Crankie Scroll Theatre Making, Jan 27, 2019

January 27, 10:00 to 5:00 – Crankie Scroll Theatre Making with Sarah Barker of  TheatreCounterClockwise.

The Crankie Scroll of pictures is a powerful theatrical device for focusing and challenging the audience.  The humble “crankie box” can be the narrative engine for a huge extravaganza or a one-person performance.

Popular theatre based on pictures painted on banners is believed to have originated in India in the 6th century.  The stories were religious and were sung.  The form spread throughout Asia and Europe and evolved into performances of secular stories and even sensational news.  The crankie box with its scroll of images can be dated back to the early 19th century.

Workshop participants only need bring a story  –  fact or fiction.  In the course of the day we will build “crankies” from cardboard boxes and paper towel rolls.  We will illustrate our narratives on scrolls of paper.  We will learn to crank the scroll of pictures from scene to scene as we tell, sing, and perform our stories with whatever props and sound effects we can devise on the spot.


For more than three decades Sara Barker worked with various forms of popular outdoor theatre, including Comedia Del Arte, Bread and Puppet influenced theatre, illustrated story banners, and crankie scrolls.  She was a collective member of the Vancouver Street Theatre, and Breadbaker’s Theatre.  She was Artistic Co-director/founder of the Whole Loaf Theatre, and Artistic Director of Theatre CounterClockWise.  She has written more than fifteen plays, puppet shows, crankies, and pageants which have been produced and toured to audiences in Canada, New England, Western Europe, and the Soviet Union. Her work is characterized by a strong narrative voice which echoes elements of old fairground forms of theatre and makes possible a mediation between the performance and the audience. Her most recent efforts are attempts to explore and extend the subversive and comic possibilities of multiple narrative voices in theatre and poetry.

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