This Fall, the Ballard Institute’s popular UConn Fall Puppet Forum Series will feature puppeteers and scholars explaining the past, present, and possible future of puppetry around the world. The Fall 2013 series will focus on current developments in world-wide puppetry and its connections to ancient texts, television dramaturgy, traditional culture, digital media, and puppet museums, as all these factors interact with each other in a global network. The UConn Fall Puppet Forums will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 at the Ballard Institute’s Depot Campus Center and are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The roster of Fall Puppet Forum speakers so far includes the following: 1. Wednesday, September 25: Diane Daly: “Que vivan los títeres: Community Support Among Today’s Mexican Puppeteers.”
Join us for an exciting look at how traditional puppetry thrives in Mexico, when Diane Daly, from the University of Arizona’s School of Information Resources & Library Science, will discuss her research on peer development among Mexican puppeteers, who “continually cultivat[e] a form of puppetry fed by popular international traditions but with distinctly Mexican roots.” Daly’s research “taps into virtual and face-to-face communication within Mexico’s puppetry community to provide dynamic glimpses of this culture and to explore how new tech platforms can help it grow.” Co-sponsored by El Instituto, UConn’s Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies. 2. October 16: Dr. Robin Ruizendaal, “Asian Puppet Theatre and the Puppet Theatre Museum.”
Scholar, puppeteer, and museum director Dr. Robin Ruizendaal will present an overview of the current state of Asian puppet theater in the era of mass communication, and chart how traditional and modern companies function in contemporary Asia. Ruizendaal, the Director of Taiwan’s Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum, and the Managing & Artistic Director of the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, earned a Ph.D. in Chinese studies from Leiden University, Holland, and has been doing research on Asian puppet theatre for over twenty years. His talk will focus on the history and current practices of the Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum which he directs in Taipei. Ruizendaal will discuss the conservation and collection policies of the museum (which according to Ruizendaal has “the most complete collection of Asian puppets in the world”), as well as its educational projects, interactive exhibitions and performances. 3. Wednesday, October 30: Dr. Marvin Carlson, “The Ibn Daniyal Trilogy: Theatre from Medieval Cairo”
Famed theater historian Dr. Marvin Carlson will speak about his and his colleagues’ current research into 13th-century Egyptian shadow theater, and the implications of those studies for puppet history. Professor Carlson, a Distinguished Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, is well-known throughout the world for his contributions to theater history, including 1993 book Theories of Theatre, which has been translated into seven languages. His 2011 book Theatres of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, written in collaboration with Khalid Amine, explored the history of drama in the Arab world. At UConn Professor Carlson will further explore the history of Arabic theater by reading from his latest project, The Ibn Daniyal Trilogy: Theatre from Medieval Cairo, a series of plays translated and edited by Dr. Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz and Dr. Carlson. These “thirteenth century shadow plays of remarkable sophistication from Egypt by the author Ibn Daniyal,” Dr. Carlson recently wrote, “are going to make a major impact on medieval drama studies,” and “puppet theatre studies as well, since almost nothing is known of these important works.” 4. Wednesday, November 6: Annie Evans, “Writing for Sesame Street.”
Drawing from her experience as a principal writer for Sesame Street since 1994, Annie Evans will discuss her journey from college to Sesame Street, and the show itself. She will explain “how we write it, how we use puppetry to its best advantage, shooting on the street or on blue screen, and how the show has changed and adapted in the past twenty years.” Evans will discuss the ways that new technology and research methods affect Sesame Street, and her experience working with international Sesame Streets around the world, particularly in East Asia. In addition to her Sesame Street work, Evans has been a principal writer for Elmo’s World, and has written scripts and lyrics for many television puppet shows, and has also served as a consultant on Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian co-production of Sesame Street. All of the 2013 UConn Fall Puppet Forums will take place at the Ballard Institute’s Depot Campus Center. For more information call the Ballard Institute at 860 486 0339.