“Jack & Jill” by Mark Blashford, 4/29-4/30 and 5/6-5/7

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is pleased to host the premiere of Jack & Jill by UConn Puppet Arts Program MFA candidate Mark Blashford with indoor performances at the Ballard Institute Theater and outdoor shows in the Betsy Paterson Square in downtown Storrs on April 29 and 30 and May 6 and 7.

Jack & Jill is a one-man puppet show featuring hand-carved, folk-toy-inspired puppets and live music. The show addresses water conservation and water rights in the tradition of the Appalachian Jack Tale. A young coal miner and his companion go “up a hill to fetch a pail of water” just like they do in the nursery rhyme, but this time there is one BIG problem. They have to take on a selfish giant and save a whole neighborhood! Travel by train with Jack and Jill to meet a colorful cast of characters in a world created solely from wood, steel and leather. Everyone is welcome to a big ol’, heapin’ helpin’ of this good-natured, heartland American story of teaming up and looking out for the little guy. This production was funded in part by the Mark’s Family Endowment Award.

Mark Blashford is an actor, puppeteer, and musician from Pennsylvania. Jack & Jill is Blashford’s culminating project for his Masters of Fine Art from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program. His recent stage credits include: Band of the Black Hand, Twelfth Night, and Peter and the Starcatcher at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Blashford has worked on several UConn Puppet Arts productions including Ancestral, Treeples, El Beto, and Puppets Take the Pops! with the Boston Pops in May 2016. Mark has also performed at Hartford’s March of Dimes, Envisionfest, and Anne Cubberly’s Night Fall.

Indoor performances will take place in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle, Storrs Center, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 and Saturday, May 6.

Outdoor performances in the Betsy Paterson Square in downtown Storrs will occur at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, Sunday, April 30, Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7. Seating is not provided for outdoor shows, so patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets.

Admission is free, and no reservations are necessary. Seating will be available on first-come, first-served basis. This show is recommended for ages five and up. For more information about these performances, call 860.486.8580.