As part of its popular Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series of new works by UConn Puppet Arts students and alumni for family audiences, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will present 100 Birds by the talented 2017 graduate John Cody on Saturday, July 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater located at 1 Royce Circle, Storrs Center.
A magical and whimsical, if not slightly chaotic, group of birds have flocked to the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry! 100 Birds follows Jada Jones, captain of her middle school’s basketball team, who finds out that her school doesn’t have the money to get the team to their playoff game. The 100 Birds, an intergalactic troupe of feathered friends, come from outer space to help Jada after she wishes upon a shooting star for help. Using their skills as birds and their love of math, the avian crew bands together with Jada to host the biggest fundraiser ever and create the world’s largest pizza! But the nefarious Dr. Allundrious Pepper, who hates birds, is dead set on foiling their plans. Will Jada and the birds make it out alive, giblets and all? Speaking to his creative process, Cody explains “this fantastical, silly dose of positive entertainment came about in the middle of the night, which sounds far more dramatic than it actually was. I came up with the title of 100 Birds, and the next day I came up with three sentence stories that could serve this title … I have found this brainstorming method particularly effective, and it was through these short stories I wrote that the seed of the show’s story was planted.”
John Cody ‘17, along with fellow UConn Puppet Arts Program undergraduate student Katayoun Amir-Aslani ‘18 weave together rod puppets, hand puppets, string puppets, and more into an experience that both adults and children will love, with a focus on comedy and positivity. “I think children are far smarter than adults give them credit, and I have developed 100 Birds with that in mind. 100 Birds is not a show that I am making for children, but rather is something that I, as a young adult, would like to see, with audiences young and old taken into account when it comes to the exact vocabulary of the show,” states Cody. This show was made possible by UConn’s IDEA Grant, which provides funding for independent projects by undergraduate students.
John Cody is a New York-based puppeteer who graduated with a BFA in Puppet Arts in May 2017. Deciding he wanted to be a puppeteer before the age of five, John has since worked on many projects of all different kinds, from marionettes to hand puppets to giant character costumes. He has had the tremendous opportunity to learn and work alongside some of the folks behind The Muppets, Sesame Street, and Bear in the Big Blue House.
Upcoming Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows include:
August 5 – Sheldon Explains It All by Zach Broome
Sheldon is a turtle, and he is scared of everything: absolutely everything. What scares him the most are the things he doesn’t yet know. Join Sheldon as he learns about everything under the sun and shares all of his new knowledge with you. Recommended for ages 5+.
August 12 – The Superhero Within: Episode 2! by Anatar Marmol Gagné
It’s summer break from Superhero Academy and Alex and Sage can’t wait for their summer adventures. They quickly learn that even though they are superhero cadets, villains will try everything to ruin their holiday. With the help of the Vigilantes, Alex and Sage will stop at nothing to get their summer back! Recommended for all ages.
Admission is $6 for children (12 years and under), $8 for adults.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, by calling 860.486.8580, or online at bimp.ticketleap.com. A surcharge will be added to any purchases made online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the day of performance starting at 10 a.m. There will be open seating, and no reservations. Visitors can park in the Storrs Center Garage located at 33 Royce Circle. Parking in the Storrs Center Garage is free for the first two hours and $1 per hour thereafter, with a daily maximum charge of $8. For more information about these performances, visit bimp.uconn.edu or call 860.486.8580.