Month: June 2022

Grand Opening of “Swing into Action: Maurice Sendak and the World of Puppetry” on July 7 at 4:30PM

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present the grand opening of its new exhibition Swing into Action: Maurice Sendak and the World of Puppetry, curated by Ballard Institute director Dr. John Bell on Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. The opening will include in-person performances and an exhibition tour; the exhibition tour will be streamed on Ballard Institute’s Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/). All events will take place at the Ballard Institute, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. The exhibition will be on display through Friday, December 16, 2022. 

Although Maurice Sendak was not a puppeteer, he understood the nature of puppetry’s never-ending fascination with objects, images, movement, music, and text, and how the creation of those combinations with a collaborative team of artists can make puppets come alive. This exhibition, created in partnership with The Maurice Sendak Foundation, will look at the various ways Sendak designed, collected, and collaborated with puppets and puppet productions, from his childhood days making mechanical toys with his brother, to his collections of Mickey Mouse memorabilia, his inventive collaborations with puppeteer Amy Luckenbach, his puppet designs for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Mozart Opera Goose of Cairo, and the way Sendak’s book inspired Sonny Gerasimowicz’s creatures for Spike Jonze’s film Where the Wild Things Are. 

The grand opening of Swing Into Action will include live performances of a new toy theater spectacle by UConn Puppet Arts graduate students Abigail Baird and Jaron Hollander based on Sendak’s 1993 book We Are All in the Dumps With Jack and Guy.

The Ballard Institute will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Face masks are strongly recommended but not required.

Bugsy and Friends by Pumpernickel Puppets on 7/16 at 11 a.m.

As part of its 2022 Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present Bugsy and Friends by Pumpernickel Puppets of Worcester, Massachusetts on July 16 at 11 a.m. ET in Betsy Paterson Square. In the event of inclement weather for outdoor performances, the show will be rescheduled for Sunday, July 17 at 11 a.m. ET. This performance is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. 

Join Bugsy and his puppet friends for a musical variety show featuring hand, string, and life-size puppets. Plus, Bugsy and Friends also includes a puppet-making demonstration! This fun and interactive show is appropriate for children of all ages. 

For nearly 40 years Pumpernickel Puppets has captivated audiences of all ages with humorous and colorful adaptations of classic folk and fairy tales. Worcester-based puppeteer John McDonough and his puppets present over 250 shows a year at schools, libraries and private parties throughout the New England area. McDonough’s work appeared at the Ballard Institute in 2019 as part of the exhibition Living Objects: African American Puppetry.

Due to generous support during our 2022 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Reservations are not required. Chairs will not be provided, and audience members are encouraged to bring their own blankets and seating. Seating space will be first come, first served. 

For more information, or if you require an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

The Lion & The Mouse by WonderSpark Puppets on 7/23 at 11 a.m.

As the final performance of its 2022 Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present The Lion & The Mouse by New York-based WonderSpark Puppets on July 23 at 11 a.m. ET in Betsy Paterson Square. In the event of inclement weather, the show will be rescheduled for Sunday, July 24 at 11 a.m. ET. This performance is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. 

New York City’s acclaimed WonderSpark Puppets presents two Aesop’s Fables in a highly interactive double feature: The Lion and the Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare, two shows which also demonstrate forgiveness, the power of kindness, and good sportsmanship.

WonderSpark Puppets is a New York City-based puppet theater company led by Chad Williams and UConn Puppet Arts alumna Z Briggs.  The company’s mission is to spread joy, spark imagination and share laughter through high-quality puppet performances. They have partnered with brands like Bed Bath & Beyond, CAMP, NYC Public Schools and the New York Public Library, and have toured internationally, bringing original productions and puppetry workshops to festivals in Thailand and Taiwan. Since mid-March 2020 they have streamed live puppet shows for families in quarantine and streaming schools.

Due to generous support during our 2022 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Reservations are not required. Chairs will not be provided, and audience members are encouraged to bring their own blankets and seating. Seating space will be first come, first served. 

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

Our Magnificent Monster Circus by CactusHead Puppets on 7/9 at 11 AM

As part of its 2022 Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will once again present Our Magnificent Monster Circus by Massachusetts-based CactusHead Puppets on July 9 at 11 a.m. ET in Betsy Paterson Square. In the event of inclement weather for outdoor performances, the show will be rescheduled for Sunday, July 10 at 11 a.m. ET. This performance is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. 

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, multi-sensory show full of friendly monsters is a perfect match for young audiences.

CactusHead Puppets was started in 2010 by married couple John and Megan Regan. Since then they have created several fun family shows, often based on favorite, familiar folktales, and have toured throughout the Northeast. They are a Resident Touring Company with Puppet Showplace Theater, and  Megan and John are both graduates of the UConn Puppet Arts program. Megan is originally from the Kansas City area, where she worked with Paul Mesner Puppets, now known as Mesner Puppet Theater. John is from western Massachusetts, and is honored to be performing in the same venues where he saw puppet shows growing up.

Due to generous support during our 2022 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Reservations are not required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and seating. Seating space will be first come, first served. 

For more information, or if you require an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

2022 Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will present its Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series with outdoor performances at 11 a.m. ET on three consecutive Saturdays from July 9 through July 23, 2022 in Betsy Paterson Square in Downtown Storrs. In the event of inclement weather, performances will take place at the same time the following day, Sunday. Admission for all Summertime Saturday Puppet Show performances is free; donations are greatly appreciated. The Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership.

The schedule of Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows includes the following:

July 9: Our Magnificent Monster Circus by CactusHead Puppets

Rain date: July 10 at 11 a.m. ET

Welcome back this talented Massachusetts company, created by UConn Puppet Arts alumni Megan and John Regan, as they present 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. Thrill to Eustice the Unicycling Unimonster, the Fiery Fanged Worm, Agnes the many-legged Acropod, more magnificent monsters from this puppet menagerie!

July 16: Bugsy ad Friends by Pumpernickel Puppets

Rain date: July 17 at 11 a.m. ET

Join John McDonough’s Pumpernickel Puppets, from Worcester, Massachusetts, as they present Bugsy and his puppet friends in a musical variety show featuring hand, string, and life-size puppets. Plus, Bugsy and Friends also includes a puppet-making demonstration! This fun and interactive show is appropriate for children of all ages. 

July 23: The Lion & The Mouse by WonderSpark Puppets

Rain date: July 24 at 11 a.m. ET

New York City’s acclaimed WonderSpark Puppets presents two Aesop’s Fables in a highly interactive double feature: The Lion and the Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare, two shows which also demonstrate forgiveness, the power of kindness, and good sportsmanship.

Due to generous support during our 2022 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free to all shows, but donations are encouraged.

Reservations are not required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and seating. Seating space will be first come, first served. 

For more information, or if you require an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.