Free Sendak-Inspired Toy Theater Spectacle and Exhibit Tours on 10/8

(Photo credit: Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

In conjunction with its exhibition Swing into Action: Maurice Sendak and the World of Puppetry, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will offer an afternoon of free tours and performances. Join Ballard Institute Interim Co-Director Matt Sorensen for free exhibit tours at noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. UConn Puppet Arts graduate students Abigail Baird and Jaron Hollander present a brief toy theater performance based on Maurice Sendak’s 1993 book, We Are All in the Dumps With Jack and Guy on Oct. 8 at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. 

Abigail Baird is a tenacious and dedicated arts educator, director, choreographer, and acrobatic-actor. Her most notable and successful artistic creation is Aerial Animation, a modern adaptation of silent film storytelling which competed through the semifinals on America’s Got Talent and La France a un Incroyable Talent. For over a decade Abigail was the Creative Director of Educational Programming at Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland, California for ten years. She has a self-designed BFA in technical theatre, sculpture and puppetry from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. She is returning to her roots to study puppetry at UConn as a graduate student.

Jaron Aviv Hollander is a circus and theater performer, director, teacher, and now a student at UConn to pursue an MFA in puppet arts. He is the founding Artistic Director (now emeritus) of Kinetic Arts Center, a circus center in Oakland where he has been teaching and directing circus for 12 years. He is also known as the co-creator and co-performer of “The Submarine Show” an internationally award-winning, critically acclaimed physical comedy. His 30-year career includes performing in Cirque Du Soleil, The Aurora Theatre, Make*A*Circus and Impact Theatre, to name a few. Jaron has a BA in theatre from the University of California Santa Cruz and studied at Dell’arte School of Physical Theatre, The San Francisco Circus Center (under master Lu Yi) and Circo Arts New Zealand.

Swing into Action, created in partnership with The Maurice Sendak Foundation, looks 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. 

Reservations are not required. Masks are recommended but not required. For more information, or if you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or