Spring Puppet Forums at the Ballard Institute, Wednesdays April 11 – May 9!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut’s Depot Campus announces its Spring Puppet Forum Series, to be held Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 at the Ballard Institute (except for the April 25th event, to be held at UConn’s Nafe Katter Theater).  The Spring Puppet Forum Series will include puppet performances, talks on puppetry and teaching, and new films for puppet theater by UConn graduate Puppet Arts students and professional puppeteers from around the United States.

The schedule for the Spring Puppet Forum Series includes the following events:

1. Wednesday, April 11: Galapagos Puppets, The Banana Princess

Join us for an evening of traditional Chinese handpuppet theater as Margaret Moody and Madeleine Beresford of Boston’s Galapagos Puppets perform The Banana Princess, an episode from the epic Chinese classic Journey to the West.  Margaret Moody’s expertise in Chinese handpuppet performance stems from her three years of study with master puppeteer Li Tien-lu of Taiwan.

         In The Banana Princess the travelling monk Tang and his disciples find their path to India blocked by a blazing fire mountain. Only a magical fan owned by the powerful Banana Princess can put out the fire, but she doesn’t want to lend it. The disciples use their powers of transformation and persuasion before finally winning the fan.

This rare performance of Taiwanese Chang Chung Hsi (“theater of the palm of the hand”) will be an eye-opening introduction to Chinese handpuppetry, and a rich complement to the current exhibition of Chinese shadow puppets (Red Gate: Pauline Benton and Chinese Shadow Theater) now on display at the Ballard Museum.

2. Wednesday, April 18: Carol Sterling, Puppetry in Education: New Opportunities

Join Carol Sterling and students and teachers from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program for a fascinating discussion of the opportunities and challenges of puppetry in education.  Carol Sterling is a celebrated puppeteer, art educator, and longtime Director of Arts in Education for the Brooklyn Arts Council, as well as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Arts Education from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


3. Wednesday, April 25: New Works in Puppet Film from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program*

See exciting new works in puppet film by graduate students from UConn’s famed Puppet Arts Program: Ki Hong Kim, Maya Ahuja, Travis Lope, Caitlin Shirts and Fergus Walsh. This event is co-sponsored by the Ballard Institute and the UConn Puppet Arts Program. (*Please note: this event will be help in the Nafe Katter Theater on UConn’s Main Campus.)


4. Wednesday, May 9: Heather Henson presents Handmade Puppet Dreams V

Join us for a rare showing of 14 new, awe-inspiring, short, live-action puppet films from the latest edition of the acclaimed Handmade Puppet Dreams series, presented by Heather Henson and Ibex Inc.   This touring festival of independent artists’ films explores innovative puppetry captured in spectacular real-time images, and will change your perception of puppetry in the 21st century.

The films of Handmade Puppet Dreams V include:

Moonfishing (11:28), directed by David Michael Friend (Brooklyn, NY).  A fisherman’s hobby of sculpting is interrupted when he must perform his monthly task of illuminating his town.

– Baby Trashes Bar in Las Palmas (1:21), directed by Johannes Nyholm (Sweden).  A middle-aged lady on a holiday in the sun tries to make new friends and have a good time.

– Dirty Night Clowns (4:54), directed by Ryan Gibeau (Brooklyn, NY).  We all have our childhood fears, and this short film explores one puppet’s reaction to an intruder in his house, discovering that what at first seems scary can sometimes be unexpectedly pleasant. .

– I’ll Forget You (3:16), directed by Natasha Pincus (Melbourne, Australia).  A single-shot music video that tells a story symbolic of that told in the song I’LL FORGET YOU. The ‘lovers’ in the video are continually brought together and pulled apart until the man concedes to continue living as he had started out – on his own.

– InnerCity (8:21), directed by Alain Fournier (Quebec Canada).  A boy with only pigeons for company tries to seduce his remote neighbor with wacky inventions.

– Nolan’s Cheddar (1:29), directed by John Nolan (London, England). A curious rat meets his untimely demise when he finds cheese in a trap. Or does he…?

Douce Dame (4:34), directed by Bradley Kemp (NYC, NY).  A young painter, obsessed with his muse, continually paints a memory of her… until she lures him away.

– Rocket Monkey (7:58), directed by Gwendolyn Warnock and Kirjan Waage (NYC, NY).  Based on rocket launchings of animals in the 1930’s and 1940’s comes a story about our first space explorers.

– Wye Oak (4:40), directed by Katherine Fahey and Michael O’Leary (Baltimore, MA).  Paintings by Katherine Fahey and photography by Michael O’Leary illustrate Wye Oak’s song “Fish”.

 Magical Sniffy Thing (2:54), directed by Jamie Shannon (Toronto, Canada).  When you’re lost and hungry, make a wish to meet the Magical Sniffy Thing.

– Junk Palace (14:17), directed by Lyon Hill (Columbia, SC).  Using elaborate paper puppets, Junk Palace takes you into the world of real-life hoarders the Collyer brothers and imagines what life was like for these unique individuals.

– Time Machine (4:52), directed by Vincent Bova (NYC, NY).  Fafa builds a time machine and his dear friend Mario deals with the ripple effects on the space-time continuum.

– The Curse (5:05), directed by Liam Hurley (NYC, NY). The Curse is a waltz with a love story between an archaeologist and her mummy.

– Higgley Pigglety Pop! (24:00), directed by Chris Lavis and Maciaek Szczerbowski (Montreal, Canada).  Based on the Maurice Sendak children’s book of the same title, this short film tells the fictional adventures of a dog named Jennie. Featuring the voices of Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker and Spike Jonze.








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