Month: August 2015

Ballard Institute presents International Paper Theater Performances on 9/3 at 7:30 p.m.!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at Storrs Center will present an exciting evening program of three family-friendly works for paper theater–also known as toy theater–on Thursday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m.  This travelling paper theater mini-festival features puppeteers from Mexico City’s Facto Teatro, Berlin-based graphic artist and puppeteer Barbara Steinetz, and John Bell and Trudi Cohen of New York City’s Great Small Works company.  Tickets for these family-friendly performances are $12.

The program of international paper theater performances includes three shows. Facto Teatro’s Don Chico with Wings is a funny tale of a man who decides he needs to fly. Based on a story by Mexican writer Eraclio Zepeda, it speaks of ingenuity, creativity, surrealism and human adventure and shows that, for some, the sky is the limit. Trudi Cohen and Ballard Institute director John Bell will perform Living Newspaper, Episode Two: Sidewalk Ballet, in which Jane Jacobs, Robert Moses and a burning bush battle over the right to public space. And Facto Teatro teams up with Barbara Steinitz for Duraznos Azules (Blue Peaches), a story about a boy who wants to find out why the peach tree in his grandmother’s garden is producing blue peaches.

Paper Theater, also known as Toy Theater, is a unique form of puppetry.  Flat paper figures evoke grand worlds, as they did centuries ago in the living rooms of European homes. Through international Toy Theater Festivals in New York and Mexico City, performances around the world, and workshops for people of all ages and persuasions, Great Small Works and Facto Teatro have been responsible for a resurgence of interest in this accessible, inexpensive form. The grandest of tales with the simplest of means! And—you can do it yourself!

Tickets for this program of International Paper Theater Performances can be purchased with cash only at the Ballard Institute one hour before the performances. For more information contact Emily Wicks at or 860-486-8585.

Free Puppet-Building Workshops on 9/12 and 9/13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

WorkshopThe Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will once again offer fall community puppet-building workshops with acclaimed Boston puppeteer Sara Peattie, to design and build life-size and over-life-size puppets for the Celebrate Mansfield Parade in downtown Storrs, Connecticut. These free workshops will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Ballard Institute workshop space in Storrs Center. Workshop participants will be invited to parade with their puppets as part of the Celebrate Mansfield Parade on Sunday, September 20 at noon (Line-up begins at 11:00 AM at Farrell Field near the Post Office). The Parade is a part of the 12th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival.

This year’s puppet-building workshops will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by designing and creating puppets based on the colorful and fantastic figures that populate Carroll’s fanciful world: the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, and Alice herself–which character would you like to create?

Sara Peattie’s dramatic puppet creations have been central features of community parades and pageants across the United States. Long a mainstay of Boston First Night festivities and the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York City, Sara Peattie’s work–through her Boston-based Puppeteers Cooperative company and Puppet Free Library–combines community participation; simple, cheap, and practical puppet-building techniques; and a brilliant design sense to allow community members of all ages to take part in the age-old pleasures of participatory puppet performance in public spaces. Sara recently designed and directed the community puppet parade and pageant in Storrs Center as part of the 2015 Puppeteers of America National Puppetry Festival.

To participate in these free community puppet-building workshops with Sara Peattie, register by contacting the Ballard Institute at or 860 486 8580.

This community puppet project is sponsored by the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut and Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc.

12th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival

Sunday, September 20 On the Mansfield Town Square