Month: October 2014

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



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: 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.

Brian and Wendy Froud on Faeries, October 9 at 6 p.m.

ortraits, drawings, studies and tales of those mysterious creatures, fairies, fill the pages of Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales by Brian and Wendy Froud. We meet individual fairies and learn their stories. Following their popular book TrollsFaeries’ brings readers into the depths of the mysterious and enchanting realm of these intriguing beings. Brian Froud, a renowned British artist, has created some of the most respected and highly acknowledged mythic artwork of our time. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Original Artwork. Wendy Froud is an American (born in Detroit) who is a doll artist, sculptor, and puppet-maker, best known for her work creating creatures for the Jim Henson films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, as well as her work on the Star Wars series, for which she was the fabricator of Yoda. The Frouds live in Devon, England. Bart Roccoberton, the Director of the Puppet Arts Program at UConn writes, “Brian and Wendy Froud have inspired the Puppet Arts, internationally, since the mid-1970s with their imaginations and creativity.”

Please call 860-486-8525 to reserve a seat.

RECEPTION at 5:30 p.m.

TALK: 6:00 p.m.

BOOKSIGNING immediately following