UConn Puppet Forum Series will feature rich new facets of puppetry studies

The Ballard Institute’s Spring 2014 Puppet Forum Series features an array of fascinating approaches to the world of puppetry from renowned scholars, puppeteers, writers, and photographers in a program of Wednesday evening events at the new Ballard Institute at Storrs Center, 1 Royce Circle in downtown Storrs.  Each puppet forum will begin at 7:30 p.m., and will also be streamed on the internet.  These events are free and open to the public; donations are gratefully accepted.  Refreshments will be served.

The Puppet Forum series includes the following presentations:

March 12: Grant Hayter-Menzies, Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton.

Co-sponsored by the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute.  Author Grant Hayter-Menzies discusses his new book about Kansas-born puppeteer Pauline Benton (1898-1974) who discovered piyingxi shadow theater in Beijing, mastered its techniques, and popularized the form across the United States during the Great Depression.  In conjunction with the UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center.

March 26: “Rod Puppets and the Human Theater: Frank Ballard Productions at  UConn.”

Join a panel discussion with student curator Sarah Nolen, Puppet Arts faculty, and alumni about Frank Ballard’s rod puppet productions at UConn, the nature of rod puppetry, and the design, construction, and performance processes of this work.

April 9: Robert Herr, “Puppets at the Vanguard:  The Strident Voice and Radical Politics of Mexico’s Post-Revolutionary Teatro Guiñol.”

Co-sponsored by El Instituto.  Dr. Robert S. Herr, from Dartmouth College’s Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies Program, discusses the nature of 1920s and 30s activist puppet theater in Mexico, when artists, teachers and state officials collaborated to stage educational plays in working class neighborhoods and rural communities in an effort to foster revolutionary citizens.

April 16: Richard Termine, “Puppets Through the Lens: Photography and the Performing Object.”

Acclaimed photographer and UConn Puppet Arts graduate Richard Termine discusses the dynamics of capturing puppet performance via the camera, and his photographs in the current Ballard Institute exhibition devoted to his work.

April 30: Roman Paska, “The Quintessence of Puppetry.”

Internationally acclaimed puppeteer, director, and writer Roman Paska discusses his work for live performance and film, as well as his theoretical writings about the nature of puppet performance.




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