Women’s Suffrage Toy Theater Workshops and Pageant for Celebrate Mansfield!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will offer free online toy theater workshops to design and build scenes for a new Women’s Suffrage Puppet Pageant to be performed Saturday, September 26 at 4 p.m. on the Ballard Institute’s Facebook Live as part of the reimagined 17th annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival.

These free theater workshops will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20 via Zoom. Registrants will build puppets and theaters on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon ET, and then learn to perform and share their work with other participants on Sunday, Sept. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. ET. Workshop participants will be invited to perform their short toy theater shows (three to five minutes) in the community Women’s Suffrage Puppet Pageant on Saturday, September 26 at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live.

The theme for this year’s Ballard Institute community pageant for the Celebrate Mansfield Festival is a celebration of the women’s suffrage movement. The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment in the United States, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote. The Ballard Institute would like to use this anniversary to acknowledge the complex history of the women’s suffrage movement, and leadership of women of color, Native women, working-class women, and immigrant women in the struggle for suffrage; as well as the movement’s intersections with abolitionism and other movements. To honor this milestone we propose to celebrate women’s suffrage heroes and achievements around the world, including Ida B. Wells, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Jovita Idar, Zitkala-Sa, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan B. Anthony and others, noting the successes of the movement, and also its challenges in the face of racism and the strong forces opposed to suffrage.

No experience is necessary to participate in this two-part toy theater workshop and all ages may participate (adult supervision and assistance is required for children). There is no fee to participate (although donations are greatly appreciated!). Registration will be required by Wednesday, September 16. To register for the workshop, please fill out the registration form found below or here: https://forms.gle/ZcfLxmx9dBc1AiSZ6. Workshop registration will be limited.

This community puppet project is sponsored by the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut and the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. For more information about the 17th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival, visit downtownstorrsfestival.org.