A Keene State student suffered an injury during a puppetry class.

The class’s professor and Theater and Dance Department Chair Celine Perron said the student cut their finger when they pulled a carving tool out of a tool kit. Perron said the student was not wearing protective gloves and was looking away from what he was doing when he cut his finger. Perron said she tells her students to exercise safety in the classroom.

“I stress safety a lot. I tell my students to stay focused and to keep their eyes on the tool,” Perron said.

Perron also added that the carving tools all come equipped with a guard. She said that when the incident happened, she and the class remained calm and acted accordingly.

“I wrapped him up and then a student drove him to get treated,” Perron said. “I was calm and collective, but it was alarming that he got hurt. It hurt me to see him get hurt.”

Perron added that cutting injuries are not rare in woodcarving or puppetry classes.

“Anyone who takes wood carving or puppetry classes will get nicks,” Perron said. “But we still try to avoid it. We have instructional videos on safety and I will go back and remind everyone to maintain safety, but these things happen.”

The Equinox attempted to talk to students in the class after the interview with Perron, however Perron asked the Equinox to leave. The Equinox again tried to reach out to her via email to contact students but she did not respond.

Perron said the purpose of the puppetry class is to design and sculpt a marionette puppet. There are 14 students in the class and each is in charge of designing their own puppet over the course of the semester.

“It’s like seeing 14 characters coming to life,” Perron said.

Because of COVID-19, Perron said the shop classroom is limited to nine students, however she has designed the class to be accessible remotely. She added that students can take work benches home and can work on their puppet remotely while staying connected with the rest of the class via Zoom.

“Everything was designed so that they are all self-sufficient,” Perron said. “I had to provide tools for all the students.”

Perron said she learned puppetry in Prague, Czech Republic, but also has a background in set design and mask making.
Perron said that puppetry is a great class because it involves so many different trades.

“You learn to create a character, you learn about engineering and you build skill sets in carving, sculpting, painting and costuming,” Perron said. “I think puppetry encompasses all crafts.”


Hunter Oberst can be contacted at:

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