A Winnipeg puppeteer wants to show adults that puppets are for them, too.

"You can use objects to express yourself," said Curtis Wiebe. "Express your views, express your humanity, express your humour, everything."

Wiebe is the curator of the Winnipeg Puppet Slam, an adults-only night of puppetry he likened to a variety show. The shows have been put on nearly annually for the past seven years by the Winnipeg Puppet Collective and run the gamut from slapstick comedy to experimental object theatre, Wiebe said.

On Friday, Wiebe hosted a "puppet jam," inviting enthusiasts of all skill levels to try their hands at making and performing with puppets — no experience required.

"We'll see, maybe some of these characters will make their debut at the puppet slam. Who knows?" Wiebe said.


Wiebe's handmade puppets include Harriet, right, and Synthmaster Allan, left. (Aidan Geary/CBC)

Wiebe said he's hoping to build up Winnipeg's small puppet community and bring shy puppeteers out of the woodwork.

"I get the feeling that puppeteers in Winnipeg are .. somebody who likes, enjoys puppets and build puppets in their basement," he said. "It's hard to get them out of the basement and try their hand at actually performing with the puppets."

The puppet jam started at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Wiebe's Exchange District Studio. The next puppet slam is on Sept. 30, and Wiebe said he's still looking for acts.

"This is your outlet. This is your community. Just come on down and be a part of it, because we have always more room for more puppeteers and more puppets," he said.


Another of Wiebe's creations, Walter, is a runt sasquatch. Here, Walter is seen with a mouse handpuppet Wiebe says doesn't have a name yet. (Aidan Geary/CBC)

With files from Isaac Wurmann and Sean Kavanagh