Thursday, February 28, 2013

Puppets At Night: PUPPET IMPROV!

Puppet Showplace Slam: Improv Edition!
Saturday, March 9 | 8 PM ONE NIGHT ONLY!


Now is your chance to be part of a show like never before! For the very first time, we present the “Puppet Improv” edition of The Puppet Slam. PST challenges its best performers in multiple puppetry disciplines to conceive, construct, and carry out live performances on the spot. The night concludes with an adults-only shadow puppetry set by slam favorite "Uncle Nappy," AKA Jim Napolitano of Nappy's Puppets.

What is a Puppet Slam? It's an evening of varied theatrical mini-plays for adults that use (or sometimes abuse) puppets for all or part of the drama. Each piece is performed by a different artist or artists, and the content can be wide-ranging; some are elegant or poignant, others are satiric, irreverent, or humorous, and still others can be passionate, political, or spiritual in nature. The performers range from the seasoned professional to the nascent puppeteer, and often include musicians, dancers, mimes, actors, and other sundry affiliated artists.

CASH BAR! What is better than puppets on a Saturday night? How about puppets and BEER. We will be serving white and red wine as well, if that better suits your taste.

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. Jim worked with Bits 'N' Pieces Puppet Theatre of Tampa Bay, Florida and has performed around the country and around the world, including The National Culture Center in Japan and The National Theater in Taiwan.

"Uncle Nappy"

Little's Creatures, owned by Jonathan Little, is comprised of himself, Stephen Bailey and Christopher Little. From the strange to REALLY strange: all their puppets perform, everything from telling jokes to magic! 

Brad Shur with Puppet Master Jake. Brad is PST’s Artist in Residence and has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. Puppet Master Jake, when he’s not puppeteering, works as a professional zookeeper.  

Brad Shur

Puppet improv is quickly becoming an entertainment sensation!  Not sure what to expect at a puppet improv show? Let's take a look at Puppet Up, a live show produced by the Jim Henson Company which blends improvisational comedy and puppetry, since making its debut in 2006 at the HBO Comedy Festival. Puppet Up uncensored has toured world-wide in places such as Scotland and Australia. After monthly performances at Avalon Hollywood the project evolved in STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG which made its New York premiere on April 1, 2010.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring at PST Kicks off with Tales from Africa!

"Leopard Learns a Lesson" by Magpie Puppets
Fri | Mar. 1 | 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun | Mar 2, 3 | 1 PM & 3 PM


This is Magpie Puppets newest performance! The story is adapted from an African tale from Malawi. Leopard is always bullying and frightening smaller animals until Rabbit turns the tables on her with the help of the jungle’s two largest beasts, Elephant and Rhinoceros. The audience learns, along with Leopard, that cooperation works better than intimidation. The show features hand puppets, plus original music by Alison Reid! Recommended for ages 3 and up.


What a great lesson to learn! You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You and your children will be greatly entertained well also reinforcing the wonderful lesson of teamwork.  


Maggie Whalen, Director of Magpie Puppets, a one-woman hand puppet theater, has been performing puppet shows for children and adults since 1969. In 1971, she founded and directed Poor People's Puppets in NYC, which performed in its own storefront theater from 1971 - 1974. She has worked with the Bread & Puppet Theatre in Vermont and Theater for the New City in New York. In addition to performing, Maggie has taught puppet-making workshops at schools, community centers and even at Club Med!

Magpie Puppets is included in the Massachusetts Cultural Council Performing and Touring Roster and is a participant in the New England States Touring Program.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Learn How to Build Giant Puppets at PST!


THINK BIG: Giant Puppet Construction and Performance Class
Six sessions | March 11 - April 15
Monday nights | 6:30-9:00 pm

Not so little anymore? No need to fret, the bigger you get, the bigger the puppets! We invite teens and adults alike to join us and learn how to build your own larger-than-life puppet. Come and THINK BIG at PST in this empowering workshop.

Register by March 1: $150 + $20 materials fee. After 3/1/13: $175 + $20 materials fee. PST members save 10% on registration!


Participants will learn techniques for designing and constructing giant puppets from simple materials such as cardboard, papier mache, fabric, and recycled objects. Topics will include large-scale designing, flat-to-3D building, cardboard fabrication, strong papier mache, painting, transportation planning, and puppet manipulation. Participants will each complete their own giant puppet, and will have opportunities to perform with Puppet Showplace Theatre in various community art events throughout the year.


From "First Night" in Boston to "Wake up the Earth," festival in Jamaica Plain, street protests to community festivals, giant puppets are everywhere! 

"First Night" in Boston
"Wake up the Earth" festival in Jamaica Plain

This workshop is led by PST’s own Artist in Residence Brad Shur. Brad performs almost every month at PST as well as teaches classes and workshops to students aged 3 to adult. For nearly 15 years he has been professionally involved in puppetry since he began as a performer with the Providence puppet and Mask Company Big Nazo. He has worked in various capacities with Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee), and Vermont PuppetTree, and as a builder has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.  
PST Artist in Residence, Brad Shur

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vacation week Continues with All Hands Productions!


Here at PST, we are excited to host David Stephens, the founder of All Hands Productions for two exciting titles.  Celebrate Feb Vacation with a puppet show!

About the Artist:
His mission was to expose families across the Southeast to quality, entertaining puppet shows. So, he toured venues in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He became a regular performer of original works at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta (2002-2004). In 2003, “Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff” was featured at the National Puppeteers of America Festival in Tahlequah, OK. This performance came in the middle of a tour that found Stephens performing at venues in New York, Massachusetts, Missouri and Alabama's rural schools. Also in 2003, Stephens received a Telly Award (which spotlights works in the television, commercial, and music video industries) for his collaboration with Pensacola, FL singer/songwriter, Brian Meece. Scruff, a shaggy, white sheepdog character, created and performed by Stephens, was featured in Meece's music video “Playground.”

David Stephens with the audience in the PST lobby.
In 2004, Stephens was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council On the Arts. This grant helped to fund an exhibit of Stephens work as a puppeteer at the Eastern Shore Arts Center in Fairhope, Alabama. “Puppets and Process” showcased Stephens original puppet creations alongside their designs and sketches. This exhibition drew record numbers to the gallery. Later in the same year, Stephens received one of puppetry's highest honors: “Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff” was awarded a 2004 UNIMA-USA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) Citation of Excellence. Created by Jim Henson, who founded the US chapter of UNIMA, the Citations honor outstanding works in the art of puppetry. With this award, Stephens joined the ranks with some of puppetry's most exceptional practitioners.

Join us this February Vacation week for ALL of These Fantastic shows by ALL HANDS PRODUCTIONS!

The Reluctant Dragon by All Hands Productions
Tues & Wed & Thur | Feb 19 & 20 & 21 | 10:30 AM & 1:00 PM


About the show: Princess Penepole loves to read about dragons. Imagine her surprise when she actually meets and befriends one! Upon discovering the potential threat of a dragon in the palace, King Rhubarb charges Sir Reginald to fight the dragon. Will it be a fight to the death? Will it be a draw? Will they even fight at all? Find out in All Hands Productions version of “The Reluctant Dragon.” This show was funded in part by a 2008 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant. Recommended for 3 & up.

Jack and the Beanstalk by All Hands Productions

Fri | Feb 22 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM
Sat & Sun | Feb 23 & 24 | 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM

About the show: You may think you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, but you've never seen a version like this. Join David Stephens and All Hands Productions for a different look at the tale of Jack and his encounters with some magic beans, a beanstalk, a giant and some other fairytale favorites. This production is guaranteed to please audiences of children and giants alike. Recommended for 3 & up.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"The City" by Modern Times Theater at PST

Puppets At Night Returns!
One Night Only...
"The City" by Modern Times Theater
Sat, Feb. 16 | 8 PM


We are excited to be hosting “The City” by Modern Times Theatre as part of our Puppets@Night series. "The City" is a toy theater play and we are looking forward to this special puppet show! During the show, you will experience over 1,000 years of history about the emergence of the city and its people. With Great Enthusiasm, we invite TEENS and ADULTS to join us for this One Night Only Show!!!

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the show with Modern Times Theater on WBUR.ORG:

About the Show: A fairy tale written by Hermann Hesse, “The City” takes you through one thousand years in the history of civilization presented in vivid cardboard Technicolor! Experience the arrival of the urban world taking shape before your very eyes on a minuscule stage of wonder! Hosted by Punch and Judy, puppetry’s favorite jerk and his loudmouth wife, the oddly amusing duo is sure to be a can't miss drama in pint-sized proportions.

Additional Fun: The Modern Times Theatre also doubles as the Plank House band, a cornet and cigar-box Ukulele duo specializing in classic novelty tunes of the 1920’s. Plus a street show series from “The Rural Person’s Verbal Reclamation Front,” whose mission is to reclaim language from the icy grip of the post-industrial empire and present them as a gift for the mutual benefit of women and beast, man and pasture. To date the words “chore” and “economy” have been saved!

About Modern Times Theater: Modern Times Theatre makes puppet shows for the street, the school, the barn, the pasture and the subway. Using cantastoria, cranky, hand puppet, and toy theatre forms, the shows convey a general dissatisfaction with post-modern convenience and promote a return to old-fashioned difficulty. Modern Times Theater is also part of the Vermont Vaudeville troupe, performing Vaudeville shows in the Opera Houses of Vermont. Modern Times Theater is Rose Friedman and Justin Lander, alumni of the Bread and Puppet Theater. The Bread and Puppet Theater, found by Peter Schumann, rose in the lower east side of New York in 1963. The original concerns of the early productions were rents, rats, police and other neighborhood problems. From there more complex pieces emerged equiped with scultures, dance and music.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Under Night Sky": Stories of the Underground Rail Road


"Under Night Sky" by Puppetkabob
Thurs & Fri | Feb 14 & 15 | 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun | Feb 16, 17 | 1 PM & 3 PM
Mon | Feb 18 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM


If Nemo ironically made you miss Sarah Frachette award-winning show “The Snowflake Man” here’s another chance to see her exciting work on the PST stage! Puppetkabob will be back this week performing “Under Night Sky” Thursday through Monday.  We are ready to kick of school vacation week with Stars, Stories, and Shadows! Join us for an exciting adventure through the Underground Railroad.

Travel through time as the performers quilt  together memories formed over generations. Follow three children on journeys united by threads of courage, love and hope. Unravel the stories of the Underground Railroad stitched together in Grandmother's patchwork quilt. Hear the waves crash aside the ship as you listen to the magical tale of an Irish Memory Quilt. Quietly enter an Old School House to see a girl proudly wearing her coat of rags, stitched to patchwork perfection.



William Ingersoll Bowditch House,
Brookline, MA
Did you know we have ties to the Underground Railroad right here in our very own backyard? Well we do! The William Ingersoll Bowditch House was an important stop along the route. Along with being active in local politics, William Bowditch was an avid abolitionist who used his house to shelter slaves searching for freedom. Perhaps he’s most famously known for making the brave journey of driving a man from Boston to Concord, assisting his quest for freedom. 


Using table top and shadow puppetry, "Under Night Sky" is a show that blends hand-held lights, illustrated paper puppets, composed music, and character storytelling to create a style of cinematic puppetry that flows like film. Shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment in which the puppeteer uses flat articulated figures in order to give the appearance of three-dimensional moving objects. And if you thought table top puppetry is performed on top of a table, you are absolutely right! Commonly using rod puppets, artists make their characters dance across the table top before your eyes!

Photo by Jessie Forand from the Saint Albans Messenger
Quote from the artist: "The show was created for my late Grandmother Fayan, who use to squeeze the two of us together in her chair and tell me stories over and over again, even past the point when I was too big to really fit next to her, she still found room!"- Sarah Frechette 


This week's performance of "Under Night Sky" features TWO puppeteers: Puppet Kabob's founder Sarah Frechette, and special guest, Carole D'Agostino.

Sarah Frechette and Carole D'Agostino performing "Under Night Sky".
Photo by Jessie Forand from the Saint Albans Messenger
Sarah Frechette, the founder of Puppetkabob revolutionizes the ancient art of shadow puppetry, the oldest form in the world! Sarah studied in Germany with Legendary Master Puppeteer Albrecht Roser absorbing his theories on Zen and the art of puppetry. With her BFA from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program, Sarah also plays “Penny Pup” on the children’s television series “Seemore’s Playhouse,” seen on PBS.

Carole D’Agostino is an award winning puppeteer, including the Connecticut Guild of Puppetry Audience Favorite Award. Versed in various styles her skills of shadow and table top puppetry are sure to be on display. Perhaps you’ve caught her work before on Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. What inspired her...    

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This Week in Puppet Playtime...TREES!

Rumble rumble rumble . . . 
by Guest Blogger: Phil Berman, Puppet Playtime performer

Do you hear that? Underneath all the snow? It’s the sound of the acorns stretching in their sleep as they wait patiently for spring.

Performers Phil Berman and Brenda Huggins perform "The Girl and the Squirrel",
on stage tomorrow as part of PST's Puppet Playtime!
But how did they get underground when they come from a tree? They’re buried by squirrels saving their nutty snacks for later! The seeds the squirrels forget about start to sprout underground and break out when the weather gets warm.

Join us in the trees tomorrow morning for our fifth session of Puppet Playtime. We have lots in store for you: an arboreal Irish sing-a-long; interactive squirrel games; ballads celebrating American agricultural icons; and of course, the naughtiest crocheted squirrel south of the Charles River.

Brenda, Bella monster and I will be taking a break next week to get ready for the next five sessions of Puppet Playtime. We made it halfway – we hope you’ll continue to join us for the home stretch!!


Puppet Playtime
Wednesdays at 10:30am
Feb 13 & 27
March 6, 13, 20 & 27

Puppet Playtime is Puppet Showplace Theatre's NEW weekly interactive performance recommended for children 3 and under (and their grownups)

5-Session passes still available! 
Save by purchasing 5 sessions at one time; buy 4 get one free! There are only 6 sessions left, so now is a great time to take advantage of the 5-session flex pass.  Every week features a new theme with brand-new music and puppet show!

5-Session Flexible Pass: $100 ($75 for members) PURCHASE PASS

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This week in Puppet Playtime...

In the Village, in Brookline Village, the Lion Sleeps Tonight . . .
by Guest Blogger: Phill Berman, Puppet Playtime performer

Shhhh…be very quiet…we’re walking through the deep dark Jungle: who knows what friendly animal companions could leap out at any minute? A lion? A mouse? An exotic bird that may-or-may-not-be a chicken? Or could it be the jungle’s most dangerous predator of all – TODDLERS! When the jungle is in the middle of New England’s oldest puppet theatre, the possibilities are endless.
This week's session of Puppet Playtime features the story of the
 "Lion and the Mouse!"
(in this photo, Bella recreates her own special version!)

As Brenda, Bella Monster and I put the finishing touches on our fourth episode of Puppet Playtime, we find ourselves coming back to the same question: how can this show be more interactive?

We’ve marched with ants, speckled a galaxy with stars and clucked with all the chickens in the barn. As we approach our halfway point in the series, we are still committed to find opportunities for the invisible lines between performers, toddlers and grown-ups to truly disappear.

Bella had a blast last week clucking with our chicken friends!
So far our audiences have done a great job of encouraging each other (as well as the three performers onstage) to commit deeply and fully to the imagination journeys we’ve embarked on. As we adventure into the jungle tomorrow morning, I hope more than ever that everyone is there for each other.



Puppet Playtime
Puppet Showplace Theatre's NEW weekly interactive performance recommended for children 3 and under (and their grownups)

Wednesdays at 10:30am
Feb 6, 13 & 27
March 6, 13, 20 & 27


Drop in rate: $25 per child-adult pair ($10 additional child)
5-Session Flexible Pass: $100 ($75 for members)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meet Puppetkabob! In-residence Through Feb 18th

PST Welcomes Guest Artist: Sarah Frechette

Sarah Frechette of Puppetkabob
Here at PST, we are excited to host guest artist-in-residence, Sarah Frechette, the founder of awarding winning puppet company, Puppetkabob.  Her inspring work can be seen on our stage Feb 7-18th with two different shows, and a special one-night only masterclass on Thurs, Feb 7th. First up is the UNIMA award winning production of "The Snowflake Man", based on the story of Snowflake Bentley, the first man to take a photograph of a snowflake.  Continuing with the theme of exciting stories from American History, PST will present Puppetkabob's, "Under Night Sky" to kick off our February Vacation Week programming. 

Join us this February as snowflakes and stars come to life!

The Snowflake Man by Puppetkabob
Thurs & Fri | Feb 7 & 8 | 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun | Feb 9 & 10 | 1 & 3 PM

About the show: The story of "The Snowflake Man" is inspired by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, the self-educated farmer and scientist who attracted world attention when he became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal. "The Snowflake Man" transports audiences into historic New England through creative storytelling, intricately designed Czech-style marionettes, and a striking pop-up book of water color scenery. This show combines art, science, and New England history to magical effect! 

The Snowflake Man was awarded a 2011 UNIMA Citation of Excellence. This show is sponsored in part by a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Under Night Sky by Puppetkabob
Thurs & Fri | Feb 14 & 15 | 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun | Feb 16 & 17 | 10:30 AM
Mon | Feb 18 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM

About the show: "Under Night Sky" follows three children on journeys united by threads of courage, love and hope. Unravel the stories of the Underground Railroad stitched together in Grandmother's patchwork quilt. Hear the waves crash aside the ship as you listen to the magical tale of an Irish Memory Quilt. Quietly enter an Old School House to see a girl proudly wearing her coat of rags, stitched to patchwork perfection. 

Puppetkabob artist Sarah Frechette revolutionizes the ancient art of shadow puppetry by using light to manipulate depth and space. "Under Night Sky" is a show that blends hand-held lights, illustrated paper puppets, composed music, and character storytelling to create a style of cinematic puppetry that flows like film.

Strings Attached - Puppetry and Solo Performance Workshop with Instructor: Sarah Frechette

One session: Thursday February 7, 6:30 to 9:00 pm
Location: Puppet Showplace Theatre


If you ever wondered what it would be like to put on a one person show, join master artist and professional puppeteer, Sarah Frechette for this fun and eye-opening workshop. Frechette will take you through the creation process of her award-winning solo show “The Snowflake Man,” which is based on the life of Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley and features a cast of beautifully sculpted Czech-style marionettes. This is an introductory-level class: prior experience is not necessary. MORE INFO

Today, Sarah Frechette joins us as a guest blogger to take us behind-the-scenes of her upcoming shows:

by Guest Blogger: artist Sarah Frechette of Puppetkabob

Photos taken by the real "Snowflake Bentley"

When my grandfather was a young boy he purchased from Snowflake Bentley three snowflake photos. My grandfather's pride in his photos inspired my idea for this show and at the heart of it is a love letter from me to my late Grandfather. Behind all of the shows I create is the memory of my Vermont heritage, my grandparents and relatives who work with their hands and with their hearts.

I enjoy collaborating and was delighted to work with many great & talented friends on this project. And I made Bentley a sharp dressed man!

For my performance I blend czech-style marionettes, miniatures, pop-up paper art, music and live storytelling to convey historical information in a way that I find fun, dramatic and personal. My goal is to draw the audience into the experience and leave having learned something. I use an antique trunk to create the stage for Snowflake Bentley's life and the scenery changes by flipping the pages on a hand painted watercolor pop-up book. In The Snowflake Man, I engage the audience through dialogue and interaction to illustrate Bentley's theories and passions for the minute in nature. My narrator character is human and marionette-sized creating fun dramatic moments with Snowflake Bentley.

Miniature Czech-style marionettes built by Sarah Frechette for "The Snowflake Man"  
In 2011 I received an UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence for The Snowflake Man which is a great honor as it is like the Oscar of Puppetry!

I am taking The Snowflake Man on the road this month on a mini tour starting at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, then to libraries in Vermont and ending at Goat on a Boat Puppet Theater in Sag Harbor, New York. This summer, I will be a featured performer at the Puppet Festival
(r)Evolution in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania on August 13, 2013!

I am also touring my cinematic style shadow puppet show UNDER NIGHT SKY with puppeteer Carole D'Agostino - look for that show this coming February 14-18 at the Puppet Showplace! We then head to Hop Stop at Dartmouth College and to the Long Island Children's Museum.

-Sarah Frechette

Sarah Frechette performs "The Snowflake Man" to delighted audiences!
“The incredible attention to detail, both visually and in her performance style, demonstrates Sarah's mastery of storytelling in this charming show!”...UNIMA-USA

“My granddaughters, daughter, daughter-in-law and I all enjoyed your
show. It was beautiful!”...Peabody Essex Museum, MA

“One might think that young children would prefer puppets that are
loud and flashy, but they were enraptured with Sarah's story and her
marionettes.”...Philadelphia Museum of Art