Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More about… “Hansel and Gretel” by National Marionette Theatre


Wednesday and Thursday | January 5 & 6 | 10:30AM

Saturday and Sunday | January 8 & 9 | 1PM & 3PM


About the show: In the newest production from National Marionette Theatre, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brothers’ stories to life. Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck. Performed with marionettes. This show is recommended for ages 5 & up.


About National Marionette Theatre: National Marionette Theatre is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment.


The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.


National Marionette Theatre [official site]

BUY TICKETS

Saturday, December 25, 2010

More about… “Little Red and the Gingerbread Man” by Barefoot Puppets


Sunday | December 26 | 1PM & 3PM
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday | December 27, 28 & 29 | 10:30AM & 1PM

About the show: Two tales rolled into one! This show combines two well-loved, classic tales to create an original, fun-filled romp through fairy tales. Join Little Red and she pursues a mischievous Gingerbread cookie through the woods to Grandma’s house. Original music, snowy scenery, and everyone’s favorite Big Bad Wolf make this a seasonal favorite!

Performed with hand puppets. This show is recommended for ages 3 and up.

About Barefoot Puppets: Barefoot Puppet Theatre celebrates the cultural diversity and natural wonders of our world through the art of puppetry. Contemporary adaptations of world folktales, classic tales, myths, and true stories combine with original scripts and meticulously crafted puppets, scenery, and staging to create unique theatrical experiences for young audiences and their families.

They have been building and performing original works since 1997 when founder and director, Heidi Rugg, began building puppet shows from the basement of her home in Richmond, Virginia. From these humble beginnings, the company has grown significantly and now tours nationally.

Barefoot Puppets [official site]
BUY TICKETS

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More About... "Holiday Fantasy" by Spring Valley Puppet Theater


Wednesday & Thursday| December 22 & 23 | 10:30AM
Friday | December 24 | 10:30AM & 1PM

About the show: Enchanted toys, fairy magic, and a clever mouse are just some of the surprises in a Holiday Fantasy. The program includes The Three Wishes, a humorous folktale that teaches the valuable lesson to be careful what you wish for. This performance features beautiful handcrafted puppets and scenery, and a delightful musical score. A holiday treat for the whole family!

Performed with hand puppets. This show is recommended for ages 4 and up.

About Spring Valley Puppet Theater: Michael Graham, puppeteer and director of Spring Valley Puppet Theater, has been performing since 1966 throughout New England, primarily for schools and libraries. He has performed at regional and national festivals of the Puppeteers of America. He designs and makes his puppets, writes his own scripts, creates the scenery, and does a number of the voices.

He graduated from Western Connecticut State College, and studied with the renowned puppeteer Albrecht Roser from Stuttgart, Germany, at the University of Connecticut.

Spring Valley Puppet Theater [official site]

BUY TICKETS

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More about… “Sleeping Beauty” by Tanglewood Marionettes

Saturday and Sunday | December 18 & 19 | 1PM & 3PM

About the show:
In this retelling of the classic fairytale of finding love with a true heart, a painted storybook opens to reveal each scene. Performed with marionettes. This show is recommended for ages 4 and up.

About Tanglewood Marionettes:
Peter Schaefer was born into a family of puppeteers and has been performing with hand puppets, rod puppets and marionettes since he was a child. After refining his skills with a local puppet company for several years, Peter purchased a marionette show from a retiring Boston puppeteer and launched his own company: Mountain Marionettes. After touring nationally for two years, in 1993 Peter decided to join with a fellow puppeteer and form a new company: Tanglewood Marionettes.
Over his career, Peter has brought his unique marionette artistry to hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country!

Tanglewood Marionettes [official site]

BUY TICKETS

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Puppet Showplace Theatre heads to Basil Twist's Petrushka


Puppet fans!

We at Puppet Showplace Theatre are excited that Basil Twist's Petrushka is in town, presented at the newly renovated Paramount Theater by ArtsEmerson. PST fans can receive $5 tickets to this performance by using the discount code PETR5 when ordering. On Tuesday November 16th PST's Puppet Incubator will go on the road to see Petrushka and to meet-and-greet the cast after the show. Join us!

Learn more about Twist in the Boston Globe's feature article. It's great to see this level of puppet coverage by the media in Boston. Let's keep it up!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Puppet Showplace welcomesThe PuppeTree on November 6th and 7th!


This weekend, Puppet Showplace Theatre welcomes a NEW company to our stage! The PuppeTree was founded by Ann Legunn and tours widely from its home base in Vermont. They will be presenting their fabulous piece "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." This shadow spectacle uses three puppeteers! We are excited to see the show come to life on our stage.

The PuppeTree’s mission is to promote an appreciation of the performing arts, with an emphasis on children’s theater and puppets, among diverse audiences. Rather than start a traditional puppet or theater company that just performs theater pieces before an audience, founder Ann Legunn created a “touchable” theater--one in which members of various community groups could become active participants in all aspects of theater arts. The Puppetree is unique in that the participants not only build puppets, but are encouraged to handle those made by Ann--something usually forbidden by most puppet companies--the way they would handle other props, costumes, and scenery.

To this end, the PuppeTree will kick off Puppet Showplace's children's workshop series with a great hands-on workshop! Immediately following their 3:00 pm show on November 6th, members of the troupe will lead a hands-on shadow puppet construction and manipulation activity at the theater. Tickets are $5, or just $3 if purchased in conjunction with a show ticket. Don't miss this exciting event! Buy Tickets Online or call the theatre for reservations at 617-731-6400.


Funded in part by the New England States Touring Program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts Agencies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Memberships Half Price! Ends Friday evening

For the first time in nearly 10 years, we've updated the Puppet Showplace Theatre membership benefits and level choices.

And now, we're discounting our membership prices by 50% as our way of saying 'thank you' for your support!

For the next 24 hours, enjoy all of the same great benefits — including complimentary tickets, discounted tickets and Puppet Store purchases — at 50% off!


How Your Membership Helps Us

The actual cost of presenting a family performance is $14-$16 per person, much more than the ticket price! Though more than 80% of our expenses are directly related to programming, ticket sales account for only 60% of our revenue.

It takes generous donations to help make up this difference. In fact, $2,000 in donations are required each week in order to keep excellent puppetry on our stage.

Each membership counts, from helping to pay performers and staff, to keeping the theater and lobby facility in working order.


What It Means To Be A Member

Ask a Puppet Showplace Theatre member why they joined and you'll get a variety of answers — from the money-saving benefits and the friends they've made at shows, to the fact that they are supporting an organization strongly rooted in the local as well as theatrical communities, dedicated to the art of puppetry and the introduction live theatre for children of all ages.
For audiences young and old, live puppetry is not just entertainment. It's a wonderful stimulus for the imagination.

And since the Puppet Showplace Theatre is a non-profit organization, your membership dues are a charitable contribution and are tax-deductible.



About This Special Discount

There is no offer code to enter, and no hoops to jump through. Just click on this link to learn more or to register.

But keep in mind that these prices are only for a limited time – this offer expires at 5PM on Friday, October 8th.
We hope you will take advantage of this fantastic offer and become a member or renew your membership today!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jim Henson on Making Puppets!

In honor of our theme "Let's make a puppet together!" here's a fantastic video from 1969 where Jim Henson shares a little bit about making simple puppets.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Adult Puppetry, Blair Thomas, and Handmade Puppet Dreams

This past weekend I saw Blair Thomas perform his solo 3-part puppet piece "Hard Headed Heart" at the Charlestown Working Theater. Blair performed preliminary excerpts from this show at PST many years ago, and now he is touring the full-length version through New England. He stopped in Boston at CWT en route to the Puppets in the Green Mountains International Festival in Vermont, a magnificent week-long event featuring world-renowned performers (he'll be joined by PST favorites Bonnie and Jamie of Crabgrass Puppets who will perform at festival events).
Blair spoke eloquently to the Boston Globe about the significance of puppetry for adults:
It’s a logical thing that puppetry is associated with children, because there’s so much a sense of play in puppetry. But there’s also this thing about puppetry, that it requires a different kind of contract than the actors theater does: where the puppet figure asks you to believe in it, and it’s clearly an inanimate object. Children will readily believe. But the same issue goes on in puppet theater for adult audiences. There’s a level of belief that is requested of the audience members when the puppet makes its entrance.

I loved Blair's show, and was incredibly impressed by how he wove together live musical performance, soliloquy, and puppet design to achieve his impact. I was reminded that puppetry, while demanding of technical precision, is at its heart a wildly expressive art form. As Blair pounded 3 musical instruments with his feet while simultaneously performing the story of Don Cristobal with hand puppets, I was deeply moved by being in the presence of a performer who had much to say and who was brave enough to say it all at once.

We at PST are excited about our own adult offerings this year. This season, we are expanding our adult slams so they take place every other month starting in September and continue through July. On Saturday September 25th at 8:00 pm we will kick off our Slam season with a screening of the adult puppet film series "Handmade Puppet Dreams vol. 1," produced by Heather Henson. The show will be preceded at 6:00 pm by a video puppetry workshop led by Puppet Showplace Slam emcee Jonathan Little, who has studied with some of television's greatest puppeteers. Buy Handmade Puppet Dreams Screening Tickets and Reserve a Video Puppetry Workshop Space Here.

Check out Jon's preview video here.

If you have other ideas for adult programming this year, please let me know. Stay tuned for more information about adult puppetry events at PST and upcoming performances by world-class puppet artists in the Boston area!

Roxie
Artistic Director

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Meet the Puppets on Display @ PST

Did you know that the Puppet Showplace Theatre is home to the hand-made puppets of some of the area's best-loved puppeteers? It's true! Next time you're at the theatre, look up – they're all around you, displayed up above the Puppet Store in our lobby.

Here are just some of the puppets you're bound to find.

Hummingbird created by Eric Bornstein (puppet in the background created by Paul Vincent Davis)


Betsy and other Cranberry Puppets created by Puppet Showplace Theatre founder Mary Churchill



Rob Roy created by Paul Vincent Davis


Lion created by Puppet Showplace Theatre founder Mary Churchill, shown with a friend of the Showplace, Jim Henson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More about...The Firebird by the Puppet People

Inspired by the Russian folktale and popular ballet of The Firebird, watch as even the impossible is possible, as the mythical firebird comes to life and Ivan and Princess Yelena team up to break the enchantment placed over their kingdom. This 50 minute magical puppet fantasy features beautifully handcrafted marionettes, lavish costumes, vivid sets, and a large body puppet; masterly accompanied by Stravinsky's musical score from the ballet of The Firebird.
Husband and wife team Mark Carrigan and Michelle Smith-Carrigan have been entertaining people for over 20 years. They have performed at many schools, theatres, festivals, libraries, museums, community centers and churches throughout New York State, Massachusetts and Vermont. Learn more about them at their website.

Don't miss this single-run season-closing show, the only time The Puppet People will be here this year!

BUY TICKETS

Sunday 8/29 @ 1:00 pm

or call the Box Office at 617-731-6400


Friday, August 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

...in late summer.

We're coming to the end of our program year at the end of the month and will be closing down for a couple of weeks before the new season starts up on September 15. But don't think that the puppets aren't kept busy during this down time.

The Puppet Showplace presents shows for 50 straight weeks every year, leaving little time for us to focus on the upkeep of the theatre itself. So now we roll up our sleeves and dust off our paint brushes to tackle a variety of 'spring cleaning' projects. If you'd like to volunteer during the first two weeks of September to help us spruce up the joint, we'd love to have you join us.

And if you're doing any cleaning of your own and would like to help your friendly neighborhood puppet theatre in the process, we could always use donations of the following:
-cleaning supplies
-Apple Macintosh computers (less than five years old and in good working condition)
-file cabinets
-good quality office furniture
-power tools (in good condition)
-construction materials
-and we'd love to find a powerful A/C unit of 12,000 BTUs or more

But don't forget to check out our last shows of the season next week, and come on back for the shows in September. Our full calendar can be found here.


Monday, August 9, 2010

More About... Galapagos George by Barefoot Puppets

Imagine being the last of your kind, being truly "one-of-a-kind." This funny, silly, touching, educational tale is based on the true story of "Lonesome George," the last Giant Galapagos Tortoise discovered in 1971 after it was believed that his species had gone extinct.

Described by The Smithsonian as "an uplifting eco-fable," this engaging show shares an important lesson about man's impact on the environment in a simple manner understandable by kids as young as four.





Barefoot Puppet Theatre is based in Richmond, VA, and tours extensively throughout the US and Canada, performing at theatres, schools, libraries, and museums. Their shows bring to life world folktales, classic tales with a twist, and original works with imaginative scripts that are well researched and fun. The original production "Galapagos George" was funded in part by a grant from the Puppeteers of America Endowment Fund and received an UNIMA Citation of Excellence, the highest award possible in puppetry!


BUY TICKETS

Wednesday 8/11 @ 10:30am
Wednesday 8/11 @ 1:00pm
Thursday 8/12 @ 10:30am
Thursday 8/12 @ 1:00pm

Or call our Box Office at 617-731-6400.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Learn more about Puppetry with Brad and Paul

There are still spots available in our intro to puppetry class beginning August 4th. Join us, and you'll learn about construction, performance, and the history and breadth of the art of puppetry!

The class meets in three sessions, August 4th, 11th, and 18th, from 7-9:30pm at the showplace.

To sign up, visit our page at Brookline Community Education.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Puppets Around the Web: Forgotten Muppets


We've spent a lot of time watching Sesame Street. And we bet you have too, either as a parent or growing up as a kid.

Remember Leo the Party Monster? No? Neither did we.

Which is why we were excited to find Ryan Roe's post on Tough Pigs: "7 Sesame Muppets I Never Thought I'd See Before There Was YouTube."

And though he's not a Muppet, be sure to check out the last clip of Mr. Roger's visit to the Sesame neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Improvements to Puppetshowplace.org Coming

We plan on making a number of changes to our website over the next few months. The big goal is to make the site more intuitive to navigate and show information more accessible. Smaller goals include adding more relevant video, updating our home page with more frequency, and providing our schedules and other printed pieces for download.

We don't expect this project to be completed until early summer 2011, but we've already taken steps to make information easier to find on our current site: our August 2010 schedule — with show descriptions and age recommendations — is ready and available for download in PDF form on our homepage!

Take a look: Puppet Showplace Theatre homepage

Monday, July 19, 2010

Join Our Family

Love puppets? Want to work with them every day? Then join us as a member of our team.

The Puppet Showplace Theatre is currently seeking a full-time Box Office Manager to lead the daily business operations of this 36-year-old performing arts organization.

The Box Office Manager ensures public access to our weekly performances by selling tickets, booking private performances and groups, assisting audiences, managing staff and volunteers, and maintaining the professional appearance and cleanliness of the theatre, lobby, and office spaces.

Click here for a complete position description. To apply, send cover letter and resume in Word or PDF format to executive@puppetshowplace.org. No phone calls, please.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More About... National Marionette Theatre

NATIONAL MARIONETTE THEATRE is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment. The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.



More About... Hansel & Gretel


The story of Hansel and Gretel has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In National Marionette Theatre's newest production, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brother’s stories to life. Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel is sure to delight audiences of all ages!

BUY TICKETS

Wed, July 14 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 14 @ 1:00 PM
Wed, July 15 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 15 @ 1:00 PM

Friday, July 9, 2010

More About... Margaret Moody and Galapagos Puppet Theater

This weekend come cool down or stay dry - depending on what the weather does - at the Puppet Showplace Theatre and enjoy a very special performance of The Monkey King (aka Monkey Wreaks Havoc in Heaven) by Margaret Moody of Galapagos Puppet Theater.

Galapagos Puppet Theater is comprised of Madeleine Beresford & Margaret Moody and includes of a multitude of characters who acts as windows into folktales, fantasies, and historical stories. They perform with hand, rod and life-sized puppets. Galapagos was founded in 1987 and is named for the Galapagos Islands, a habitat for many peaceful and unusual creatures.

They have studied with Taiwan’s master puppeteer Li Tien-lu and his I Wan Jan troupe, and use traditional Chinese puppets and choreography in several shows bringing a love of history and heritage all of their performances.

Galapagos has performed at many venues in the Northeast, including at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the American Museum of Natural History and this Sunday we are happy to welcome Margaret Moody with her solo performance of The Monkey King to Brookline Village.


The Monkey King -The magical Monkey King makes mischief in the Heavens, eating all of the Jade Emperor's peaches and Lao-tze's elixirs. Traditional music arranged by Kevin and Rose Zhen. Performed with traditional Chinese hand puppets and intricate choreography.

BUY TICKETS

Sunday, July 11 @1PM

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!



You may have seen this before, but it still makes us laugh.

Come by and join us for our own show on the Fourth: Brad Shur's "Raccoon Tales" at 1:00pm

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Summer of Puppet Fun!


Please note that our performance schedule has changed for the months of July and August. During the Summer we will be hosting 5 performances per week; Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 AM and 1:00 PM, Sundays at 1:00 PM. The Puppet Showplace Theatre Box Office will be closed on Mondays and Saturdays throughout the Summer. Tickets can always be purchased online here.

And don't miss a special July 4th performance of Raccoon Tales by Brad Shur!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Puppets Around the Web: For you 'Star Wars' fans


Yea, we consider it a puppet. In fact, we hear that there was even a puppet or two in the original 'Star Wars' movies - you know, the days before computer cartoon characters.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wrap up report of the O'Neill conference


My week at the O'Neill Puppetry Conference was so packed with puppetry, that there wasn't a spare moment to update you on all the wonderful goings-on. But now, with the conference behind me, I can give the full scoop.

Roxie, Jon Little and myself got to participate in three separate tracks of the conference. I'll let them fill the readers in on the Video Anarchy and the Flock Theatre facets of the conference.

Myself, I participated in the ensemble production. This year was a special one, the 20th anniversary of the conference. In honor of the occasion, we created a show using one puppet from each year of the conference so far. These ranged from marionettes to masks to a Muppet (yes, an actual practice Muppet from the Henson Company, from the first year of the conference). 20 performers and three directors worked together to create one show that would bring all of these very different puppets together.

Besides that project, the conference hosted master classes every day with experts in writing, movement, and other facets for creating a show, as well as celebrity guests like Noel MacNeal from Bear in the Big Blue House, and Kathy Mullen from Fraggle Rock (both have worked on a number of Henson and other puppet productions).

Conference goers also created about two dozen participant projects, short puppet performances created entirely that week.

To name all the names of the amazing people who attended, taught and facilitated that week would take pages. Let me just say that I was surrounded by folks, both staff and participants, who were not just incredibly talented, but also incredibly open and eager to share their knowledge and skills. By the end of the week, I was exhausted by the almost impossibly full schedule but also excited about everything I had seen and learned.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

More About... Our July/August postcard!



Can you recognize all of our July and August performers? There are 17 in total, and 18 shows! Over the next eight weeks, we'll be highlighting a new performer every few days, close to their performance days. Here's a handy key to all of our performers this summer at Puppet Showplace Theatre!



1. "Galapagos George" by Barefoot Puppets (8/11 & 8/12)
2. "The Carrot Salesman" by Brad Shur (8/25 & 8/26)
3. "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" by Pumpernickel Puppets (8/1)
4. "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Spring Valley Puppet Theater (7/21 & 7/22)
5. "Everybody Loves Pirates" by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers (8/18 & 8/19)
6. "Leopard Learns a Lesson" by Magpie Puppets (8/4 & 8/5)
7. "Hansel & Gretel" by National Marionette Theater (7/14 & 7/15)
8. "The Case of the Missing Woodpile" by The Gerwick Puppets (6/30 & 7/1)
9. "The Firebird" by The Puppet People - PST PREMIERE! (8/29)
10. "Wizards and Knights" by Theatre of Life Puppets starring Sammy Snail (7/28 & 7/29)
11. "The Brave Little Tailor" by Lionheart Puppet Company - PST PREMIERE! (7/25)
12. "The Twig Family" by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer! (7/18)
13. "Raccoon Tales" by Brad Shur (7/4, 7/7, & 7/8)
14. "Here Come the Clowns!" by Brad Shur (8/15)
15. "The Monkey King" by Galapagos Puppets (7/11)
16. "The Three Pigs and Other Tales" by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer! (8/22)
17. "The Little Red Hen" by Lionheart Puppet Company (8/8)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Puppets on NPR

Hi PST fans!

I just arrived back in Boston after a week at the National Puppetry Conference. It was wonderful to bump into so many accomplished artists from across the country and talk up our programming in Boston. Stay tuned for news of upcoming performances by out-of-towners and emerging artists!

Today, NPR ran a story about the conference as part of Weekend Edition. Check it out! And see you at the Showplace!

Roxie

Friday, June 18, 2010

Her Heroes Have Always Been Puppets

















Our very own Roxie Myhrum, PST's Artistic Director, was featured in the Globe this Thursday!

Andreae Downs' article highlights Roxie as the newest addition to our family and the role she'll play in the years to come. We're proud to have Roxie join us - her experience with a variety of theatre genres will certainly strengthen the programs we offer.

Please check out the article on boston.com. And come check out our upcoming shows - you may even meet Roxie while you're here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Show your Brookline pride and help support local nonprofits!



These t-shirts are available only at Village Green Renewal in Brookline Village, just up the street and around the corner from the Puppet Showplace Theatre. Profits will go to benefit 12 selected Brookline nonprofits – one each month – including PST in December 2010!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Showplace fun at the Eugene O'Neill National Puppetry Conference!

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re getting psyched for Summer at Puppet Showplace! We’ll be changing up our schedule with the start of July (more on that soon!) This week we welcome to the Showplace Lionheart Puppets with The Reluctant Dragon, followed by Nappy’s Puppets with Father Goose Tales. Get your tickets today!

I had the great fortune of seeing Nappy perform last night in an outdoor amphitheatre under the stars at the (regional Tony award-winning!) Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center where I’m currently attending the National Puppetry Conference (it just so happens that the conference is also where I met Matt Leonard of Lionheart Puppets for the first time!).

This year, PST Artist in Residence Brad Shur, PuppetSLAM Emcee Jon Little, and I are all here learning from master puppeteers drawn from all over the world. We’re also hard at work on new projects that will be presented at the end of the week (if you happen to be in Waterford, CT come check them out!). While we’re here, we’re also promoting the Showplace to puppet artists from all across America—thanks to all of our current family (Nappy, Michael Graham) and SLAM performers (Z. Briggs, Jones, Carole D'Augustino) for talking up the theatre as a great place to perform!

Stay tuned for announcements of our upcoming SLAM season, and more news from Jon and Brad about their experiences at the O’Neill!

Roxie (artistic@puppetshowplace.org)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Join Our Board

The Puppet Showplace Theatre is seeking energetic professionals to serve on our Board of Trustees and shape the future of this wonderful organization.

We are looking for individuals with a passion for performing arts and experience in any of the following:
  • Governance
  • Marketing and Promotions
  • Theatre and Arts Administration
  • Education
  • Fundraising and Development
As you may know, the Puppet Showplace Theatre (PST) is a Brookline based institution that has been serving the community for over 36 years. PST is New England's only year-round, non-profit theatre devoted to the art of puppetry, and one of very few local organizations that provides ongoing programs for young children and their families.

PST is currently in the process of implementing a three-year strategic plan and will be revising our by-laws during the summer months. We've seen considerable growth over the past several years thanks in part to the enthusiasm of our talented staff, board, and puppeteers, as well as the support of the community.

Trustees play an active role in shaping the theatre's direction and represent a broad cross-section of the community. Each Trustee spends on average 8-10 hours each month addressing Puppet Showplace Theatre matters. There are approximately 6 board meetings each year, generally on weekday evenings. Trustees provide direct support through participation on committees and are responsible for fundraising efforts. Prior board experience is beneficial, but not required.

Please contact Kris Higgins, Executive Director, at executive@puppetshowplace.org to learn more about this opportunity.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Puppet Showplace Theatre in the news!

There's always a lot going on at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, from our family shows, to memorable birthday parties, to performances from our friends Kitsch in Sync, to other special shows like Ole Lukoie's Magic Winglets.

In the middle of all these great things is our great new Artistic Director, Roxanna Myhrum. Roxanna joins us with nearly twelve years of puppetry, theatre, and opera direction and dramaturge experience. Look for a full profile and photo in the Boston Globe later this week! In the meantime, check out this great profile from Boston.com:



In other PST news, local mask maker Eric Bornstein has been profiled by the Boston Globe. In addition to the article, there's a great image gallery of Eric's work at his shop, Behind the Mask. And if you want to see more of Eric's creations, just look up when you're in our lobby – our four, larger-than-life hummingbirds came from Eric's workshop!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ole Lukoie Puppets Presents Magic Winglets


The Puppet Showplace welcomes a special international guest performer to our theatre this week. Master Puppeteer Alexey Shishov of St. Petersburg, Russia has designed a show especially for Boston audiences that draws on the dreamlike storytelling tradition of Oje Lukoie (the Sandman). Performed in English by Brookline community members Olga Pinson and Helen Cherkasova, this adaptation of Thumbelina features table top puppets and projected animations.

Performances will take place at the Puppet Showplace Theatre;
5/27 at 6:00 PM
5/28 at 5:00 PM

Tickets for this performance are not available through the Puppet Showplace Theatre Box Office. Tickets can be purchased directly from Ole Lukoie Puppets online. They will also be selling tickets at the door.

Purchase Tickets

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Behind The Mask Upcoming Events


Puppets and masks share common ancestry. And so we're excited to share with you some upcoming events of Behind The Mask, a performance troupe directed by long-time friend and PST board member Eric Bornstein.


May 24 through June 30

Mask Exhibit
Porter Square at the Porter Square Mall, CVS Window
Visit the Cambridge Arts Council's website for more info.

Opening June 2
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Plaza Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts
We proudly annouce our collaboration with Contemporary Theater of Boston, under the direction of Chris Cavalier, in a non-traditional adaptation journeying into the mysterious dream world of love, desire, and fiendish faeries. Featuring masks and costumes designed and created by Behind The Mask Studio

June 5
Cambridge River Festival
Behind The Mask Studio has created a tribute procession for the beloved storyteller Brother Blue, complete with giant puppets and a butterfly bonanza!
Behind The Mask will also put on an exhibition & workshop, with a performance of the story “The Woman Who Outshone The Sun”
Please visit http://www.cambridgema.gov/CAC/Community/river.cfm for more details.

Through June 9
Illustration of the Imagination: Masks by Four Contemporary Artists
Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery, Center For the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale St, Beverly, MA
Please visit http://www.endicott.edu/centerforthearts for more information.

Also, be sure to check out the Cambridge River Festival posters in the MBTA featuring the work of Behind The Mask Studio!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PuppetSLAM is coming... Saturday May 22nd at 8pm!

Our 4th and final PuppetSLAM of the 2009/2010 season is coming this Saturday night at 8pm! And what a show we have planned for you: Jon Little is set to host, plus there will be at least 22 performers making up nine performance troupes, including...

- Brodrick Jones of Virginia, with his "Piece of Dirt"

- Little's Creatures

- Lesley Smith, the talented ventriloquist behind Sammy Snail and the Theater of Life Puppets

- Evan O'Television and his televised self

- Puppetmaster Jake

- Michelle Finston making her debut performance!

- Elephant Tango Ensemble, an eight-member troupe consisting of puppeteers, actors, musicians, designers and dancers

- a short stop-animation film from Brittanie Marques

- The Puppet Showplace Incubator Hatchlings, a group of individual performers including Jim Sedgwick, Gary Pappas, Michelle Finston, and John Lechner, plus Puppet Showplace Theatre Artistic Director Roxie Myhrum, Artist in Residence Brad Shur, and Artist in Residence Emeritus Paul Vincent Davis

Tickets are still available but going fast. Get yours before we sell out! BUY TICKETS

Check out video of a piece from our previous PuppetSLAM in March 2010...
"The Conductor" by Little's Creatures

Disfarmer: A review

Disfarmer, directed by Dan Hurlin, was performed at the ICA this past weekend.

I have to admit, I don't get as many opportunities as I'd like to see serious puppet theater aimed at adults, so forgive me if I have the giddy tone you'll find in the parents of a young child eating at a restaurant without a drive-thru for the first time in months.

Of course, I take puppetry aimed at children very seriously, but well done, full length adult puppet theater is a rare treat.

There is only really one character in this show, Mike Disfarmer, an eccentric Arkansas photographer who documented small town life in the 1940s (Learn more about the real Mike Disfarmer). He is brought to life as a bunraku-style puppet worker be several performers at once. Not only was the manipulation of the puppet Disfarmer clean and elegant, but the landscape in which he lived was brought to life as well. The sets lived on a series of tables on wheels which rolled together to form the interior or exterior of his house. In a few scenes, while Disfarmer paced alone with his thoughts, table after table rolled under him, creating his path through the town with each step he took.

If the show itself was the treat, then the cherry on top was the Saturday morning workshop with director Dan Hurlin and the show's five puppeteers.

Participants worked with simple jointed practice puppets (pictured on the right) to learn how to bring them to life through teamwork. In the tradition of bunraku puppets, one puppeteer manipulates the head and right hand, one works the left hand, and one walks the puppet. It quickly became clear how difficult it was for three people to coordinate their efforts for even simple actions like walking or lying down, much less the subtle and character defining movements of Disfarmer.

Watch this blog for upcoming performances and workshops.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2010-2011 Season Sponsorship

The puppets are busily preparing for the 2010-2011 season year, which begins in September. But they need as much help as they can find to ensure that we'll be able to present really fantastic programming. And their looking to local sponsors to help out.

We can't express how delighted we are to have Finagle A Bagel recently pledge their support as a corporate sponsor!

Know of a wonderful local business like Finagle A Bagel that we should partner with? Send them our way. Our corporate sponsors receive really cool benefits, such as private shows, loads of advertising, and even a puppet likeness of the company's CEO. More details on sponsor benefits can be found here.

Contact Kris, our Executive Director, at executive@puppetshowplace.org for more info.

And thanks for supporting the imaginative world of puppetry!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Puppets in Development...

In addition to being a fabulous place to see puppet theater, Puppet Showplace is a great resource for artists developing new works. Every other week, we host our puppet incubator where artists of all persuasions meet to discuss and develop their works-in-progress. I love getting feedback from artists who work in different mediums or puppetry styles, and I always leave incubator fired up to build or write or rehearse.

Our puppet slams are also great ways for artists to try out pieces of a larger work in front of an audience. At our last slam, Diane Kordas of Romper Rhythm & Puppets performed part of her "Pirates and Tales of the Sea" show, which she will perform as a full piece at PST in September. Also, Bonnie Duncan of They Gotta Be Secret Agents performed an excerpt of her show Poste Restante, which I saw in its complete form (twice! once with my Mom! it was that good!) over the weekend at the Charlestown Working Theater. We're also waiting with great anticipation for the day when our friends and regular slam performers Z. Briggs and Chad Williams of Wonderspark Puppets will present a full-length show at PST. (Z. recently informed me that she did her first solo performance as a puppeteer at PST. We're so proud!).

For artists who are not working on a full length show but who still want to advance their puppetry skills, PST is a great educational resource. This weekend we are hosting a workshop with master puppeteer Dan Hurlin of Mapp International Productions while he is in Boston performing at the Institute of Contemporary Art as part of the Emerging America Festival. Then on Sunday, the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry (BAGOP) will present (PST board member!) Eric Bornstein of Behind the Mask as part of their Guild Meeting at PST. New members are welcome!

Still not sure how to take advantage of the artist resources that PST has to offer? Email me or drop by the theater and we'll talk! We had two puppeteers (Allison Daniel of Chicago and Agus Nur Amal of Indonesia) serendipitously drop in last week and wow us with their work. Our doors are open to you too!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Your body is a puppet

It's always amazing to see how every culture finds new and wonderful ways to bring inanimate objects to life. Chack out these Japanese leg puppets.



There's a practical limitation that affects every puppeteer: You only have two hands. How can you bring to life your characters with all the detail and sophistication they deserve with only two hands to manipulate them with? The solutions to this are the root of a lot of the innovation and artistry of puppet theater.

This traditional Japanese puppet form solves the problem by bringing a bit more of the body into play. The puppeteer's legs form the trunks of the puppets' bodies, and his hands are free to slip into the sleeves of the kimono to animate the arms. Voila! You have a puppet with three actively manipulated parts. Granted, it's a bit limited what you can do with a leg while lying on your back, but still quite beautiful.

Seeing this clip reminded me of this piece by Peruvian performers Theatro Hugo & Ines.



Hugo & Ines are masters of using the human body in innovative ways to create bright, living characters. If you're planning to be in New York later this month, you can see Hugo & Ines in action on May 28th, click here for details. Unfortunately, the only way to see traditional Japanese leg puppets would be a trip to Japan, unless you make your own.

-Brad Shur
Artist in Residence

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Brookline Arts Center's Palette Project

This spring, as they get ready for a big Spring fundraiser gala coming up this weekend, our friends at the Brookline Arts Center have created a town-wide art show.

Artists' palettes donated by more than 100 artists have been displayed throughout the town: each is designed by a Brookline talent, and will be available in a silent auction.

The Puppet Showplace's own Artist-in-Residence, Brad Shur, added his talents, creating a whimsical puppet inspired character. Apparently this green little guy has made many friends at The Children's Bookstore in Brookline Village where he's been on display.

You can bid on Brad's palette at the Children's Bookstore or at the BAC's fundraiser event, Color Your World Gala, this Saturday. Visit BAC's website for details.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kitsch in Sync presents Ken's Farewell Show - Friday, May 7, 8:00 PM

Did you know that on the first Friday of each month the Puppet Showplace Theatre turns into a comedy club? That is because local Improv Comic Troupe Kitsch in Sync calls this theatre home.

According to their website this troupe, which was founded in 1989, "is a committed and familial band of comedians out to make you laugh through the wonders of short-form improv comedy. At the end of the night, if [they've] done [their] job right, people are left with a fleeting, momentary respite from their empty relationships, unfulfilling jobs, and hopeless, meaningless lives. Hopefully the audience feels okay, too."

Kitsch in Sync performs a type of improv called "Short Form." In short-form improv, short, unrelated scenes and vignettes are performed, each one inspired by a different audience input. In most cases these scenes last five minutes or less. This is the type of improv fans of the TV show "Whose Line is it Anyway?" will recognize.

Don't miss their next show, Friday May 7 at 8:00.
Tickets are $10 General Admission; $8 Students.

This is being dubbed "Ken's Farewell Show" in homage to long-time cast member Ken Grout. This will be Ken's last performance with the troupe.

Learn more about Kitsch in Sync
Learn more about renting the Puppet Showplace Theatre for your own event

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More About...
Len Gerwick & The Gerwick Puppets

This is a very special week at the Puppet Showplace Theatre: We're welcoming The Gerwick Puppets in for four big days of Aesop's Fables, including Mother's Day, Sunday May 9th, when moms get in FREE!

Len Gerwick has been a puppeteer for most of his life. In fact, he grew up doing puppet shows. From junior high through college he took his portable theater by subway to all five boroughs of New York City. He graduated from Pratt Institute, studied at Columbia University, the University of Vienna (Austria), and received a Master's in Art History from the University of Toronto, Ontario.

Len has been passionate about painting, history, classical music and dance throughout his life. He was an art teacher at Holliston High School in Holliston, Massachusetts for nine years before entering puppetry full time.

He has been very active in the professional puppetry community, having served on the board of Puppeteers of America as chair of its Endowment Committee, and is currently on the board of The Puppet Showplace Theatre. In 2008, Len was awarded the Northeast Region of Puppeteers of America's Artistic Achievement Award.

Along with puppetry, he is dedicated to his painting where his work has been shown in galleries in Massachusetts.

The Gerwick Puppets have performed over 5,000 shows since their founding in 1974.


Aesop's Fables - This lively retelling includes The Country Mouse and the City Mouse, The Dog and his Bone and The Fox and the Crow. This performance delights audiences both young and old while teaching valuable lessons. Hand puppets.

BUY TICKETS
Wednesday, May 5 - SOLD OUT

Thursday, May 6 @10:30AM

Saturday, May 8 @1PM @3PM

Sunday, May 9 @1PM @3PM

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More About... Saltamontes Puppet Arts and "Babui"

Have you heard? Babui is coming. Join us this weekend for the sole North American presentation of "Babui" for 2010.


The puppeteers arrive with only a box. But it is empty - almost empty. There are no puppets in that box, only a book, an egg and an old newspaper. What could be in that egg? And how to hatch it? Three very different animals, an ostrich, a tiger, and an elephant, all give their best but to no avail. After much time it finally hatches on its own, and a delightful new creature, Babui, is born.

Saltamontes Puppet Arts was founded in 1994 in Bogota, Columbia and moved to Bavaria, Germany in 2004. "Babui" premiered in 2006 and received a prize as one of the best shows at the International Puck Festival in Cluj Napoca, Romania.

Performance will be at 1pm and 3pm Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available online or by calling 617-731-6400.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Massachusetts Day of Puppetry Celebration!

Have you ever wondered how a professional puppeteer works? Here's your chance to find out! Michael Graham, the very talented performer behind Spring Valley Puppet Theater, will be performing his show "The Three Wishes" without curtains or walls – just puppets, props, and scenery!


It's all part of our special
Massachusetts
Day of Puppetry celebration!



Saturday, April 24 from 5:00 - 5:45 PM at the Puppet Showplace Theatre. Tickets are $6 general admission; $4 Puppet Showplace Theatre and Boston Area Guild of Puppetry members.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More about...
Jim Napolitano and Nappy's Puppets

Jim Napolitano, or "Uncle Nappy" to his fans, is a native of Milford, Connecticut, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts Program. After completion of his degree, Jim worked with Bits 'N' Pieces Puppet Theatre of Tampa Bay, Florida. He performed around the country and around the world, including The National Culture Center in Japan and The National Theater in Taiwan.

Jim's work can be seen on the PBS show Between The Lions. Other television credits include The Book Of Pooh, The Weinerville Chanukah Special, A Show of Hands and Stick Stickly. Jim has also worked on programs for Scholastic Home Video and HBO Pictures.

About Father Goose Tales
Mother Goose is away for the day and Father Goose has to take care of all her chores, including the storytelling. But every time one of those all-too-familiar stories gets started, try as he might, he just can’t seem to get it right. Father Goose Tales is an amusing, modern retelling of nursery rhymes, stories and children’s songs designed with shadow puppets to entertain the whole family.


A well-loved song from Father Goose Tales: "Five Little Monkeys"



TICKETS are still available for Thursday and Friday. Call our Box Office at 617-731-6400 or click below for more information.

BUY TICKETS

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Patriots Day and Marathon Monday

In observance of these two events, the Puppet Showplace Theatre will be closed on Monday. But don't let that stop you from having some puppet fun this week.

Because this is also vacation week we've got 12 performances of three fantastic shows. Tuesday and Wednesday is Romper Rhythm and Puppets' production of "Hungry Caterpillar and Forest Folktales." Thursday and Friday Nappy's Puppets bring the hilarious shadow puppet show "Father Goose's Tales." And the weekend features the classic "Jack and The Beanstalk" by Spring Valley Puppet Theatre. All shows are at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. Buy Tickets soon, we're likely to sell out.

But that's not all... Saturday, April 24th is the official National Day of Puppetry and Massachusetts Day of Puppetry! In celebration, we will be presenting a special behind-the-scenes performance of Spring Valley Puppet Theatre's "Three Wishes" at 5:00pm. The curtain will be literally pulled away so that you can see the puppeteer at work. Tickets are only $6 ($4 for members).

And watch out for members of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry (BAGOP) on Saturday. They are taking puppets to the streets of Boston, with visits at the Children's Museum and the Frog Pond.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Puppets in Primetime...and on the Silver Screen

We at Puppet Showplace love live puppet theater more than anything, but we also know how important TV and film have been to making puppets famous around the world. Our regular Friday evening series, "Puppets in Primetime," is coming up April 16th at 6:30. Come on by the theater for a double bill of classic Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock episodes.

If you're craving more puppets on the big screen, our friends at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge are doing a weekend muppet marathon, with screenings of the Muppet Movie, Labyrinth, and other great films.

When I watch TV or film puppetry I'm always on the lookout for examples of the subtle manipulation techniques that really make the puppets come to life. It's a lot harder than it looks! Not only do puppeteers need to re-wire their brains while performing on camera so they can watch their puppet in monitors that show everything in left-right reverse, but they need to choreograph their movements so they translate well from 3D to 2D.
For a manipulation skill that's also translatable into live puppet theater, next time you watch the muppets try using your hand as a mouth (for extra fun, add a set of "peepers" eyes from our store) and see if you can talk in time with the puppets. Make sure the movement is mainly coming from your thumb rather than your top fingers--otherwise, your eyes would move every time you opened your mouth! This skill, called "lip synch" is one of the first things puppeteers need to master when working with talking mouth puppets.

Bonus: for an example of (intentionally) not-so-great on-camera puppetry, check out last week's episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he satirizes RNC chairman Michael Steel with a crazy puppet routine (the puppet appears about 10:30). Funny, or just painful to watch? The character is based on a Sesame Street routine set in a restaurant where Grover waits on a man who keeps sending his soup back. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More About... Sarah Lamstein

This Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30AM, Sarah Lamstein joins us with her show Funny Bone Tales. The show is recommended for children ages 4 and up. The Wednesday show has sold out, but tickets are still available for Thursday's show. Ticket information can be found here: BUY TICKETS

Puppeteer. Past PST Board President. Benefactor. Sarah has been actively involved in the Puppet Showplace Theatre for many years, fighting to keep the doors open during our darkest hours. The Puppet Showplace Theatre owes a great debt of thanks to Sarah for her inexhaustible devotion.

She has been performing as a puppeteer for over 30 years and served as a board member of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry. In addition, she was a secondary school English teacher and school librarian for 17 years and now writes for children, publishing picture books and a young adult novel. Sarah lives with her husband in Newton and has three children and one grandchild.

More About... Funny Bone Tales
With her gentle demeanor and sly wit, Sarah Lamstein tells three charming tales with hand puppets. Silly Sam is about a little boy who’s trying to find a suitable birthday present for his friend. Bendemolena is about a cat that finds everything she hears is all mixed up! Finally, a gentle version of the famous Punch and Judy show has children laughing and calling out directions to the trickster Mr. Punch.

Sarah Lamstein's official website

Friday, April 9, 2010

Only Seven Days Left


Please help make the Puppet Showplace one of Massachusetts' Great Places.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts invites residents from all 351 cities and towns across the state to nominate their favorite places. The nominations will be considered for a final list of 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts to be announced in May.

The Great Places initiative will celebrate what is unique about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, its communities, and its people. It also aims to stimulate the economy by boosting visitation to the state's wide range of exceptional historic sites, cultural venues, and natural landscapes.

The deadline for nominations is April 15. Tell your members, visitors, and fans to nominate their favorite place here: http://www.massvacation.com/1000/index.php

Check out Chronicle on WCVB-TV on Monday, April 12 at 7:30 pm for more on 1,000 Great Places.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shadow Puppets at Brookline Music School


Since we're closed on Mondays, we encourage you to visit our friends at Brookline Music School on the 13th for a great shadow puppet performance.

Brookline Music School faculty and friends return as The Elephant Tango Ensemble to bring you more classic and original bedtime stories with live music! Shadow Puppet Storytime & Music will debut a new work by Jill Gibson, featuring puppets by Dylan Gould and Karin Webb, with music by Brendan Burns, Valerie Thompson, Vessela Stoyanova and Nate Greenslit. This show will also present a shadow puppet interpretation of three Aesop's Fables: Mice in Council, Mountain in Labor, and The Lion's Paw, with music selections from The Elephant Tango Ensemble.

The Elephant Tango Ensemble is a collective of musicians, actors, puppeteers, designers and dancers who are committed to the preservation of Storytime through the use of original music, puppets and creative storytelling. For more information on The Elephant Tango Ensemble visit www.elephanttango.com.

Monday, April 12, 2010, 7:00pm
Lincoln Sc
hool Auditorium, 19 Kennard Rd., $5