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Jenny Russell and Ann Hansena with their glove puppets
  • Jenny Russell and Ann Hansena with their glove puppets
  • Callum Hughes
  • Josh Clorley with Gemma Griffiths
  • Ann Hansena making a lion
  • Jenny Russell with glove puppets made by service users at the arc

Arc Respite Centre users create puppets for Mystery purpose

People with learning difficulties at an adult respite care centre in Chester have been using their creative skills for a Mystery purpose.

Users of the aptly named Arc, or Abbey Respite Centre, in Abbey Square, have made glove puppets in the shape of animals which appear in the 2018 cycle of the Chester Mystery Plays, at Chester Cathedral until July 14.

The animals including zebras, lions, pigs and crocodiles were designed by Mystery Plays set and costume designer Dawn Allsopp and created with help from Arc artist and teacher Jo Gomez. They appear in a pre-show, also known as a Dumb Show in the 16th and 17th centuries, presented by young actors from the Mystery Plays company.

Jo said: “This has been an amazing opportunity for all of us at the Abbey Respite Centre to make the sock puppets for the historic Chester Mystery plays. Our service users have used their imagination and creativity to make a wide variety of animal puppets. They have worked so hard and are really proud of their achievements.”

One of the users, Jenny Russell, who has Down’s Syndrome, also plays a disciple in the production and recently featured in an item on the Mystery Plays on ITV Granada Reports.

Dawn said: “It has been fabulous to get involved with an organisation like Arc and for the service users to be given a brief but then take creative control to make wonderful animals, fish, butterflies and birds using socks and gloves.

Jo added: “The new skills I have learnt from Dawn will be developed within our creative art sessions.”

The Arc service is delivered by Special Needs Care Ltd and Cheshire West and Chester Council.


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