Tuesday, January 28, 2014

World Premiere by Local Artist!


Puppet Showplace Theatre is proud to present ANOTHER brand new puppetry production in 2014 for family audiences by local artist, Faye Dupras of Somerville, MA. VIEW CALENDAR

"The Great Red Ball Rescue"
by Faye Dupras, 
Foreign Landscapes Productions
Feb 1-17, Sat & Sun at 1 & 3pm
Feb 7, Fri at 7pm: Reception to Follow

One breezey summer afternoon, puppeteer and mom, Faye Dupras took her son to the beach...

The events of the day inspired "The Great Red Ball Rescue", an exciting story about a boy who's red ball is lost in the waves of the ocean. The real-life adventure of Faye's son on the Massachusetts coastline is just the beginning of this magical adventure told with mixed-puppetry styles and a new original musical score by Dana Colley (think indie rock band "Morphine", awesome right?)

What would it be like to dive into the ocean and discover the mysteries of the sea?  Told through the imagination of a 5 year old boy, "The Great Red Ball Rescue" explores the limitless adventures within the beautiful world of the deep blue sea.

About the show: Red alert! A family trip to the beach goes awry when a young boy's favorite red ball gets whisked away by the tides. Can he summon the courage to get it back? Join Jasper, a timid kid with a big imagination, as he sets out on an adventure across the ocean, under the waves, and up into the clouds. Along the way, he meets fantastical fortunetellers, thieving fishermen, and many mysterious creatures of the deep. Will he ever reclaim his favorite Red Ball from the clutches of the sea? Find out in this visually stunning production featuring multiple styles of puppetry, an original score, and lots of sea-faring fun!

About the Artist: Faye Dupras grew up doing art and theater but it wasn’t until she accidentally stumbled upon a puppet exhibition in rural Ontario in the mid 90’s that she decided to become a puppeteer. Luck was on her side, and within the month she was apprenticing under the exhibit’s curator, Canada’s acclaimed puppeteer Noreen Young.

To broaden her training Faye continued to work as a puppeteer while completing a BFA in “Theater and Development” from Concordia University in Montreal Canada followed by an MFA in “Puppetry Arts” from the University of Connecticut. This allowed for many diverse experiences: performing around the world (France, Costa Rica, Spain, Brazil) and designing, directing, and building for numerous puppet and theater companies. Since 2004 Faye has been the artistic director of Foreign Landscapes Productions under which she has created several award-winning performances, including "By The Willow," which received an UNIMA-USA citation of excellence, the highest recognition in American puppetry.

Recent professional highlights include working for the Canadian Opera Company as a shadow puppeteer on Atom Egoyan’s production of "Salome" (Toronto ’13); puppet design and direction for Liars and Believer’s critically acclaimed production of "Icarus" (Boston/NY ‘13); and co-developing and implementing Humber College’s inaugural Puppet Intensive that drew participants from across Canada (Toronto ’13). Faye is pleased to have an ongoing relationship with Underground Railway Theater's as one of their "go to" puppet artists. Critics have described Faye’s work as “spellbinding,” “imaginative,” and “powerful.” This is her first full-length production for young children. www.fayedupras.com

About the composer: Dana Colley is a musician and producer who first appeared on the Boston, Massachusetts indie Rock scene playing saxophone with the group Three Colors. In 1989, Colley co-founded "Morphine" which signed with major label DreamWorks Records in 1996. After the sudden end of Morphine he joined forces with Billy Conway and Laurie Sargent to form the trio Twinemen. Colley has made guest appearances with Primus and Lilium. 

He’s played saxophone and bass clarinet on Dan Brenner's 2011 CD Little Dark Angel, produced by Jay Newland. In 2012 he played in Italy with the Italian band Rudy and the M.O.B. He was a featured performer on ”Wild Things,” and “Just Your Luck.” He composed for documentaries “Radical Jesters,” “System Is Broken” and “Condo Painting.”

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.”

Thursday, January 9, 2014

World Premiere performance of "Robin Hood!"

NEW YEAR, NEW SHOWS! Series at Puppet Showplace
Puppet Showplace is proud to present two puppetry productions by Boston-based artists in their world premiere performances this January and February 2014! VIEW CALENDAR

"Robin Hood" by Brad Shur, Artist in Residence

Fri, Jan 17 at 7pm 
(Opening night performance, with reception to follow)

Sat & Sun, Jan 11-19 at 1pm & 3pm
Mon, Jan 20 at 10:30am & 1pm
(Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend!)


Join us at Puppet Showplace for our second annual series showcasing new work for youth and family audiences. Past productions have gone on to tour across the Northeast to venues such as La Mama ETC’s puppet festival in New York City, Boston’s Outside the Box Festival, and Maine’s Mostly Puppets Festival. Each year the artists receive production support through the theatre’s Incubator program.

First in the line-up of new shows by Boston-based artists is the classic tale of "Robin Hood" created and performed by Brad Shur, Puppet Showplace Artist in Residence. Get ready for a rollicking adventure through Sherwood Forest with your favorite hero who's watching out for the little guy.  This imaginative re-telling gives thematic story elements an updated twist told against the classic backdrop of late 18th century England. The performance features an original score by composer, Paul Watkins.

Robin Hood, hand-made glove puppet by Brad Shur
About the show: Get ready to occupy Sherwood in this rollicking retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale. When the new Sheriff of Nottingham starts uprooting villagers' homes as part of a grand castle expansion scheme, the starry-eyed Robin sees an opportunity to save the day and fulfill his dream of becoming a hero. Of course, he'll need a little help from his friends. Join Maid Marion, Little John, and some unexpected puppet characters for this exciting forest adventure.

From the studio: characters from "Robin Hood," The Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin and Maid Marion 
About the performer: Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs regularly and teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult. As protégé of master puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis, Shur trained extensively in glove puppetry and currently performs two of Davis’ classic shows at venues across New England. Shur’s original works include "The Carrot Salesman," "Dr. Doohickey and the Monster Machine," "The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England" and "The Magic Soup and Other Stories," recently featured at the Puppeteers of America National Festival 2013.

Brad Shur, Artist in Residence with Maid Marion puppet right from the mold!
Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Shur toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder Shur has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. Shur is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Meet the production team! Brad Shur was joined by a team of incredibly talented artists to put the world premiere production of "Robin Hood" on its feet.  This includes stage director, Roxanna Myhrum and composer Paul Watkins.

Roxanna Myhurm, Stage Director with deer character from "Robin Hood" by Brad Shur
Stage Director: Roxanna Myhrum is the Artistic Director of Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA. In Boston, she has recently been puppetry director at the Huntington Theatre Company (Ryan Landry's M), Company One (She Kills Monsters), the Lyric Stage Company of Boston (IRNE award, Avenue Q), Underground Railway Theatre (Roots of Liberty), and Gloucester Stage Company (Carnival). Myhrum is a graduate of Harvard University and a former resident company member of the Eugene O’Neill National Puppetry Conference.

Paul Watkins, Composer
Composer: Paul Watkins is a composer and trombonist from San Jose, CA. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and psychology from the University of California, Davis, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. His music has been performed by Fifth House Ensemble, Freya String Quartet, Meridian Arts Ensemble, flutist Erinn Frechette, pianist Adam Marks, mezzo-soprano Jen Beattie, and the UC Davis Summer Symphony, among others.

At UC Davis, he was the recipient of the President’s Undergraduate Fellowship, the Outstanding Senior Award, and the Olga Brose Valente Memorial Prize for excellence in Music Composition (twice). His primary composition teachers include Kurt Rohde, Ross Bauer, Laurie San Martin, John Morrison, and Paul Brust. In his music, he has taken interest in exploring dense counterpoint, non-linear structures, visual and theatrical elements, improvisation, and forced audience participation.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bella Monster and Friends are Back!

Your favorite furry monster is back with new adventures!

Puppet Playtime with Bella
and Friends!
by Brenda Huggins and Phil Berman
Wednesdays at 10:30am

WINTER: Jan 8-Feb 12
SPRING: Mar 5 - April 16 
(No session Apr 23) April 30 - May 14

After a short winter break, Puppet Playtime is back for new weekly performances staring Brookline's favorite pink monster, Bella! These weekly interactive performances for the very young (children 3 and below) feature live music, imaginary play, and short puppet vignettes.  Each week is a new adventure! Ride a rocket ship to outer space, have a teddy bear picnic, make friends with bugs in the garden, or go on a camping trip!

5 Session passes available: Adult/ child pairs are invited to drop-in for just one interactive-performance, or you can purchase a flexible 5 session pass for the price of 4! PASS INFO

Phil Berman, Bella Monster, and Brenda Huggins
About the performers: For the past year, Puppet Playtime has delighted very young audiences at Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline as well as many other venues in the Greater Boston Area including the Cambridge River Fest, Duckling Day on the Boston Common, First Night Boston, the Boston Children's Museum, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and many pre-schools and libraries.

Phil Berman, Puppet Playtime creator and performer
Phil Berman is a Boston-based actor, guitarist, and dramaturg. He loves writing original music for kids, and is thrilled to be performing at Puppet Showplace Theatre. Phil is a member of the puppet company Free Hands Productions, with whom he created "The First Person to Consider the Sun" and "Three Blessed Brothers." Phil has a BFA from Boston University.

Bella with Brenda Huggins, Puppet Playtime creator and performer
Brenda Huggins is an educator and theatre artist who has taught puppetry classes to students of all ages throughout greater Boston area. She received her MA in theatre Education at Emerson college after studying vocal performance at Western Connecticut State University. Her work as a director, costume designer, and solo performer has been seen throughout the New England region.

Bella goes on an outer space adventure!
Bella Monster was created by Jonathan Little of Little's Creatures and has been Puppet Showplace Theatre's "monster in residence" since 2011. She enjoys puppet shows, singing, dancing, and the color pink (of coarse!) Oh, and she also loves giving MONSTER KISSES!