“Obstreperous Puppets: The Puppeteers Cooperative,” 6/22/17-10/8/17

Co-founded by Sara Peattie and George Konnoff in 1976, the Boston-based Puppeteers Cooperative is one of the most prolific, yet un-acclaimed, puppet companies in New England. Peattie, Konnoff, and their colleagues have designed and built puppets with community groups for pageants and celebrations across the United States, including Boston’s famed First Night, the Downtown Mansfield Festival in Storrs. Many of these creations are also available to the general public through the Puppeteers Cooperative’s Puppet Free Library, located in the basement of Boston’s Emmanuel Church. “Puppeteers secretly suspect that their puppets have lives of their own,” Peattie comments, “and these puppets really do. Because they are in the Puppet Free Library, they wander off, go places I don’t know about or that I can’t get entrance to, and come back with human thanks, or even on occasion reappear with no explanation, somewhat battered and smelling oddly, to resume their places in my life, but to be greeted on the street as old friends by people who are strangers to me.”

In conjunction with this exhibition and the 14th annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and Mansfield Downtown Partnership will host a free two-day puppet-building workshop with Sara Peattie on September 9 and 10 at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Workshop participants will help to design and build life-size and over-life-size puppets for the Celebrate Mansfield Parade in downtown Storrs. Workshop participants will be invited to parade with their puppets as part of the Celebrate Mansfield Parade on Sunday, September 17 at noon. No experience is necessary to take part in these workshops. More information will be released at the end of summer.

As part of our Fall Puppet Forum Series, on Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. Obstreperous Puppets curator Sara Peattie will discuss her work building puppets with the Puppeteers Cooperative and organizing the Puppet Free Library. Admission is free, and donations are greatly appreciated.