The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation of West Hartford has announced it will support the Ballard Institute’s World of Puppetry in Hartford project, with a generous grant for this 2011-2012 collaborative effort with four of Hartford’s great cultural institutions: the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the UConn Health Center, Billings Forge Community Works, and the Mark Twain House and Museum.
— The World of Puppetry in Hartford project begins at the UConn Heath Center with Epic Shadows an exhibition of rare South Indian Tolu Bommalata shadow puppets from Andhra Pradesh in two of the Health Center’s exhibition spaces. This exhibit is now open, and will be up through July 21.
— In late August the World of Puppetry in Hartford continues in late August at Billings Forge Community Works in the Frog Hollow neighborhood in downtown Hartford, with a community puppet-making workshop led by renowned puppeteer Sara Peattie, of Boston’s Puppeteers Cooperative. Peattie will lead puppet-building and performance workshops with UConn Puppet Arts students members of the Frog Hollow community. The project will culminate in a procession and street theater performance on the occasion of Billings Forge’s major fundraising Farm- to-Table Dinner on September 15, 2011.
— A Ballard Institute and Puppet Arts Program collaboration with the Mark Twain House will involve an exhibition of puppets from two productions based on Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in the Great Hall of the Mark Twain House, from November 4, 2011 to March 5, 2012, as well lectures and puppet demonstrations during the run of the exhibition. Accompanying the puppets will be a display of objects relating to “A Connecticut Yankee” from the Museum’s collections, including first editions, original illustrations by artist Dan Beard, and ephemera relating to modern adaptations of Twain’s novel. Impromptu performances and workshops may also be presented.
— The Ballard Institute’s collaboration with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will be a mask-making and performance project conducted in conjunction with a local community group such as Mi Casa or a Caribbean-based organization, to create a Carnival mask performance. It will be presented at a “Free Saturdays for Families” community event at the Atheneum in mid-February 2012 in conjunction with the Carnival season.