The Carnival of the Animals



This performance of the musical classic of Camille Saint-Saens appeals to all ages. While kindergarten and early elementary students delight in simple fantasies of the puppets, older children (and adults) also are intrigued by the combinations of everyday items that create the fantastic characters. Saint-Saens created the pieces as entertainment for the younger members of his family, never intending the whimsical works to be a part of his musical legacy.

The puppets enact Saint-Saens characterizations having been built with the same kind of visual whimsy, created from plastic bottles, brushes, and dollar store items. The imaginative puppets and puppet making demonstration prior to the actual piece can inspire children to create their own simple puppets. In the short puppet making demonstration prior to the performance, Tom Bonham creates a simple hand puppet, a muppet-like cast of Little Red Riding Hood, a glove puppet, two rod puppets, and a marionette (string) puppet. Tom Bonham has taken the whimsy and created highly imaginative puppets from plastic bottles, brushes, slinkies, hair ties and such to compliment the whimsy of the music.

All of the pieces of the composition are included in Tom Bonham’s solo, virtuoso, 45 minute production featuring the following 36 puppets in addition to the 7 puppets in the demonstration:


    • The Maestro and the Regal Lion’s March
    • The Rooster and the Hen
    • The Donkey
    • The Tortoise and the Snail
    • The Elephant’s Can-Can
    • The Kangaroo and Mini-Roo
    • An Imaginative Aquarium
    • The Persons with Long Ears
    • The Search for the Cuckoo
    • A Vibrant Aviary
    • The Pompous Pianists
    • The Fantastic Fossils
    • The Graceful Swan
    • The Finale

Important Production note: This is a large, full scale production. Puppets and staging equipment fill a full size, extended cargo van. The assembled puppet stage is 16 feet wide and at least 8 feet deep. Please allow ample set-up time (approximately 2 hours) to prep the puppets and performing area Due to weight of equipment, all performing venues must be wheelchair accessible with no sharp turns in the wheelchair ramps. Curb cuts are not necessary. Performances can be held at only one venue per day. However, up to four performances at the same venue are possible.

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