Monday, December 31, 2012

One More Day to "Lend A Hand"

Help us raise $15,000 by Jan 1st! We are sooooo close!

As we are in the last few hours of 2012, the excitement of the new year is upon us! It has been a fantastic year for Puppet Showplace Theatre, and now is your chance to ensure that our mission continues for many years to come.


Fundraising Campaign Stats!
The grand total for donations is: $12,225. There is only $2,775 more to raise!

We have met all our matching challenges – thank you to ALL who participated in achieving those goals! We still have $2775 to raise before January 1…can YOU put us over the edge? With just a few hours to go, every donation, big or small, makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE!

Thank you to all our donors and members who have contributed during this appeal!

Next Step Living "Lends A Hand"

Next Step Living is a residential energy efficiency and renewables company that believes good things happen when you save energy in your home. Did you know that you can sign up for a FREE home assessment?

Representatives of Next Step Living will be in the PST lobby on Dec 31st and Jan 1st to answer questions and take sign-ups.  They have made a generous contribution to our fundraising campaign as one of our community partners! Saving the planet, and the puppet theatre at the same time? Our kind of heros!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Puppets at the Pru!

31 Nights of Light at the Prudencial Center

The Shops at Prudential Center will shine a light on Boston organizations this holiday season. Each night, the top of Prudential Tower is lit a different color in support of that night's partner. 31 Nights of Light was created to help community organizations gain key visibility during the holiday season. Participating groups will "flip the switch" each night, with a host of musical performances and speakers each night. LEARN MORE

On Friday, December 28th, the Prudential Tower will light up orange at 5pm in honor of Puppet Showplace Theatre!

Help us Celebrate
Join us from 12:00pm to 5pm for a puppet extravaganza!
  • Puppet making activity: Make your own snowman puppet!
  • Enjoy displays of puppets made by our founder, Mary Churchill and Artist-in-Residence Emeritus, Paul Vincent Davis.
  • Bella Monster and friends will be there too with stories and songs!
  • And don't forget to help us "Flip-the-switch" at 5pm!
Stop by anytime between 12pm and 5pm, we will be in the Huntington Arcade, next to the South Garden.

Directions to the Prudential Center: CLICK HERE

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dec Vacation Week Continues with TWO Shows by Barefoot Puppets

Barefoot Puppets Founder and Director,
Heidi Rugg. Photo by Warren Johnson.

Remember those awesome puppet shows from last year, "Galapagos George" or "The Little Bread Hen?" Fan favorite, Barefoot Puppets returns this week for our December Vacation Extravaganza with TWO NEW SHOWS!

Little Red & the Gingerbread Man
Mon Dec 24 | 10:30 AM 1 PM & 3 PM
Wed Dec 26 Thur Dec 27 & Fri Dec 28 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM

Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under
Sat Dec 29 & Sun Dec 30 | 1 PM & 3 PM
Mon Dec 31 & Tues Jan 1 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM



"Little Red & the Gingerbread Man"
You know what's good to hear - two for one! And that's exactly what we've got for ya - two tales rolled into one. Join Little Red as she pursues a mischievous Gingerbread Cookie through the woods to Grandmother's house. Original music, snowy scenery, and everyone's favorite, the Big Bad Wolf, make this seasonal favorite.

"Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under"
Emus, crocodiles and frogs -- oh my! Experience the magic of "The Land Down Under" in this performance inspired by Aboriginal folktales. Learn more about some truly unusual animals as a mother platypus tries to get her young one to sleep by sharing three stories from the Australian Dreamtime. In these "How and Why" tales, you'll learn how the emu became a flightless bird and why the platypus looks so strange. In the final story, you'll meet a giant, bloated, ocean-swallowing frog, and perhaps get invited onstage to help bring the water back!


"Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under"
Barefoot Puppet Theatre has 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. The first show she originally designed to fit in the back of a Volkswagon Golf! From these humble beginnings, the company (and the the touring vehicle) has grown significantly and now tours nationally while continuing to create new works for young audiences and their families.

A Jill-of-all-trades, Heidi finds that puppeteering allows her to integrate her love of stories with her love of art. She began building puppets in elementary school to fulfill requirements for visual aids for book reports. Who knew that a puppet company would grow from homework?

Now Heidi writes, builds, and directs all shows. She also performs in most of the shows and leads workshops on puppet building and puppetry skills. Heidi has become well-known for her puppet voices, her innovative puppet mechanisms, and original designs. She loves coming up with ideas for new shows and working with a variety of media (especially hand-made papers, raw silk, and slinkies).

Find out more about Barefoot Puppet Theatre on their website: CLICK HERE

Friday, December 21, 2012

Brookline Local Businesses "Lend A Hand"

It Takes a Village to Keep Our Theatre Open!

Many generous private donors have contributed to our "Lend A Hand" fundraising campaign this December.  Our goal is to raise $15,000 by January 1st, and we are close to reaching that goal!  In addition to the many individuals who support our non-profit theatre, there are local businesses right in Brookline Village also "Lending A Hand!"

Read more about our "Lend A Hand" campaign, including donation incentives and matching challenges on the PST Website: MORE INFO

Koko FitClub Brookline
39 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02445, (617)-566-5656

At Koko, you can now support Puppet Showplace Theatre while Koko helps you stay healthy!

For every patron of the Puppet Showplace Theatre who joins Koko FitClub by 12/31/2012, Koko FitClub will donate $50 to the Theatre to help meet its fundraising goal. Thanks to Koko, here is a great way to help us and help you get healthier at the same time. 

 Use promo code: BRPST-1112. 

Better than personal training. It’s Koko SMARTRAINING.

If you’ve been thinking about getting back in shape, about improving your health, and finding some much-needed YOU time in your busy schedule, we welcome you to experience Koko FitClub. Koko gives you all the benefits of personal training without the personal trainer. Our patented Koko Smartraining System plans your workouts, guides you through each exercise, and tracks your progress. All built into our award-winning equipment and all customized just for you. It’s the most effective and affordable 30-minute strength and cardio training system in fitness. And you can come in whenever you want. So the only schedule that matters is yours. For men and women, Koko is the world’s best 30 minute workout. Visit to see Koko in action. 

Henry Bear's Park, Brookline
19 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02445, (617) 264-2422

Shop local this holiday season!  All three stores (Brookline, Cambridge and Arlington) offer a lively assortment of toys, books, and games for all ages. From the very first infant rattle, right on through family board games.  Henry Bear's Park strives to find toys that promote healthy and positive play.

Community Wraps:  Henry Bear's Park has invited PST to wrap gifts at their Brookline location on Saturday, Dec 22nd and Sunday, Dec 23rd.  Shoppers are asked to give a small cash donation to PST for this service.  The store will provide all of the wrapping materials, and even MATCH every dollar donated with a gift certificate for PST to use at their store.  Puppets LOVE playtime! This generous gift is perfect timing for our upcoming "Puppet Playtime" program beginning in January, where little patrons ages 0-3 and their grown-ups will join us Wednesdays at 10:30am for free play, sing-along, storytelling and puppet shows.

Thank you Henry Bear's Park from "Puppet Playtime" performers
Phil Berman, Bella Monster, and Brenda Huggins!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Hansel and Gretel

An illustration by Arthur Rackham (1909)

A Fairytale Comes To Life

Welcome back, readers! We thought since it's December, which is basically the most wonderful and magical time of the year, we would show a fairytale this week, one you may remember reading as a child: "Hansel and Gretel."

And who better to put on a show like that than the father-and-son (well, more like sons) team over at National Marionette Theatre, who - for years - have been bringing some of our favorite fairytales to life?

Yes, children and adults alike will be dazzled by the performances of the National Marionette Theatre. You don't believe me? Probably because you've never seen one of their shows. Well, let's take a look at their work, then - past and present.

About The Show...

You all know the story of "Hansel and Gretel," right? Well, in case you don't - Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister threatened by a cannibalistic witch living deep in the forest in a house constructed of cake and confectionery. The two children give into their temptations and fall for the witch's trick, but eventually save their lives by outwitting her. Yes, the joke's on the witch when Hansel and Gretel push her into the oven - as she intended to do with them (yuck!).

Hansel and Gretel, lost in the dark forest 

Now, you probably read "Hansel and Gretel" while you were growing up, but you certainly haven't seen it like this - on stage! The National Marionatte Theatre, which is made up of David A. Syrotiak Sr. and his two sons, David J. and Peter, have been dazzling audiences for many, many years now.

Hansel and Gretel, startled by the "Old Woman" 

"Hansel and Gretel" is one of the many fairytales in their rotation and has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In their adaptation, two master puppeteers bring one of the most famous of the Grimm Brothers' stories to life. The show features exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck - from his 1893 opera, Hänsel und Gretel.

And The Family Of Performers...

As I mentioned before, the National Marionette Theatre is made up of a family of performers - literally. David A. Syrotiak Sr. and his two sons, David J. and Peter, work together to put on some of the most spectacular shows ever.

The Guys
David Sr., a self-made puppeteer, has rightfully won the honorary title of "Master Puppeteer."  He has dedicated his entire life to the field of puppetry, which he came to love at a very young age.  During his teens, he got his first job working with Suzari Marionettes and, later on, worked alongside the Krofft Brothers and Bil Baird during the 1965 Worlds Fair in New York.  David Sr. eventually started doing his own line of work and founded the National Marionette Theatre in 1967.  He has worked and toured extensively in many parts of the world and his work has earned him many awards including the UNIMA award for excellence in the field of puppetry in 1976 for "Art of the Pupeteer" and again in 1997 for his adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast."  As Artistic Director of the National Marionette Theatre, some of David Sr.'s favorite aspects of puppetry are painting, sculpting, and, of course, performing.

David Jr., like his father, has been around puppets all of his life.  When he was just twelve-years-old, he was recruited as an emergency understudy for the National Marionette Theatre's production of "Art of the Pupeteer."  David Jr. formally joined the company in 1984and has toured both in and out of the States.  Along the way, he has taken time off to work with other companies including Vagabond Marionettes, The Bennington Puppets, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and Bil Baird's Marionettes.  Aside from performing and managing the company, David Jr. is also an accomplished wood carver, sculptor, and costumer.

"Sleeping Beauty" and "Pinocchio"
Peter, much like his brother and his father, has also been around puppets all of his life.  Since he was old enough to hold a piece of sandpaper, he has always lent a hand in the shop, building marionettes, sets, and props for the company.  He formally joined the company in 1989 with the production of "Christmas Dream" and has been touring in and out of the States, building puppets, and performing ever since.

Together, the Syrotiaks (a.k.a. National Marionette Theatre) have staged some of the most beautiful shows ever.  In addition to "Hansel and Gretel," they have also brought other fairytales to life, including: "Sleeping Beauty" and "Pinocchio" - both of which have been great successes.  

With the help of intricate designs - in their puppets, sets, and costumes - and (sometimes) music - like using Tchaikovsky's ballet for Sleeping Beauty - their shows are guaranteed to "wow" audiences of all ages.  Correction: they have "wow-ed" audiences of all ages.  

If you have yet to see one of their shows, then we recommend you head on over to PST this week and see "Hansel and Gretel."  You won't be disappointed.  We promise!  Tickets can be purchased online HERE.  

Till next time.  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Blogger: Author/Illustrator Peter Reynolds

Peter Reynolds

Fuel for a Creative Journey

by Peter H. Reynolds

Award-winning author/illustrator Peter H.Reynolds talks about why he's a supporter of Puppet Showplace Theatre. YOU can support the theater too by donating to our annual winter appeal.
Help keep our theatre open another 39 years! 

I am tapping away on my computer here in my office with a puppet hanging near me. Reminds me of my childhood and how lucky I was.

First stroke of luck was not being born alone. I arrived with my twin brother, Paul - a friend to talk to, adventure with, protect and defend, listen to, and explore the world with. We also were lucky to be born into a large-ish family of seven, so the house at 26 Samuel Road in Chelmsford, MA was buzzing with activity. Add to this scenario the fact that our parents were a British duo powered by resilience of having survived a world war, our mother a teenager in London and Dad stationed in Egypt. They ventured to Canada and then America in search of stability and peace. They brought with them however the whimsy and humor of Britain, and their love of books. Paul and I grew up in a house filled with inspiration for aspiring storytellers.

One of Peter's Pelham marionettes.  Did you know PST sells
other Pelham puppets in the puppet store?
Call 617-731-6400 for more info!
In my office, hung near my desk is one of the Pelham puppets bought on one of the birthday expeditions our mother would take us on. Year after year it was the same, a trip to Newbury Street in Boston, including lunch at the English Tea Room and the long-awaited visit to F.A.O. Schwartz across the street. There we were allowed to choose a gift, and that gift was always a Pelham puppet. Made in England, these marionettes were really a cut way above the cheap marionettes at the big toy store near our house. Our mother's pride of everything British underlined how special these were, as we gingerly pulled them out of their boxes on the train trundling its way back to the Lowell train station where Dad would be waiting to pick us all up.

Once home, Paul and I would inspect our collection. Over the years we added a beautiful puppet stage which gave us the official platform to share our marionettes with local kids. While we did a pretty impressive job for little kids, it was a trip to the Puppet Showplace in Brookline that blew the lid off things. Wow. We sat in the little theatre, jaws dropped, watching professional puppeteers transforming wood and strings into real worlds - not only with movement and voice, but lighting, sound effects, and music. It was magical! These extraordinary productions also allowed us to meet adults with talent and imagination. It planted that seed in us that when we grew up, we'd like to be just like them.

Marionettes at PST: Hansel & Gretel
by National Marionette Theatre,
Dec 20-23, BUY TICKETS
I like to think that we did indeed grew up to be creative kindred spirits. Not all kids get the experiences that Paul and I got and often grow up as their imagination, bravery and joy fade slowly over time. I am thankful I had a twin to share the creative journey with, a family that supported storytelling and whimsy, and experiences in the community, like Puppet Showplace, to nurture and fuel our imaginations and keep that fuel burning long into our adult years.

I am happy to say that my job as Chief Visionary Officer of FableVision Studios, co-owner of a book and toy shop, The Blue Bunny, and author/illustrator of picture books for all ages - all of these have roots in a creative childhood. I am one of the lucky ones. I do what I love and I love what I do - and that is a wish I have for all children - and adults too!

I'd love to encourage you to support one of my childhood inspirations, Puppet Showplace Theatre. I have personally made a contribution to support the great work of this historic and important gem. I hope you will too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vacation week begins with Hansel & Gretel


Hansel & Gretel
by National Marionette Theatre
Thur & Fri Dec 20 & 21 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun Dec 22 & 23 | 1 PM & 3 PM


Cake and confectionary are the enemy here as an evil witch uses them to trick two siblings into having dinner with the main course!

About the ShowThe story of "Hansel and Gretel" has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In their adaptation of this classic tale, two master puppeteers of the National Marionette Theatre 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 adults and children alike!
Marionettes, recommended ages 5 & up

About the PerformerNational 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.  

David and Peter Syrotiak have been building and performing with the company since their teenage years. As the sons of artistic director David Syrotiak the two brothers have been around puppetry all their lives. Professionally they have over fifty years of combined performance experience between them. The two are dedicated to keeping the tradition of professional puppetry alive in the United States.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bella "Lends a Hand!"


Bella Monster here, your favorite, furry and fabulous puppet friend! I love being at Puppet Showplace Theatre, there is always so much to see. Not just the puppet shows, but the workshops, the store, the special events, and all the wonderful people here. I sometimes like to lend a hand around the theater. Have you heard about the "Lend A Hand" campaign? Let me show you what goes on!

You can also read more about it on the Puppet Showplace Theatre website. CLICK HERE

TICKET MONSTER: To to right here, I am helping at the Box Office, processing ticket orders. We get a lot of school groups visiting the theater, families with young children, nanny's, and even grandparents who bring their grandchildren.

I LOVE to "Lend A Hand" at PST. Here are a few more ways that I like to help out around the theatre:

RETAIL MONSTER: I sometimes help organize items in our puppet store. The puppets and I get along well, we can relate to one another.

DISPLAY MONSTER: Here I am helping put up our winter decorations. We've got some great shows coming up this season, including some world premieres!  VIEW CALENDAR

VOLUNTEER MONSTER: Here I am helping to get the playbills ready for the show. This week is "Tales From Snowy Lands" by Sparky's Puppets, what a hilarious show! BUY TICKETS


Everyone works hard at Puppet Showplace Theatre to produce wonderful programs all year long.  Although I am sure that I am VERY helpful, there is only so much that one monster can do!  Puppet Showplace Theatre needs YOUR help in order to keep doing what we do.

The best way you can "LEND A HAND" is to make a donation to the theater during our Winter Appeal. Not only is your donation tax-deductible, and will help pay for the amazing programs here, but you will also be helping preserve a historic institution that's been inspiring audiences since 1974. How cool is that? 

Well, I've got to go now, Bradley needs me to help untangle the marionettes. Bye!

Love you lots!

-Bella xoxo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Tales From Snowy Lands

Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Greetings, readers! In case you haven't noticed, there hasn't been much snow lately, which is both shocking and sad because this is New England and we deserve our very own Winter Wonderland, right? Well, I guess if Mother Nature refuses to do her job, then we'll just have to find someone else to make it snow - oh, wait!  We've already got someone: Sparky Davis, who returns to PST to perform Tales From Snowy Lands, Dec 13-16. BUY TICKETS

From Story Lover to Storyteller 

A scene from Aesop's Fables
If this is your first time seeing a show by Sparky's Puppets, then I have but one thing to say to you: you are in for a treat because Sparky is a gifted storyteller!  For over thirty years, she has been "wow-ing" children and adults alike throughout the New England area - in schools, libraries, festivals, etc.  She has passed through very well-known venues such as The Boston Children's Museum, First Night Providence, The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, and our very own PST. 

A scene from Old favorites
Thanks to an impressive education - degrees in English (B.A., Mt. Holyoke College), Education (M.A.T., Brown University), and Library Science (M.L.S., University of Rhode Island) - Sparky developed a love for storytelling way before she started doing puppet shows.  It was while she was working as a children's librarian that she decided to go into entertainment.

What a great transition, huh?  Going from librarian to entertainer - story lover to storyteller.  Yes, it's because she has such a vast background in stories that Sparky's able to perform such delightful shows for her audiences.

Some of her adaptations include: Aesop's Fables, The Gingerbread Man, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs - all of which have been very well received, which is no surprise because Sparky has mastered her craft, not only because she's performed for so long but because she loves what she does.  It's her love of stories that makes her such a wonderful storyteller.

Of course, you'll have to see it to believe it.  With Christmas just 'round the corner, we thought it would be best to invite Sparky's Puppets back to the PST stage to put on a holiday-themed show.  You won't wanna miss it because it'll get you in a festive mood!

Tales From Snowy Lands

Tales From Snowy Lands is one of Sparky's three holiday-themed shows - the other two being Halloween Harvest and Easter Fun.  Just in time for the holidays, this show brings together several beloved tales - a.k.a. your favorite holiday classics, including "Jack Frost" and "The Shoemaker and the Elves."  And what would a holiday show be without Santa and his favorite reindeer friend, Rudolph?  Yes, that's right.  Santa makes an appearance, too!

So, if you're looking to escape to a marvelous Winter Wonderland, then we suggest you come on down to PST this week to see Sparky's Puppets perform Tales From Snowy Lands.  It'll be a wonderful treat.  In case you haven't done so already, tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Till next time.  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

PST Launches "Lend A Hand" Fundraising Campaign


Since 1974, Puppet Showplace Theatre has inspired audiences of all ages with the magical world of puppet theatre, but we can't do it without YOU!

Our fundraising goal this year is to raise $39,000 in donations in honor of our 39th year. We need to raise $15,000 of that amount by the end of December. Any donation, large or small, is tax deductible and deeply appreciated! MAKE A DONATION

Our ticket sales barely cover half of our operating expenses, the rest comes from generous members and supporters. We urgently need you to lend us a hand to keep our mission for arts, imagination and creativity alive and well into the future!


You can also send your donation to Puppet Showplace Theatre, ATTN: Winter Appeal, 32 Station Street, Brookline, MA 02445.


Some of our generous donors have pledged to double their gift if someone matches it. We currently have matching challenges at the following levels: $150 (2 challenges),$250 (2 challenges), $500 (1 challenge) and $1000 (1 challenge) If you pledge to donate one of those amounts before January 1st, your donation will be DOUBLED!

EMPLOYER MATCHING: Ask your employer if they have their own matching donation program — many do! If Puppet Showplace Theatre is on their list, your gift can be doubled! Call 617-731-6400 for help to get this started at your work!


The first 10 donors who pledge $150 or more will receive a beautiful full-color Puppet Theater Calendar, featuring puppet companies from across the country (including Puppet Showplace Theatre!)

ALL donors who pledge $500 or more will receive a calendar, and ALSO receive a signed vintage 8x10 photograph of PST co-founder and award-winning puppeteer Paul Vincent-Davis.

Tales From Snowy Lands at PST!


Tales From Snowy Lands
by Sparky's Puppets
Thurs & Fri Dec 13 & 14 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun Dec 15 & 16 | 1 PM & 3 PM


With just a few short weeks to go till Christmas, we thought it would be best to invite some of our holiday friends to PST, including Jack Frost.

About the ShowSparky's Puppets perform a lively medley of stories that take place on a winter's day. Watch Jack Frost's magic bring a snowman to life.  Find out what happens when a boastful bear goes ice fishing.  And laugh at the antics of three pesky goblins as they visit a toy maker's show on a cold and snowy day.
Hand puppets, recommended ages 3 & up

About the Performer: Sparky Davis began dramatizing stories with hand puppets while working as a children's librarian. Since 1980, Sparky's Puppets have delighted children and family audiences at schools, libraries and festivals throughout New England. Every summer, Davis creates a special show for the statewide public libraries' summer reading program. She loves to see children's reactions as their favorite stories are brought to life with endearing puppet characters. A preschool child at a recent show was heard to say. "It was so funny I burst out laughing!"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Tales of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter at her country home

Harry's Not the Only Potter Around...

Hard to imagine there being another Potter, right?  Well, there is.  Can you guess who she is?  I think you got it: Beatrix Potter - you know, the woman who wrote the beloved Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Yes, the moment we hear her name, that cute rabbit, the one that wears a blue coat, pops into our heads, which is why we sometimes forget that Potter wrote other tales about other animals, too - some of which you will see in Applause Unlimited's Tales of Beatrix Potter, at PST Dec 6-9.  (BUY TICKETS).

Now, if you're not too familiar with the other tales of Beatrix Potter - don't worry.  I'm here to give you a little history lesson - one which you'll enjoy.  I promise!

About Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter - born Helen Beatrix Potter - was an English author and illustrator best known for her imaginative children's books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which celebrated British landscape and the countryside.

Born into a privileged family, Potter was exposed to things like art at an early age - as her parents were artists.  She was educated by a private governess until she was eighteen.  Her study of languages, literature, science, and history was broad and she was an eager student.  Her artistic talents were recognized early and although she was provided with private lessons, Potter preferred to develop her own style, particularly favoring watercolor.

Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which she published privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-color illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co.

The Many Tales of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter wrote a total of 23 tales - the first being The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), which was an immediate success.  Others that followed include: The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906), and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908) - all of which are featured in Applause Unlimited's show, The Tales of Beatrix Potter.

Potter's Illustrations

The Tale of Two Bad Mice tells the story of two mice who vandalize a dollhouse.  After realizing the food on the dining room table is made of plaster, they smash the dishes, throw the doll clothing out the window, tear the bolster, and steal some of the house's decor, taking them back to their mouse-hole.  When the little girl who owns the dollhouse discovers the destruction, she puts a policeman doll outside the front door of her house to ward off any future intrusion.  The two mice eventually feel guilty and make up for their crime spree by putting a crooked sixpence in the doll's stocking on Christmas Eve and sweeping the house every morning with a dust-pan and broom.

The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher tells the story of a frog who lives in a "slippy-sloppy" house at the edge of a pond.  One rainy day he collects worms for fishing and sets off across the pond on his lily-pad boat.  He plans to invite his friends for dinner if he catches more than five minnows.  He encounters all sorts of setbacks to his goal, and escapes a large trout who tries to swallow him.  He swims for shore, decides he will not go fishing again, and hops home.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck tells the story of a domestic duck whose eggs are routinely confiscated by the farmer's wife because she believes Jemima is a poor sitter.  Jemima searches for a place away from the farm where she can hatch her eggs without human interference, and naively confides her woes to a suave fox who invites her to nest in a shed at his home.  Jemima accepts his invitation, unaware of the following danger: the fox plans to kill and roast her.  Kep, a collie on the farm, discovers Jemima's whereabouts and rescues her just in time.

Applause Unlimited's Adaptation

Applause Unlimited offers a wide range of performances featuring fresh presentations of classic tales. Their approach includes masks, storytelling, music, and comedy in a unique combination that quietly educates as it entertains. Applause Unlimited has performed at festivals and in theaters worldwide. Their shows have been acclaimed by audiences, educators, producers, and sponsors of children's and family entertainment - receiving two Citations Of Excellence from the Union Internionale de la Marionette.

In their adaptation of Beatrix Potter's beloved tales - Applause Unlimited explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of "Two Bad Mice", "Jeremy Fisher", and "Jemima Puddleduck" seem to grow from her imagination.  

If you love animals, especially ones that have a habit of getting into all kinds of adventures, then be sure to come on down to PST this week to see Applause Unlimited bring some of Beatrix Potter's beloved tales to life!  You will love it.  That is a promise.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Tales of Beatrix Potter at PST!


The Tales of Beatrix Potter
by Applause Unlimited

Thurs Dec 6 | 10:30 AM
Fri Dec 7 | 10:30 AM & 3 PM*
Sat & Sun Dec 8 & 9 | 1 PM & 3 PM
*Free demo and puppet making activity after the show!


December's here and the cold weather's got some animals taking shelter here at PST, including a duck and two bad mice!

About the Show: A solo puppeteer/storyteller explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of "Two Bad Mice", "Jeremy Fisher", and "Jemima Puddleduck" seem to grow from her imagination.  Hand, rod, and shadow puppets, recommended ages 5 & up

About the Performer: Applause Unlimited offers a wide range of performances featuring fresh presentations of classic tales. Their approach includes masks, storytelling, music, and comedy in a unique combination that quietly educates as it entertains. Applause Unlimited has performed at festivals and in theaters worldwide. Their shows have been acclaimed by audiences, educators, producers, and sponsors of children's and family entertainment - receiving two Citations Of Excellence from the Union Internionale de la Marionette.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Workshop Series at PST!


massmouth inc. Workshop: Family Stories
Sunday Dec 2 | 3 PM

Heirlooms, boxes, old photo albums - is your house filled with the beginnings of great stories?  Learn how to turn mementos and memories into compelling tales that can be sharedwith friends and family - just in time for the holidays!  Bring a photo (or any other object) or a memory that reminds you of a person or an event in your life or your family's history - anything that will inspire you to tell a great story.

About the Workshop SeriesPuppet Showplace Theatre and massmouth, inc. have teamed up to connect YOU to the amazing art of traditional storytelling. Join professional storyteller Norah Dooley for these fun, interactive all-ages workshops that will connect you to this timeless art form and unlock your storytelling abilities. Only 15 spots available, so register ASAP! 

Cost: $25/individual; $15/additional family member
PST Members: $20/individual, $10/additional family member
*Children under age 13 must participate with a parent or guardian.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Extended Open Hours for the Holidays

Tis the SEASON!

PST Puppet Store!
The day after Thanksgiving for Americans is many things...a feast of left over turkey sandwiches, a time when families gather for a puppet show here at the theatre while kids are off from school, and there is one more thing...OH YES! SHOPPING!

For many, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a frantic stretch of shopping for holiday presents.  How do you find that perfect gift? Whether you are a parent looking for the perfect Folkmanis hand puppet for your 5 year old performing puppet shows in your living room, or a grandparent searching for a gift without adding to the pile of "stuff" in the kid's play closet, PST has everything you need: including extended store hours this season!

The Box Office and Puppet Store will be open...

NOV 23 to DEC 24
TUES-FRI: 10am to 6pm
PST will be closed on DEC 25

Puppet Store
Marionettes, hand puppets, and finger puppets, OH MY!  Stop by the theatre during our extended shopping hours this season for the best selection of puppets in the greater Boston area!

Gift Certificates
Shopping for families can often be challenging.  Do they have this book already?  How many action figures, stuffed animals, puzzles, or other toys do kids REALLY need (and parents want)?  A gift certificate to Puppet Showplace Theatre is the perfect gift for families to spend time together, and encourage and engage creativity and imagination. We will mail them for you if you like! Call the Box Office at 617-731-6400 x 101 to place an order.

A membership to PST is a gift that keeps on giving! Starting at $50, give the gift of puppetry to your loved ones by allowing them to receive discounts on tickets, the puppet store, priority seating and other benefits  all while supporting a local non-profit organization! (Your membership purchase is tax deductible) Each membership level is targeted for a specific family or individual, so ask us in the box office to recommend the perfect membership for your loved ones! 
More information about membership packages can be found HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Magic Soup & Other Stories

It's Brad!
Not Just Soup, Magic Soup

It's official, folks.  We are just a few short days away from the biggest of all feasts: Thanksgiving - and what better way to celebrate than to continue this year's Feast of Food and Folktales with The Magic Soup & Other Stories  Put another notch on your belt (or switch to elastic waistband pants) because the show returns to PST the day after Thanksgiving and we'll be adding "soup" to your leftovers.      

About the Show...

The Magic Soup & Other Stories is a collection of six short stories - “The Naked Truth and Resplendent Parable,” “The Egg Seller,” “The Very Small House,” “A Coat Poverty,” “Pleasing All the World,” and “The Magic Soup" - all of which are taken from the vibrant Jewish folk traditions of Eastern Europe.  In these short stories, everybody is looking for something - whether it's a bowl of soup or some peace and quiet - and it is those with wit, a sense of humor, and imagination who have a better chance of making their dreams come true.

...And Its Mechanics

I'm sure you're all familiar with our artist-in-residence, Brad Shur.  Well, since I profiled him for "Behind the Scenes at PST: Dr. Doohickey" just a few weeks ago, I thought it would be neat-o to discuss the work he puts into his puppetry - because it's pretty awesome.

Brad using shadow puppets
As of I mentioned before, The Magic Soup & Other Stories is made up of six short stories and they're all unique in their use of puppetry.  In "The Naked Truth and Resplendent Parable," Brad uses table top and rod puppets.  In "The Egg Seller," shadow puppets.  In "The Very Small House," table top, hand, and mouth puppets.  In "A Coat Poverty," shadow puppets.  In "Pleasing All the World," table top puppets.  And in "The Magic Soup," table top puppets.

Now, having named all these styles, you're probably wondering: how do they work?  Well, let's take a look at a few examples, starting with the shadow puppets.  Brad begins by creating his puppets digitally, designing them on his computer and adjusting their sizes accordingly - comparing one puppet to the other so they can all work together.  After he prints, then cuts them out, Brad places his finished work on the over-head projector, which allows the puppets to create large, blown-up shadows.

The reason why Brad uses shadow puppets in, let's say, "The Egg Seller," is because he wanted to create the broad and abstract locations that exist within the story.  With shadow puppets, he is able to do just that - create a sense of place.

As for table top puppets - which you'll see a lot of throughout the show - Brad uses paper mache cast-over foam, which he shapes into any form he so desires, to create a wide variety of cast members, including monsters!  He constructs them in such a way that he is able to be in control - of one part in particular: the head, which he uses to create simple yet elegant and powerful movements.

One of Brad's puppets: The Ugly, Naked Truth!
And what of the characters in The Magic Soup?  Brad had one goal in mind: to transform the space and make magical things come out of said space.  In other words, he took everyday objects like coats and trash cans and transformed them to make his characters exist in a magical, story land.  And it worked!   Brad engineered different materials to look out-of-this-world.  Trust me - when you come to see The Magic Soup, you will find that mundane objects have become magical.

In honor of the Feast of Food and Folktales (and Thanksgiving), be sure to come on down to PST this week to see Brad perform in The Magic Soup & Other Stories.  It's a show you won't want to miss!  In case you haven't done so already, tickets can be purchase online HERE.

'Till next time, Fellow Readers!  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Magic Soup at PST!

PST Feast of Food and Folktales 2012!
November 1 - December 2

View Show Calendar

It's official, folks!  It's the week of Thanksgiving and we've got a treat for you: soup!  And not any ordinary soup - magical soup.  Before we get into our winter puppet show season, our Feast of Food and Folktales concludes with...


The Magic Soup & Other Stories by Brad Shur
Fri Nov 23 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM
Sat Nov 24 & Sun Nov 25 | 1 PM & 3 PM
And then the following week...
Thur Nov 29 & Fri Nov 30 | 10:30 AM
Sat Dec 1 1 PM & 3 PM
Sun Dec 2 | 1 PM


About the ShowUncle Murray is coming over for dinner, but there's no food in sight! A young man's search for a family recipe ends up bringing folk tales to his kitchen. Based on a collection of traditional Yiddish stories, "The Magic Soup" teaches us that it is those with wit, humor and imagination who have the best chance of filling their bellies - and fulfilling their dreams.

About the Performer: Brad Shur, PST's artist-in-residence, has been professionally involved in puppetry for over 10 years.  He first began as a performer with the Providence puppet and mask company Big Nazo while he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and has toured nationally with Wood & Strings Theatre, a marionette company out of Tennessee.  As a teaching artist, he teaches workshops and classes for students of all ages. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: The Day It Snowed Tortillas

It's Snowing...Tortillas?

Get ready, folks.  We're hopping into our time machine and travelling eight months into the future.  That means we'll be going to July, where (more like when) we'll be meeting a poor woodcutter and his wife - both of which are desperate to get rich.  How will they earn that extra cash?  We've got the scoop, much thanks to Crabgrass Puppet Theatre.

About the Show...

The Day It Snowed Tortillas is a show by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre, which we added to our Feast of Food and Folktales repertoire because it's - you know - about tortillas.  Well, it's not just about tortillas.

The show, which is based on the story of the same name, explores the lives of a poor, uneducated woodcutter and his wife.  One day, on his way from work, the woodcutter finds three bags filled with gold.  He takes them home to his wife and she is thrilled, until she realizes the bags most likely belong to someone else and they will come looking for them.  Regardless, she decides to keep them.  Problem is - they would have to keep it a secret, but the husband is a huge blabbermouth!

What to do, what to do?  The wife begins to plot.  She sends her husband to get 100 pounds of flour and later that night, she makes countless tortillas and throws them on the grounds outside their home.  When the husband wakes up the next morning and tells his wife about the tortillas, she says that it must have snowed tortillas.

Some time later, three robbers turn up and demand the wife give them their gold back.  The wife explains she knows nothing about any gold, but the robbers insist her husband told the whole village about the gold.  Again, the wife denies everything and the robbers decide to wait for the husband to return home from school - as his wife sent him there to get an education.  When the husband returns home, the robbers ask him and his wife about the gold.  The wife says she knows nothing about any gold and the husband says, "Don't you remember?  It was the day before it snowed tortillas. I returned home with three bags containing gold, and the next morning, you sent me to school."  Upon hearing this, the robbers assume the husband is crazy and they leave.

...And the Performer

It's no secret: Crabgrass Puppet Theatre is a frequent visitor to PST - and we love it!  In case you didn't know, Crabgrass was founded by Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall.  They met in 1979 while performing in Laughingstock!, a puppet-and-actor production at the University of Connecticut, in which Bonny played Jamie's father.  Three years later, they moved to California and founded Crabgrass Puppet Theatre.  
Jamie and Bonny in 1983

Their first show, What a Clever Ideal, had giant puppets that measured eight feet tall and was selected to perform at the 1983 Pacific Southwest Puppetry Festival.  Their other shows have also featured a variety of innovative and unusual puppets, both large and small.  In Follow That Rabbit, they had a seven-foot crocodile.  In A Renaissance Miracle, they had a smoke-breathing dragon.  And in Crabgrass Uprising!, they has an animated garbage heap.

In 1989, Jamie and Bonny returned to Connecticut.  While there, they re-established their connection with the University of Connecticut, which paid dividends when UConn graduate David Regan joined the company in 1996 to design and perform in The Frog Prince and The Princess and the Pea, a contemporary take on two of the classic tales.

Past Performances
Crabgrass Puppet Theatre has been awarded the prestigious Citation of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA-USA), the highest honor in American puppetry - twice (once in 2001 and again in 2005).  In 2008, Bonny received a Commendation for Design in the Puppet Theatre from the Arlyn Award Foundation. 

They have given many performances in schools, libraries, museums, and arts festivals - and have performed at over two dozen regional, national and international puppetry festivals.  Some of their venues have included the World Trade Center, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, the Philadelphia Museum, Paper Mill Playhouse, the North Carolina Museum, the New York State Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the California Academy of Sciences, the Detroit Institute for the Arts, and hundreds of schools, museums, and theaters across the country. 

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre continues to perform more than 200 shows each year, reaching over 100,000 people throughout the United States.  And this week, we're lucky to have 'em back for The Day It Snowed Tortillas.  Make sure you buy your tickets HERE - because it's going to be a blast!  

Till next time.  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Day It Snowed Tortillas at PST!

PST Feast of Food and Folktales 2012!
November 1 - December 2

View Show Calendar

With Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away, we know you're getting hungry.  So, doesn't it make sense to come on down to PST to see yet another food-related show?  We think so!  Our Feast of Food and Folktales continues with...


The Day It Snowed Tortillas by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre
Thursday Nov 15 & Friday Nov 16 | 10:30 AM
Saturday Nov 17 & Sunday Nov 18 | 1 PM & 3 PM


About the Show A poor woodcutter and his wife have the chance of a lifetime – to become rich! All they have to do is keep a secret. Trouble is, the woodcutter is the biggest blabbermouth south of the border. “We have to keep this a secret!” the wife tells him. “Absolutely!” says her husband. “I won't tell anyone. . . except my brother . . . and my best friend . . . and my mother . . . and . . .” “Enough!” says his wife. She cooks up an ingenious plan to divert any unwanted attention. All she has to do is make it snow . . . in July . . . in Mexico! The recipe for this hilarious folktale includes fantastic puppets, hysterically funny action, marvelous music, and one ridiculous chicken.
Rod and table-top puppets, recommended ages 4 & up

About the Performer: The Crabgrass Puppet Theatre is an award-winning touring puppet theatre founded in 1982 by Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall. Jamie and Bonny met in 1979, while performing in Laughingstock!, a puppet-and-actor production at the University of Connecticut in which Bonny played Jamie's father. They have been working together ever since!