Author: Wicks, Emily

2016 Spring Puppet Forum Series

As part of its Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host three forum events on Wednesdays in February through April at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center. The Spring Puppet Forum schedule includes:

February 3: Roger Danforth, Playwriting for Puppet Theater

Noted director and dramaturg Roger Danforth, who also leads playwriting for puppetry workshops at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, will talk about the particular needs and possibilities playwrights face when writing for actors and objects

February 24: Alexander Gref and Elena Slonimskaya, Russian Puppet Theater

Join us in a discussion with two of Russia’s most dynamic puppeteers as they show us how the rich traditions of Russian vertep and Petrushka puppetry survive and flourish in contemporary performance and art therapy in the Russian Republic.

April 20: Laura Heit, The Puppetry and Animation of Laura Heit

In conjunction with her exhibition at the Ballard Institute—The Bureau of Small Requests—artist and professor Laura Heit (Northwest Pacific College of Art) will discuss her richly varied work in stop-motion film, live-action puppetry, drawing, and computer animation.

Admission to these events is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early and experience our puppet exhibitions, as well as the video resources in our library nook. Visit bimp.uconn.edu for more information.

2016 Spring Puppet Performance Series

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host its Spring Puppet Performance Series on four Saturdays from January to April 2016, featuring outstanding works for puppet theater by professional puppeteers. There will be two showings of each production, at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., in the Ballard Institute Theater located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center. Productions and dates include:

January 30: Of Bread and Paper by Finn Campman

Of Bread and Paper is the story of a poor refugee trying to find his way home. His exile is self imposed but enforced by the struggles of the world: poverty, conflict, indecision, and love. Recommended for children aged 9 and above.

February 13: The Autobiography of James Mars: A Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut by Puppetsweat Theater

Using flat cut-out puppets and projected images, this show tells the story of James and Jupiter Mars, a father and son owned by a parson in Norfolk, Connecticut, demonstrating how these two remarkable men negotiated the complicated slavery laws of the nineteenth century. Recommended for children aged 9 and above.

 March 5: The Great Red Ball Rescue by Faye Dupras

A family trip to the beach goes awry when a young boy’s favorite Red Ball is whisked away by the tides. Join Jasper, a timid kid with a big imagination, as he sets out on an adventure across the ocean, under the waves, and up into the clouds.

April 9: Help Save the Monkey! by Liz Hara and Marta Mozelle MacRostie

8-year-old Howard and 80-year-old Lillian must rush to save her monkey who is about to land from space. Despite setbacks, anxieties, and lasers, their friendship helps them on this epic adventure.

Ticket Prices: Adults: $10; Students: $7; Kids: $5

Tickets will be sold in advance through the Connecticut Repertory Theatre Box Office located in the lobby of the Nafe Katter Theatre at 820 Bolton Rd, Storrs CT 06269. Tickets may be purchased in person at the box office, by calling (860) 486-2113, or online at https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/UCRT/index.php?prod=bimp. A $3.00 surcharge will be added to any purchases made online or over the phone. Tickets may be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the days of performances. There will be a limited number of seats. For more information about these shows, visit bimp.uconn.edu or call (860) 486-8580.

“The World of Puppetry: From the Collections of the Ballard Institute”

The World of Puppetry: From the Collections of the Ballard Institute showcases an array of different puppets carefully selected from over 2,600 puppets in the Ballard Institute collections to reflect the amazing richness of global puppet traditions and contemporary innovations in puppetry.  The exhibition’s array of handpuppets, marionettes, rod puppets, toy theaters, and shadow figures from around the world will include work by Rufus and Margo Rose, Charles Ludlam, Janie Geiser, Marjorie Batchelder McPharlin, Tony Sarg, Bil Baird, Frank Ballard, and puppets from Indonesia, Africa, Iran, Germany, England, Latin America, and France.

Holiday Hours

The Ballard Institute will close at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, 12/24 and remain closed on Friday, 12/25. The museum will reopen for normal business hours on Saturday, 12/26.

On Thursday, 12/31, the museum will close at 5:00 p.m. and remain closed on Friday, 1/1. The Ballard Institute will be open on 1/2 and 1/3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Happy Holidays!

Galleries Closed for Exhibition Installation, November 2-13

From November 2-13, 2015, Ballard Institute staff will be deinstalling our current exhibition “The Work That Follows: 50 Years of UConn Puppeteers” and installing our new exhibition “From Thought to Image: 30 Years of Sandglass Theater.”  While the main galleries at the Ballard Institute will be closed during this process, the museum will remain open during normal business hours, and our exhibit titled “The World of Puppetry: From the Collections of the Ballard Institute” will be on display in the lobby.

We  invite you to join us for the grand opening of From Thought to Image: 30 Years of Sandglass Theater on Saturday, November 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Ballard Institute. The opening events will include two performances of Isidor’s Cheek by Ines Zeller Bass of Sandglass Theater, at 1 and 3 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater.

“From Thought to Image: 30 Years of Sandglass Theater,” November 14, 2015-April 10, 2016

This first-ever retrospective exhibition of work by the world-renowned Vermont-based puppet company co-directed by Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass features extraordinarily crafted puppets from ten different Sandglass productions dating from 1985 to the present. Including characters created by Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass, Jana Zeller, Dave Regan, Finn Campman, Matt Brooks and Coni Richards, the exhibition will trace Sandglass Theater’s development from such dreamlike pieces as Invitations to Heaven (1990) and The Village Child (1992) to stories strongly rooted in the recognizable Vermont world, such as Never Been Anywhere (1997) and All Weather Ballads (2010); and the profound contemplations of modern life in shows based on The Little Prince (Between Sand and Stars, 2005) and the life of renowned philosopher Walter Benjamin (One Way Street, 2002). In all these productions, the persistent metaphorical nature of the puppets remains a constant and compelling element of the work. The exhibition will be on display through April 10, 2016.

 

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Stevens Puppets, 10/30 at 7 p.m.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut presents a special guest performance of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by the acclaimed Stevens Puppets of Indiana on Friday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

In this silly and non-scary version of Washington Irving’s classic piece of literature, children of all ages will follow the lanky schoolmaster Ichabod Crane as he sings, dances, and falls in love with the giggly Katrina Van Tassel. Audiences will watch breathlessly as Katrina’s father Baltus and the village goofball Brom Bones try to run Ichabod out of town by telling him the tale of the Headless Horseman. The Stevens Puppets bring this ever-popular classic tale delightfully to life with beautiful wooden marionettes. The entire production is underscored by classical music, and a fun time will be had by all! The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was originally adapted for marionettes in 1965 by legendary puppeteer Martin Stevens. In 2000, Dan Raynor, one owner of Stevens Puppets, adapted the original script, and took it out on tour that same year.

Ticket Prices: Adults: $12; Students: $8; Kids: $6

Tickets will be sold in advance through the Connecticut Repertory Theatre Box Office located in the lobby of the Nafe Katter Theatre at 820 Bolton Rd, Storrs CT 06269. Tickets may be purchased in person at the box office, by calling (860) 486-2113, or online at https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/UCRT/index.php?prod=bimp. A $3.00 surcharge will be added to any purchases made online or over the phone. Tickets may be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the days of performances. There will be a limited number of seats. For more information about this show, call (860) 486-8580.

2015 UConn Fall Puppet Slam

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and the UConn Puppet Arts Program will present the 2015 UConn Fall Puppet Slam on Saturday, October 3 at 8:00 p.m. in UConn’s J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall. The UConn Fall Puppet Slam will feature short works by professional puppeteers, including Massachusetts-based puppeteers Brad Shur and Madison J. Cripps, as well as new works by talented students from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program. The UConn Fall Puppet Slam is supported by the Puppet Slam Network.

The Puppet Slam movement is a nation-wide flowering of short puppet productions for adult audiences, encouraged by the Puppet Slam Network created by Heather Henson and Marsian De Lellis. UConn Puppet Slams have been taking place since 2008, thanks to the generous support of the Network.

The UConn Fall Puppet Slam is free and open to the public; donations are greatly appreciated. The event will take place in the J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall located at 875 Coventry Rd, Storrs, CT. These performances are recommended for mature audiences. For more information, call the Ballard Institute at (860) 486-8580, visit bimp.uconn.edu, or email us at bimp@uconn.edu.

2015 Fall Puppet Forum Series

As part of its Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host four forum events on Wednesdays in September through December at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

The Fall Puppet Forum schedule includes:

September 23: Margarita Blush: “Unfolding the Story”

Join Puppet Arts Program Assistant Professor Margarita Blush in a discussion about the creation of her new international production Unfolding, which is being presented at the Ballard Institute September 18-20 and 25-27. For this original puppet production a diverse group of artists have come together to create a work delving into the themes of women’s wisdom and empowerment. The show features hand-crafted puppets, live acting, unique design, and original music.

October 28: Professor Sumarsam: “Javanese Puppet Theater and the West”

Javanase musician and scholar Sumarsam of Wesleyan University talks about the hybrid nature of Javanese wayang kulit shadow theater in the context of his fascinating new book, Javanese Gamelan and the West. Professor Sumarsam’s work analyzes the adaptations in gamelan art as a result of Western colonialism in nineteenth-century Java, showing how Western musical and dramatic practices were domesticated by Javanese performers to create hybrid Javanese-Western art forms, such as with the introduction of brass bands in traditional court music and western theatrical idioms in contemporary wayang puppet plays.

November 18: Tim Hunter, Samantha Olschan, and Honey Goodenough: “Puppetry and Digital Performance in Boston Hospitals”

Join us in a discussion of the exciting contemporary intersections of puppetry, digital performance, and medicine as we focus on two projects currently underway at Boston Children’s Hospital: the Interactive Media Wall designed by Professors Tim Hunter, Samanthan Olschan, and others in UConn’s Digital Media & Design Department, and the work puppeteer Honey Goodenough has been doing with the hospital’s Simulator Program.

December 2: Ines Zeller Bass and Eric Bass: “Sandglass Theater, from Thought to Image”

In conjunction with their retrospective exhibition at the Ballard Institute, Eric and Ines Zeller Bass describe their creation process with multiple collaborators over the past thirty years of Sandglass Theater productions. Marking the trajectory of this famed Vermont puppet company, Eric and Ines will trace Sandglass’ development from more dreamlike pieces to characters and themes strongly rooted in a more recognizable Vermont world, even as the puppets themselves remain metaphorical.

Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our puppet exhibitions, as well as the video resources in our library nook. This forum will also be live-streamed on our UStream page: http://ustre.am/15REP.

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole: Ballard Celebrates 150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

This past Saturday and Sunday, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry offered fall community puppet-building workshops with acclaimed Boston puppeteer Sara Peattie.

This year’s free workshops held at the Ballard Institute workshop space celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Participants brought the colorful and fantastic figures that popular Carroll’s fanciful world to life, rendering the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, and the eponymous Alice into puppet form.

Workshop participants are invited to parade with their puppets as part of the Celebrate Mansfield Parade that will be held on Sunday, September 20 at noon (Line-up begins at 11am at Farrell Field near the Post Office). The parade is part of the 12th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival.

Sara Peattie’s dramatic puppet creations have been featured at community parades and pageants across the United States. Long a mainstay of Boston First Night festivities and the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York City, Sara Peattie’s work—through her Boston-based Puppeteers Cooperative company and Puppet Free Library—combines community participation, simple, cheap, and practical puppet-building techniques, and a brilliant design sense that allows community members of all ages to take part in the age-old pleasures of participatory puppet performance in public spaces. Sara recently designed and directed the community puppet parade and pageant in Storrs Center as part of the 2015 Puppeteers of America National Puppetry Festival.

For information on the 12th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival, visit http://www.downtownstorrsfestival.org