Puppetry and ventriloquism go hand in hand (no pun intended). The history of both arts is very interesting.
Puppetry is a very ancient art form, thought to have originated about 30,000 years ago. Puppets have been used since the earliest times to animate and communicate the ideas and needs of human societies. Some historians claim that they pre-date actors in theatre.
Originally, ventriloquism was a religious practice that dates back over 3000 years. The name comes from the Latin for to speak from the stomach, i.e. venter (belly) and loqui (speak). The Greeks called this gastromancy. The noises produced by the stomach were thought to be the voices of the unliving, who took up residence in the stomach of the ventriloquist. The ventriloquist would then interpret the sounds, as they were thought to be able to speak to the dead, as well as foretell the future.
Modern ventriloquists utilize a variety of different types of puppets in their presentations, ranging from soft cloth or foam puppets (much like ours), other types of puppets, and the traditional and familiar hard-headed knee figure.
More and more ventriloquists are adding soft puppets to their act or opting to use them exclusively for a variety of reasons.
If you haven’t started using soft puppets, maybe it’s time to make the plunge. Be sure to check out our Puppet Catalog for the character and personality that will fit the bill in your act.
Until next time,
Steve & JET