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History of Puppetry
in Canada

Mark Saunders

Mark Saunders was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. He first worked with Kay-Heddle Marionettes and, in 1940, entered into a partnership with
Violet and David Keogh. Following the Second World War, he used his veteran's allowance to start a doll business, and once again partnered with Violet Keogh. Despite the company's success, Saunders later sold it to start Puppet Playhouse. For the company's first performance, he chose Hamlet, which was presented at Toronto's Bessborough Hall in 1947 to rave reviews. The project also caused considerable controversy, as the Ontario Board of Education felt that a puppet production of Hamlet was not worthy of Shakespeare.

Adapted from Figuratively Speaking : Puppetry in Ontario by Ken McKay, copyright 1990. Courtesy of the Ontario Puppetry Association and Ken McKay.