Anything that is related to puppetry in education in Kenya can be, and is, easily associated with Dr. Eric Krystall. He is credited as the founder of puppetry in education, community development, entertainment and the practice of contemporary puppet theatre in Kenya. Eric, along with Gary Friedman brought training up from S. Africa in the early nineties to set into motion all the puppetry we see in Kenya today.
Nani Croze is founder of the Kitengela Glass factory located on the Kitengela Plains in Kajiado County. Her commissioned works can be found all over East Africa. Her factory grounds are a destination location for tourists and local schools; featuring demonstrations, hands on classes and gallery events regularly.
Now, Dr Eric Krystall and Nani Croze, along with the Kenya Institute of puppet Theatre, Rotary International, Project HAND UP (from USA), Kitengela Glass, and Newrobi Puppeteers are building a live puppetry entertainment and education centre to be called The Puppet Hub, Kitengela.
The hub cum centre is being built next to Kitengela Glass in Kajiado County. It will be a hub of puppetry activities including training, live performances, mentorship, internship and international exchange programmes with a focus on mobilizing edutainment teams across East Africa.
It is a dream come true to institutions of higher learning who have been looking for placement for their students pursuing media and performing arts and who want to major in puppet theatre.
It’s a much needed answer to the problem of a lack of a systematic approach to the regular creation of curriculum to culturally appropriately educate large groups of people about sexually transmitted disease and tribalism.
It’s also a solution to the displacement of Kenyan puppeteers due to economic changes, urban development, time, and a lack of central leadership within our community of artists.
Finally, in an area of the world where storytelling is a key instrument of change, this center along with its cooperating organizations is poised to be a “sending organization” whereby teams of puppeteers mobilize across the region performing educational shows about peace, disease prevention, gender equality and national identity.