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.

Frank Ballard

Frank Ballard (1929 – 2010)

FBImage“A puppet is the artist’s soul set free.”

-Frank Ballard
Puppeteer, Designer/Director, Teacher

In 1956, Frank W. Ballard was appointed to the faculty of what was then the Department of Speech and Drama. He was hired as the Set Designer and Technical Director of the new Harriet S. Jorgensen Theater. At that time, there were five professors in the Department.

In 1962 the Drama, Art and Music Departments merged to form the School of fine Arts. With the creation of a graduate program in Drama, Professor Ballard added puppetry to the University of Connecticut’s curriculum offerings.

Classes in Puppetry were first taught in 1964. The popularity of these classes necessitated the addition of extra class sections. After three years, the department had to limit the class enrollment because of inadequate classroom facilities and the inability of one professor to oversee so many students.

More than 400 student puppet productions have been presented since 1964.

The Mikado (1968), designed by Mr. Ballard, was the first full-length puppet production to be presented in Jorgensen Theatre as part of the Department of Dramatic Arts’ season. With the intention of introducing the audience to the scope of puppetry, all types of puppets were utilized.

Frank Ballard’s puppet productions include:

MACBETH (1961, television)
HANSEL AND GRETEL (1962, television)
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (1963, puppet sequences only, University of CT)
PEER GYNT (1963, Hotchkiss School)
CARNIVAL (1966, puppet sequences only, University of Connecticut)
THE MIKADO (1968, University of Connecticut)
SAMPSON AND DELILAH (1969, University of Connecticut)
THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES (1970, University of Connecticut)
PEER GYNT (1971, Fine Arts Festival)
PETROUCHKA (1971, Nashville Symphony), (1972, Hartford Symphony)
KISMET (1975, University of Connecticut)
FROM THE TOP (puppet sequences only, Channel 24 TV, Hartford, CT)
TWO BY TWO (1976, University of Connecticut, State Capitol, CT and National Festival)
THE GOLDEN COCKEREL (1977, University of Connecticut)
THE FANTASTICKS (1979, puppet design and direction only, University of Connecticut)
THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG (1980, University of Connecticut)
BABES IN TOYLAND (1982, University of Connecticut)
PIPPIN (1983, University of Connecticut)
THE BLUE BIRD (1984, University of Connecticut)
THE MAGIC FLUTE (1986, University of Connecticut and Wesleyan University)
H.M.S. PINAFORE (1989, University of Connecticut and M.I.T.)