Wendy Passmore-Godfrey poses with her puppets, Bird and Baxter, in front of her home. (PHOTO: LORENZO GAVILAN VARGAS)

For 30 years, local not-for-profit WP Puppet Theatre has been providing kids and adults alike with learning opportunities through puppet shows. However, they are currently finding it tough to secure funding. WP Founder and Puppeteer Wendy Passmore-Godfrey, noted the financial tensions the non-profit has faced trying to keep shows running smoothly.

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Reporter Lorenzo Gavilan Vargas caught up with Passmore-Godfrey earlier to discuss the theatre’s struggles.

“I do think that public money is getting stretched to such a degree that it’s going to impact our revenue. So we have to figure out some other ways,” says Passmore-Godfrey.

This is not the first time the theatre company has encountered this sort of problem. Keeping an arts company afloat for 30 years has come with its fair share of adversity. 

“You never have any security in running an arts company,” says Passmore-Godfrey. “We didn’t know what our next year was going to be like. People book tickets last minute. Organizations that we work for don’t know their budgets.”

Joanna Battjes is an elementary and high school art teacher who attended an introduction to puppet making course and the View From the Inside program, both offered by WP Puppet Theatre. She thoroughly enjoyed them.

“You never have any security in running an arts company. We didn’t know what our next year was going to be like. People book tickets last minute. Organizations that we work for don’t know their budgets.”

Wendy Passmore-Godfrey

Battjes says, “I think what they’re offering is such a valuable service to our community. … and so enhancing to our world that I’m hoping that people will see the value of that and they will be able to get all the funding that they need.”

According to a survey by Calgary Arts Development in May of 2020, nearly half of all arts organizations responded that they will have to cease operations in the next six to 12 months because of the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

Despite this, self-proclaimed optimist Passmore-Godfrey is still looking to the future with hope.

“In 30 years you’ve gone through a lot of challenges,” says Passmore-Godfrey. “We’ve always come through them.”

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