLASH at Autism Arts Festival on 30th April, at 2.30pm, at The Aphra Theatre, University of Kent, Canterbury.