Thursday, January 16, 2014

There's a Puppet Pandemic at Puppet Showplace!

PUPPET SHOWPLACE SLAM: Featuring Puppet Pandemic

Sat, Jan 18 at 8pm


The Puppet Showplace Slam returns! January's slam features "Puppet Pandemic" performers, aka alumni of the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference. Acts include "Goldilocks and the Three Kraken" by Broderick Jones, "The Bread Death" performed and created by Gavin Cummins (age 40) and narrated by Chanz Kalstrom (age 5), "Stealium" by Matt Witham and Christine Dempsey, an excerpt from Bonnie Duncan's acclaimed dance/puppetry production "Poste Restante" and many more!

RAFFLE: You'll also have a chance to win awesome puppet-themed raffle prizes. Proceeds from the raffle go to the O'Neill's Alumni Scholarship Fund.

CASH BAR: Beer and wine will be served through out the night thanks to our beer sponsor for the evening, Berkshire Brewing Company!


The National Puppetry Conference located at the Eugene O'Neil Theater Center in Waterford, CT creates contemporary works of theater that defy imagination and confound expectations. Over the course of just eight days, Conference participants collaborate with nationally and internationally renowned puppet artists, and each other, to produce innovative plays and productions that push the boundaries of puppetry’s definitions and dare participants to challenge themselves and their audiences. 


Gavin Cummins is a puppeteer and graduate student at University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts program. He first started performing with puppets in Seattle with Thistle Theater and Brain Kooser Productions before co-founding The Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam and the creating the ubiquitously named Puppet Show: The Puppet Show. Gavin has performed around the country and was honored to be selected as part of the 2013 National Puppet Slam.

"The Bread Death" by Gavin Cummins
In "The Bread Death," black light puppets help to bring to life a spooky story told by a 5 year old boy.  Narrator and storyteller Chanz is a young friend of Gavin's who in September asked him "What are you doing?" and when Gavin replied, "Trying to think of a Halloween story" he answered with "I have a Halloween story…" The recording used in "The Bread Death" is verbatim and unedited.

"Stealium" by Matt Witham and Christine Dempsey
"Stealium" by Matt Witham and Christine Dempsey is a humorous toy theater piece about helium shortage. It was developed and created at the 2013 O'Neil Pre Conference in the Toy Theater track taught by John Bell. The piece was conceived, written, and built, in three days.

"Stealium" by Matt Witham and Christine Dempsey
Matt Witham is an animator, designer, and puppet builder based out of Astoria, New York. He has animated on the hit children’s television show, Nick Jr.’s “The Wonder Pets!” and various stop motion music videos for LEGO. He is currently the lead designer and animator on the children’s app, “Addimal Adventure.” You can hear his voice in the app as the constantly annoyed character, “Junior Possum.”

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