“African American Puppetry in New York City” with Nehprii Amenii and Brad Brewer

For its final installment of the 2018 Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host Nehprii Amenii and Brad Brewer for African American Puppetry in New York City on Thursday Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. This forum is co-sponsored by UConn’s Africana Studies Institute.

In conjunction with the Ballard Institute’s Living Objects: African American Puppetry exhibition, this forum will bring together two noted New York-based puppeteers to talk about the past, present, and future of African American puppetry, and the dynamics of aesthetic and artistic choices in this field.

Nehprii Amenii is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer, puppeteer, director and educator, and the founder and Artistic Director of Khunum Productions. Her 2013 play Food for the Gods was honored with the Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for playwriting, and this year she received the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Creative Engagement Award. In addition to writing and producing theatre, she uses multimedia-arts and storytelling to teach English and provide catharsis to young immigrants through the New York City Department of Education.

Brad Brewer is the founder of New York City’s Brewery Puppet Troupe. As a child in the Soundview projects in the Bronx, Brad was obsessed with the art of puppetry, which he learned from puppeteers Kermit Love, Jim Henson, and Frank Oz. Through the creation of his puppet singing group the Crowtations, Brad and company have worked with Melvin Van Peebles, Chaka Khan, Spike Lee, Harold Nicholas, David Brenner, the Four Tops, Mr. Rogers, Ron Carter, Oscar Brown, Jr., and Ron Howard, to name a few. His troupe is the only African American puppet company to appear on Broadway, in a major motion picture, and on network television. Several of his puppets are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our puppet exhibitions, as well as the video resources in our library nook. Forums will be broadcast via Facebook Live. For more information, or if you require an accommodation to attend a forum, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.