School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
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The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 8,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

2021 Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series!


The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is proud to announce the return of its Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series with a mix of virtual and outdoor performances at 11 a.m. ET on five consecutive Saturdays from July 10 through Aug. 7, 2021. To encourage safety of and accessibility to our audiences, some shows will be performed onsite in Betsy Paterson Square, while others will be performed live virtually via Zoom. The outdoors shows will be socially distanced and follow Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines. In the event of inclement weather for outdoor performances, the show will be rescheduled for the following Sunday. All performances this summer will be free admission, donations greatly appreciated. Reservations are required for the virtual performances, but not for the outdoor shows. Outdoor performances are co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership.

The schedule of Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows includes the following:

July 10: Judy Saves the Day by Sarah Nolen, Puppet Showplace Theater
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: July 11 at 11 a.m. ET
After being pushed around for over 400 years, the famous hand-puppet heroine Judy has had enough! Cheer her on as she goes on a quest for respect, justice, and a well-deserved nap. Puppeteer Sarah Nolen delivers an astonishing one-woman performance in this modern feminist interpretation of the traditional Punch and Judy puppet show. Audiences young and old will laugh, cry, yell, and gasp in response to this highly-interactive, hilarious, hand-crafted farce. 

July 17: Anansi: Story-teller by String Theory Theater
Virtually via Zoom
Reserve a free household ticket at
String Theory Theater presents a fresh take on the famous trickster spider from West Africa folk tales. Anansi is charged with weaving together all of the stories of life on earth and relaying the stories to the sky gods. Daunted by what seems like a never-ending task, Anansi seeks to simplify his effort with an innovative solution, which leads to unexpected results.

July 24: Our Magnificent Monster Circus by CactusHead Puppets
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: July 25 at 11 a.m. ET
Come one, come all, to a circus like no other! Encounter magnificent creatures from the wilds of your imagination as their quirky human caretaker tries to teach them new tricks. Kids can lend a hand to Eustice the Unicycling Unimonster, make friends with a Fiery Fanged Worm, cheer for Agnes the many-legged Acropod, and more! This colorful, silly, interactive show full of friendly monsters is a perfect match for young audiences.

July 31: ScreenPLAY!: Journey into Space by The Gottabees
Virtually via Zoom
Reserve a free household ticket at
Hang onto your astronaut helmet as you blast off into outer space with Bonnie as your captain. While our rocket ship may be cozy, it does tend to veer off course where meteors and aliens come smashing into view.   

Aug. 7: Fox Fables by WonderSpark Puppets
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: Aug. 8 at 11 a.m. ET
What makes you – YOU? Fox Fables is a combination of several Aesop’s Fables, inspired by the works of the 12th century storyteller Rabbi Berechiah ha-Nakdan. The story is about a fox who loses his precious tail and with it his identity. He tries to be several other animals instead – with hilarious results – before realizing the moral lesson of this ancient fable. Themes in this tale include self-worth, anti-bullying, test taking, and the five senses.

Due to generous support during our 2021 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free to all shows, but donations are encouraged.

For virtual performances via Zoom, a household reservation must be made in advance due to limited availability. Reservations can be made by visiting A link to the Zoom event will be emailed to registrants an hour before the performance. 

For the outdoor performances taking place in Betsy Paterson Square, reservations will not be required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Seating space will be first come, first served. To comply with Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines, masks are required for all attendees and staff ages two and up at all times. For safety, six feet of space will be required between seated family groups. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of the seating area. Please note that public restrooms are not available. 

For more information, or if you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or


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