2019 Fall Puppet Forum Series

For its 2019 Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host four free scintillating discussions with puppeteers, scholars, and artists on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in September through December in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. These forums will illuminate new perspectives on the creation, history, aesthetics, and performance of puppetry today. The Fall Puppet Forum schedule will include the following talks: 

September 19: “Building Puppeteers: How We Got Here and Where are We Going” with Bart Roccoberton
In conjunction with the Ballard Institute’s exhibit It’s Always Pandemonium: The Puppets of Bart Roccoberton, on display through Sept. 29, join Professor Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr. in a discussion about the past, present, and future of UConn’s unique international resource: the UConn Puppet Arts Program. This event is co-sponsored by the UConn Puppet Arts Program.

October 24: “Critical and Historical Investigations into Women and Puppetry” with Claudia Orenstein, Alissa Mello, and Theodora Skipitares, moderated by UConn Puppet Arts graduate student Felicia Cooper
This forum will present editors of and contributors to an important new work of puppetry studies: Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations. The anthology, dedicated to the study of women in the field of puppetry arts, and representing female writers and practitioners from across the globe, includes critical articles and personal accounts that interrogate specific historical moments, cultural contexts, and notions of “woman” on and off stage. This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and the UConn Women’s Center.

November 21: “Macy’s, Tony Sarg, and the Invention of Inflatable Puppets” with Robert Grippo, Christopher Hoskins, and John Bell, moderated by UConn School of Engineering Professor Mehdi Anwar
Robert Grippo and Christopher Hoskins, authors of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will join UConn School of Engineering Professor Mehdi Anwar and Ballard Institute Director John Bell in a discussion of the ground-breaking invention of inflatable puppets for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades by puppeteer Tony Sarg and engineers from the Goodyear Rubber Company. This event is co-sponsored by the UConn School of Engineering.

December 5: “Chasing Ghosts: Ten Years with the Shadow Puppeteers of China” with Annie Rollins
Annie Katsura Rollinscurator of the Ballard Institute exhibition Immaterial Remains: Can You Preserve a Shadow?reflects on over a decade of apprenticeship and research with the traditional shadow puppeteers of China and the importance and (im)possibilities of chasing our own ghosts. This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute and the Asian-American Cultural Center.

Admission to these events 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.