The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry has reopened to the public on a reduced operating schedule on Saturdays only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by reservation only. The current exhibitions on display are The World of Puppetry: From the Collections of the Ballard Institute; Paul Vincent Davis and the Art of Puppet Theater; and Shakespeare and Puppetry.
Due to restrictions and safety precautions related to COVID-19, the museum will be open on Saturdays only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by reservation. Only one group of up to 6 visitors from a family or quarantine unit will be allowed in the museum at a time during each 45-minute time slot.
Face masks are required at all times when visiting the museum for ages two and up. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the museum and staff are cleaning high-touch surfaces once per hour. Please note that the restrooms and water fountains are closed to the public. To learn more about the Ballard Institute’s COVID-19 protocols and to reserve a time slot, visit: bimp.uconn.edu/about/covid-policies/. Visitors may also reserve a time slot by calling 860.486.8580 on Saturdays.
Our current temporary exhibits, on display throughout the fall, include the following:
A vibrant, colorful, and thought-provoking exhibition of work by one of the United States’s most dynamic 20th-century puppeteers, Paul Vincent Davis and the Art of Puppet Theater celebrates the career of the long-time Artist in Residence at Boston’s Puppet Showplace Theater, now in his 85th year. Paul Vincent Davis’s award-winning productions have ranged from the joyous fun of fairy tales, folklore, and clown circus, to works by Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, and Samuel Beckett. Focused primarily on the design, construction, and performance of hand puppets, Paul Vincent Davis has always sought to expand America’s sometimes “limited vision of this amazing art form,” as he put it in his book Exploring the Art of Puppet Theater. In every aspect of his work, from his early years with Carol Fijan’s National Theatre of Puppet Arts in New York City, to his creation of the Repertory Puppet Theatre at the Puppet Showplace, Davis has consistently explored what it means to approach puppetry in the same manner that we approach dance, music, or visual art. Paul Vincent Davis and the Art of Puppet Theater includes puppets, props, and stages from such spectacles as Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, Rumpelstiltskin, Here Come the Clowns, and Bingo the Circus Dog, as well as Richard III and Shakes versus Shav.
Curated by performance artist and writer Dr. Jungmin Song, Shakespeare and Puppetry presents exciting and thought-provoking examples of the many ways puppets and objects have been used to interpret the works of the greatest playwright of the English language. Ranging from the giant cardboard cutouts of Bread and Puppet Theater’s Out of Joint Hamlet, to Forced Entertainment’s everyday-object performance of Macbeth, the exhibition introduces new perspectives on how dramatic characters are fashioned, and how “things” can be cast in dramas. Shakespeare and Puppetry also includes work by Tiny Ninja Theatre, Jon Ludwig, Hogarth Puppets, Little Angel Theatre, Fred Curchack, Great Small Works, and Larry Reed. Through its juxtaposition of modern and contemporary puppet and object interpretations of Macbeth, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the exhibition invites viewers to contemplate the materiality of character and the physical embodiment of roles, to question our preconceptions of character, and ask what it means for an object to perform onstage.
In conjunction with Shakespeare and Puppetry, curator Dr. Jungmin Song will speak with Dr. John Bell about “Things That Act Shakespeare” for an online 2020 UConn Fall Puppet Forum Series event on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. ET on Ballard Institute Facebook Live.
If you require an accommodation to visit the museum, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860-486-8580 or email@example.com at least five days in advance.