Yellowknifer Kira Hall featured in new Fraggle Rock reboot

·3 min read
Kira Hall with one of the background cave creatures, a puppet used in the original Fraggle Rock series in the '80s.  (Submitted by Kira Hall - image credit)
Kira Hall with one of the background cave creatures, a puppet used in the original Fraggle Rock series in the '80s. (Submitted by Kira Hall - image credit)

A reboot of a classic '80s kids' show is bringing a lot of things together for a Yellowknife performer who calls herself a "chameleon of stage and screen."

Kira Hall is part of the ensemble cast of Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, which premiered on Apple TV + on Jan. 21.

The 13-episode series modernizes the classic by featuring at least one song in each episode from the original show with new orchestration "or some kind of twist to freshen it up," Hall said.

It also features some of the original '80s puppets, albeit refurbished.

What really carries through, Hall said, is "the vibe of the original."

Submitted by Kira Hall
Submitted by Kira Hall

Hall, who was born and raised in Yellowknife but now lives in Toronto, is a voice artist, actor, writer and puppeteer.

"Anyone who knew me in Yellowknife growing up can attest to the fact that I was kind of all over the place," Hall said.

Hall, whose pronouns are they/them, calls puppeteering a multifaceted art form that encompasses visual art, movement, performance and vocal skills.

"I think with puppetry all of that comes together and you get to work with other people to make something beautiful happen. I think that's really exciting."

With an ensemble cast, "Everybody has hands in all kinds of puppets," Hall said.

Hall's hands are featured as the right-hand side of an all-knowing trash heap, among other characters. Hall is also the voice of a keyboard-playing puppet, a mermaid-Fraggle mix and an angsty shrub.

Submitted by Kira Hall
Submitted by Kira Hall

Hall's career as professional puppeteer took off after landing a role in the first Canadian production of Avenue Q.

The puppet coach on set was part of the cast of the original Fraggle Rock.

"He taught us the ropes of puppetry and through that show, I really developed a love for it and found I kind of had a knack for it," Hall said.

Hall points to Yellowknife dance teachers and school music teachers like Bill Gilday for instilling a "life-long love of, and competence around, music."

Their puppeteering connections go back to Yellowknife as well, through collaborations with The Kestrel Puppet Players.

Submitted by Kira Hall
Submitted by Kira Hall

Like many of a certain generation, Hall had a relationship with Fraggle Rock from an early age.

Hall recalls one of the early meetings of the cast, where colleagues recounted their love of the show. Hall shared that Jr. Gorg — a Fraggle Rock character — featured in a recurring nightmare they had as a kid.

Hall believes the show's message of empathy, kindness and interconnectedness are among the themes that allow Fraggle Rock to stand the test of time.

Coming back to Fraggle Rock as an adult gave Hall "a whole new appreciation of the show," they said.

"The feeling of kindness and empathy and caring and joy, I think the world could use a little more of that," Hall said.

"I'm hoping people come away from the show with some great tunes in their head, some awesome thoughts about how to care for the people around you, and just having a fun time."

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