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School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
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The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 8,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

“Stages of Enchantment: The Puppet Theaters of Blair Thomas & Company,” October 25, 2014-February 22, 2015

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Pictured: Blair Thomas performing Buster Keaton’s Stroll, by Federico García Lorca. Photograph by Kipling Swehla

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present the grand opening of Stages of Enchantment: The Puppet Theaters of Blair Thomas & Company on Saturday, October 25 at 4 p.m. at the Ballard Institute in Storrs Center. The opening events will include two performances of Thomas’ celebrated show The Selfish Giant, at 1 and 3 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater; and be preceded on Wednesday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. by Thomas’ talk at the Fall Puppet Forum Series entitled Liminal Worlds: Design in the Puppet Theater.

In this new exhibition, celebrated Chicago puppeteer, director, and designer Blair Thomas interprets the traditional puppet booth in stages featuring boldly practical designs and a unique material-based aesthetic. Incorporating poetry, folksong, religious texts, and theatrical scripts as sources, Thomas re-invents the puppet stage as a self-contained world for rod, shadow, and hand puppets, Bunraku-style dolls, and marionettes. The exhibition will be on display through February 22, 2015.

In conjunction with the opening celebration and as part of our first-ever Fall Puppet Performance Series, Thomas will perform The Selfish Giant on October 25 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Using original puppets and music, Thomas and singer/songwriter Michael Smith tell the story of this Oscar Wilde classic about a grumpy old giant and the children of his village who rejuvenate his garden. Seating will be limited. Tickets will be sold in advance through the Connecticut Repertory Theatre Box Office located in the lobby of the Nafe Katter Theatre at 820 Bolton Rd, Storrs, CT 06269. Tickets may be purchased in person at the box office, by calling (860) 486-2113, or online at: https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/UCRT/index.php?prod=bimp. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ballard Institute on October 25.

Prior to the exhibition opening, Blair Thomas will lead a presentation titled Liminal Worlds: Design in the Puppet Theater, on Wednesday, October 22, 7:30 p.m. as part of the Ballard Institute’s Fall Puppet Forum Series. Thomas will discuss his aesthetic process in the development of his puppets, stages, and stories in a session that will include a question-and-answer period. This event is free and open to the public.

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