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History of Puppetry
in Canada

Forsyth's Marionettes

Dancer-actor Joan Forsyth and actor Gordon Forsyth founded Forsyth's Marionettes in the mid-1930s. This small travelling company, which usually operated with two to five employees, toured throughout Ontario, eastern Canada and the United States. Forsyth's Marionettes performed at fairs, carnivals and large department stores such as Eaton's. Their marionettes and their repertoire were typical of the variety shows in vogue at the time, and included circus and music hall numbers, comedy sketches, fairytales, and even advertising skits – all aimed at adults and children alike. In addition to performing as puppeteers, Joan and Gordon Forsyth produced and directed all of their own shows. Gordon designed the marionettes, which were then built by an artisan. It also appears that Joan created all of the costumes, and that Gordon developed and installed the controls. Forsyth's Marionettes was active until about 1945: the year in which Gordon became a radio producer.