By Nicole Law |

From bowling to Harry Potter studies, golf to wine tasting, UCF offers classes for all interests. Theatre students now get the chance to create stories using odd objects and puppets.

Students taking Introduction to Puppetry and Object Theatre this fall with Ayelet Golan, a visiting professor with the Israel Institute’s Visiting Artists Program, are doing just that. Central Florida Hillel and Judaic Studies worked together to obtain the grant. Only a few weeks into the semester, these students have already created thrilling stories using dolls, stuffed animals and their imaginations.

Golan is a story in and of herself. Successful in her field, her art has been displayed all over the world. As a teacher for the last 10 years, Golan employs a “very curious eye” to explore reality with her students. Her office hosts a display of these explorations and adventures: misplaced doll parts, foliage, trinkets and figurines adorn her walls and desk.

As evidenced by her collections, Golan has a talent for finding the curious in the world around her. Orlando gives her time to explore, stare and think. She’s amazed at the area’s juxtaposition between rows of organized, well done houses and dynamic, unpredictable environments. “It’s very refreshing, very different from Israel.” Golan has also been impressed by her students’ thirst for knowledge. She’s felt welcomed by the kind people in the community.

As her protégés learn about contemporary puppetry, object theatre, visual languages and more, Golan hopes they see that the mistakes they make are the most important part in the creative process and in life. “I want to mistake with them,” said Golan, “Theatre is fun! If you want to find some good answers, first you need to celebrate your mistakes and acknowledge your stupidity.”

What can other UCF students learn from Golan’s puppetry class? It’s not only the traditional methods of singing puppets and stuffed animals. It’s a point of view. “It’s a way to put something else in front of you. Sound can be a puppet; the text can be a puppet. You want to make it vivid; you want to bring it to life. You give the text life through you.”