Why We Exist
The Old Trout Puppet Workshop was founded back in the blustery winter of 1999 on a ranch in southern Alberta. We were a small gang of old buddies, with a fondness for beards and wood and wool and other old-fashioned and pleasant things; the world was uneasy with the threat of Y2K, and we felt an urge to huddle together for mutual protection, and to dedicate ourselves to something fragile, ridiculous, and gentle, out on the edge of the world. So we learned to carve puppets, and paid our rent through wholesome labour; we collected eggs, fed the pigs, cooked big stews, and premiered our first show to a bunkhouse full of cowboys and Hutterites.
Since those distant and savage days, the Old Trouts have grown to become a semi-respected collective of artists: we’ve made puppet shows for both children and adults that tour the world, written and illustrated several books, crafted immense sculptures, taught eager young apprentices the secrets of their mystical art, and even made some award-winning films.
We are first and foremost a collaborative enterprise, devoted to the advancement of puppetry as an art form that combines a variety of other art forms: acting, dance, sculpture, painting, music, and writing. Our passion springs from a core of founding members, who endeavour to develop a way of making art that is strengthened by the varied backgrounds and interests of its members; in turn, those varied backgrounds are shared, with a view to the long-term development of our collective understanding of the art of puppetry.
We seek out new collaborations with each project, to discover new territories, and expand the artistic scope of those involved.
Above all, we are dedicated to original creation: We interpret the world around us, the stories and histories and events that constitute our environment, and bring them into focus through the lens of our own idiosyncrasies and enthusiasms so that the end result is art that is immediate and unique.
Where the name comes from:
On the Palmer Ranch, where the Old Trouts first gathered, there’s a swimming hole much beloved by the people of the area. In that swimming hole, it is said, there lives an ancient fish, who will answer any question you ask it, if you can swim deep enough to find it. Our company is named after that noble creature, even though truth be told we never did manage to find it. “Old Trout” is also a term of endearment in Newfoundland, and that gave the name an endearing ring; of course, when we named ourselves thusly we were not yet old, but every day we become more and more like our moniker.
– See more at ABOUT The Old Trouts