Peoplehood Parade Puppets
(Social Change and Awareness)
Established in 1996, Philadelphia’s Spiral Q Puppet Theater works from the belief that freedom of speech is both an inalienable individual right and a collective responsibility and strives to use the age-old art of puppet making and theatrical pageantry as vehicles for creative self determination. Spiral Q’s commitment to cultivating a society that values listening as highly as speaking, diversity as important as unity, and sustainability beyond the shortest route, is grounded in the belief that nurturing creativity and free expression in all will ensure that collectively we will arrive at possibilities that are inclusive, joyous, and long lasting.
“The work of Spiral Q is relevant and meaningful because it provides a mechanism for ritual to occur. Ritual connects us to each other—it provides deep and meaningful experiences that a community can share and use to then find commonality among diversity. There are not always common rituals that serve to help the community collectively heal, communicate, or celebrate.”
Tracy Broyles serves as executive director of Spiral Q, although she quickly points out that their work represents a collective undertaking. She describes their Peoplehood community event as an opportunity to “address isolation as it comes from violence, immigration experiences, and those things that can divide us as a community.”
“The lighting of lady liberty should be understood as a ritual act. It was created as a ritual act to bring people together. We don’t have meaningful ways to wrestle with the issues that challenge us. Instead we go to court, or try to collect insurance, but none of these scenarios give us the power and healing that ritual has. You can see in this scene that there is a broad spectrum of people who are ritually working together to blow the challenges in our communities and world away.”