Free Community Puppet-Building Workshop, 9/10-9/11

The 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 of Shakespeare characters for the Celebrate Mansfield Parade in downtown Storrs, Connecticut. These free workshops will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11 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 18 at noon (Line-up begins at 11:00 AM at Farrell Field near the Post Office), and then help perform iconic Shakespeare monologues, dialogues, and fight scenes on the Town Square. The Parade is a part of the 13th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival.

As part of university-wide events celebrating the September exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio at UConn, this year’s puppet-building workshops will focus on the creation of eminent characters from Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies. Which Shakespeare characters would you like to see larger than life in downtown Storrs? Romeo and Juliet? Hamlet? Lady Macbeth? Othello? Join us and Sara Peattie to realize your Shakespearean dreams! Published in 1623, the First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, and only 235 copies are known today. This year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sending a First Folio to every state in the United States, and UConn has been selected as the host site for Connecticut. Join us in September 1-25, 2016 in celebrating the greatest playwright of the English language with this exhibit from the world’s largest Shakespeare collection.

Celebrated in a recent front-page Boston Globe article as “the legendary keeper of one of the Back Bay’s best-kept secrets,” Sara Peattie and her 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.

No experience is necessary to participate in these free community puppet-building workshops with Sara Peattie. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. To register for the workshop, contact 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 the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. For more information about the 13th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival, visit

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeareon tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, is a national travelling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 400th anniversary in 2016 of Shakespeare’s death. It is produced in association with the American Library Association and Cincinnati Museum Center. First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of, The Lord Browne of Madingley, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, British Council, Stuart and Mimi Rose, Albert and Shirley Small, and other generous donors. To learn more about the First Folio at UConn, visit