The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947) Puppet Forum on 2/22

As part of its 2024 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is pleased to host The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947): The Paladins of France in America, a discussion with Dr. Jo Ann Cavallo of Columbia University, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. This forum will also be broadcast via Ballard Institute Facebook Live ( 

In the forum, Dr. Cavallo will discuss her recently published book The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo, the first-ever study of the vibrant popular spectacle of the Manteo family’s puppet theater in New York City in the 1920s and 30s, including founder Agrippino Manteo’s new-world presentation of original Paladini di Francia scripts from his mentors in Sicily.

Jo Ann Cavallo is Professor of Italian and Chair of the Italian Department, Columbia University. She has published widely on Italian literature and culture, especially chivalric epic in popular traditions. Her latest book, The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo, was recently awarded a UNIMA-USA Nancy Staub Award and is forthcoming in Italian. Her previous book, The World beyond Europe in the Romance Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto, received a Modern Language Association Publication Award and was also translated into Italian. She has edited several volumes, most recently World Epics and Puppet Theater and Teaching World Epics, and is series editor of the Anthem World Epic and Romance book series.

Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. For more information or if you require accommodation to attend a forum, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or