“Contemporary Puppetry in Puerto Rico” Online Forum on 12/2 at 7 PM ET

For its last installment of the 2021 Fall Puppet Forum Series, and in conjunction with the Hecho en Puerto Rico: Four Generations of Puerto Rican Puppetry exhibition, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host “Contemporary Puppetry in Puerto Rico” with exhibit co-curators Dr. Manuel Morán and Deborah Hunt, and puppeteers Pedro Adorno, and Tere Marichal on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Zoom (registration required: us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KmxoQCIeTmaJxfBlVgr0Ew) and Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). This event is co-sponsored by the UConn Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC) and El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.

The Contemporary Puppetry in Puerto Rico forum, moderated by Ballard Institute director John Bell, will consider the history of the form in Puerto Rico, as presented in Hunt and Morán’s Hecho en Puerto Rico: Four Generations of Puerto Rican Puppetry exhibition, and the ways that puppetry in Puerto Rico has pursued educational, entertainment, cultural, and activist goals over the past fifty years. “Contemporary Puppetry in Puerto Rico” will also discuss the situation of Puerto Rican puppetry today and its possibilities for the future.

Pedro Adorno is co-founder and artistic director of Agua, Sol y Sereno. He is a theater and film director and works as an actor, visual artist, educator and stilt man. Agua, Sol y Sereno, founded by Pedro Adorno and Cathy Vigo in 1993, is a non-profit organization that promotes the development of Puerto Rican experimental theater and the democratization of art to all sectors of the population. It links artistic work to social reality through pieces that explore a broad aesthetic range, parades with stilters and big heads puppets, creative workshops, and community residences.

Deborah Hunt has lived and worked as a mask maker, mask and object theatre performance artist since 1973, creating and presenting original theatre works, performances and festivals or encounters in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Born and raised in Aotearoa New Zealand, she has been based in Borikén/Puerto Rico since 1990, where she founded Maskhunt Motions, a nomadic laboratory for experimental object theatre work. Hunt teaches mask work and puppetry in communities worldwide, in a practice exploring puppetry in public and private spaces. Her work ranges in scale from the miniature to creating giant puppets that transform into peepshows. She has created encounters and festivals to promote puppetry for adult audiences and published mask and puppetry manuals in Spanish and English. She is interested in performing in unconventional places and to very intimate audiences. Hunt characterizes her work as “theatre of the useless.” 

Tere Marichal began studying theater in 1971 in Theatron de P.R. with Victoria Espinosa. In 1974 she went to Spain and studied at Instituto de Teatro de Barcelona and began to create paper marionettes. In 1976 she began her workshop on creating puppets from solid waste and began writing for the theater in 1977. In 1985 Marichal was awarded the René Marqués Prize for her play, The Night Gods Hours. In addition to being a playwright, Marichal is also an accomplished television writer (two EMMY awards), storyteller, performer, illustrator and puppeteer. She works on her own offering workshops, writing and illustrating and narrating. Marichal works with the narration techniques Kaavad, Kamishibai, Damarkurung, Cantastoria, Blankets and Story boxes (puppets and story) and offers workshops on these techniques. For her work with environmental stories and environmental education, she received the national award from the EPA. Marichal integrates puppets and storytelling and has been developing the art of oral storytelling in Puerto Rico since 2000, and at this time, she is the only storyteller representing Puerto Rico at international festivals. Marichal has offered two intensive seminars on kamishibai technique (Japanese oral storytelling technique) sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the NEA. 

Dr. Manuel Morán (www.manuelmoran.com) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and studied at the University of Puerto Rico and New York University, where he earned a doctorate degree in Educational Theater. He is the Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Society of the Educational Arts, Inc. (SEA). A writer, director, and producer for theater, television, and film, he is also an actor, singer and composer, and created the International Puppet Fringe Festival of NYC in 2018. He is a former Vice-President (2012-2021) of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette). His three-part documentary film Títeres en el Caribe Hispano/Puppetry in the Caribbean premiered at the Havana Film Festival in Cuba in 2016 and has been screened in festivals around the world. Dr. Morán’s theater and literary work has been published in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States, including his books Migrant Theater for Children: A Caribbean in New York (2016), and Mantequilla/Butter; Adventures and Tribulations of a Puerto Rican Boy (2017). He is currently starring in the web series El Avión The Airplane (www.elaviontheairplane.com), and is the proud dad of Manuel Gabriel, with whom he lives in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

For more information and to learn about other Ballard Institute online programming, visit bimp.uconn.edu or email bimp@uconn.edu.

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