Benjamin Hunt, , Grantee Link >
Benjamin Hunt is a performance artist who explores our relationship with non-human animals and uses probe performance as a tool to bring about positive change in the social justice movement. He received a grant for “The Plague Dogs,” a shadow-puppet show based on Richard Adams’ novel of the same name, about two dogs who escape a laboratory, and navigate toward liberation while being pursued by humans and their traumatic memories. The puppet show will be performed in primary and secondary schools in the U.K., alongside a puppetry workshop that explores and actualizes suffering of animals under human use, via the craft of puppeteering. Benjamin writes that children will receive:
…an understanding and appreciation of a sentient being, and what actions we (as humans) can take to minimize their suffering. [The show] will look to shift a cultural passivity to animal objectification to an active opposition to these practices, by appealing to a captivated audience of children: the future culture-setters.
In September 2022, Ben sent us an update. The script, he said, was continuing to develop, and was on track to be completed by the end of the year. He had been “building further contact with local schools in the UK, particularly North East England, and developing marketing packs for the show.” He would also be creating “a teaching pack to compliment the performance, and ensure both an appetising project for the school, as well as engagement by student audiences. A large part of my reasoning to include teaching packs and puppetry workshops is based on my research around actualising trauma of the non-human being by tangibly interacting via creativity, which has seen success in human trauma therapy recently.”