A puppet, animated film and gaming paper originally designed as a summer school programme to attract more students to the University of Canterbury has developed into a fully fledged course.
About 45 students have enrolled in the second-semester course through the theatre and film studies programme. The course will involve students creating a live puppet performance using inanimate, everyday objects rather than conventional puppets.
As well as teaching students how to use cameras and make animated films, the course will delve into the origin of theatre and puppets, course convener and lecturer Ryan Reynolds said.
The theatre and film studies programme survived the threat of closure in May when the university council went against a management recommendation to close it down.
The department's co-ordinator, Associate Professor Sharon Mazer, said the new course was exciting and a demonstration of the department's vitality.
"These puppets are not just kiddie stuff."
She said the course was a great introduction to theatre, film and performance and a solid first step for many towards higher study.
Mazer said the course was paying for itself and had attracted students from across the university, including engineering and science.
Reynolds defended the course in light of the university's financial situation. It is losing $100,000 a day.
He said the course had a place, especially when significant numbers of people watched animated films and played computer and video games. The course was not entirely without its vocational applications, Reynolds said, because it would help people who wanted a career in gaming or animated film to understand the characters they were creating.
Theatre and film studies was also working with departments across the university and with other tertiary institutions to develop an honours course called the Transitional City, which would look at how some of Christchurch's vacant sites could be used before permanent structures were built.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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