“Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations” Forum on 10/24

For its second installment of the 2019 Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host Critical & Historical Investigations into Women and Puppetry with Claudia Orenstein, Alissa Mello, and Theodora Skipitares, moderated by UConn Puppet Arts student Felicia Cooper. Join us on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. 

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. The Women and Puppetry forum will feature editors Claudia Orenstein and Alissa Mello, as well as famed New York puppeteer Theodora Skipitares. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and book signing, courtesy of Barnes and Noble at UConn. This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and the UConn Women’s Center.

Theodora Skipitares is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and theater director based in New York. Trained as a sculptor and designer, she is the author/director of 30 performance works, each featuring documentary texts, original music, video, and as many as 300 puppet figures. She is a resident artist at La MaMa Theater. Skipitares has worked and taught master classes in Brazil, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, and Iran. She is a professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. 

Alissa Mello is the Managing Director at Sandglass Theater and an independent scholar. She has presented at numerous international conferences; and is a co-editor of Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations (2019). Her writing includes book chapters in Undisciplining Dance in 9 Movements and 8 Stumbles (2018) and Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice (2011); articles in Performance Research, Puppetry International, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Animations Online, and Puppet Notebook and theater criticism for www.offoffonline. As a founding member of Inkfish (www.inkfishart.com), she has directed numerous experimental puppet productions. As a performer and choreographer, she has worked with Theodora Skipitares, Anna Kiraly, Jane Catherine Shaw, and Ishara Puppet Theater. 

Claudia Orenstein is Professor of Theatre at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has spent over a decade writing on contemporary and traditional puppetry in the US and Asia. Recent publications include the co-edited volumes Women and Puppetry (with Alissa Mello and Cariad Astles), and The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (with John Bell and Dassia Posner). She served as dramaturg for Stephen Earnhart’s multimedia production Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami; and for Tom Lee and Nishikawa Koryu V’s Shank’s Mare, in which she also performed. She is a board member of the puppetry organization UNIMA-USA and Associate Editor of Asian Theatre Journal.

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