The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will once more present its popular Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows for family audiences on seven successive Saturdays, June 28-August 9, 2014. Each show will be performed twice, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. All performances will take place at the Ballard Institute at Storrs Center. Admission is $5 for children, $7 for adults. Tickets will be sold at the door on the day of performance.
The series begins on June 28 with special guest performances of Raccoon Tales by Boston-based puppeteer Brad Shur, artist-in-residence at Brookline’s Puppet Showplace Theater. It continues with new works by UConn Puppet Arts students and alumni through August 9.
The schedule of Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows includes the following:
June 28 – Raccoon Tales: a handpuppet show performed by Brad Shur, written by Paul Vincent Davis.
July 5 – George & Martha: performance by Puppet Arts student Gavin Cummins, based on the stories of James Marshall.
July 12 – Bits & Pieces Puppet Show: performances by Puppet Arts students Anatar Marmol and Ana Craciún.
July 19 – A Show of Shadows: shadow puppets from western and Chinese traditions by Puppet Arts alumni Xing Xin Liu.
July 26 – Lisa the Wise & Other Tales: shadow puppet performance by Puppet Arts student Sarah Nolen.
August 2 – Toy Theater Extravaganza: new works for toy theater by Penny Benson, Gavin Cummins, Sarah Nolen, and Dana Samborski.
August 9 – Family Friendly Pot-Pourri: marionettes and handpuppet performances by Puppet Arts students Krista Weltner, Anatar Marmol, and Sarah Nolen.
[/one_half][/row]ByBryanna, a student and Ballard Institute volunteer
The figure sketched here is the villainous Queen of the Night from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous opera, The Magic Flute. First debuted in 1791, the story was originally written as an opera in the form of a “singspiel,” meaning that the play was performed containing both periods of singing and periods of speaking.Frank Ballard of the University of Connecticut presented this opera using puppets in 1986. These sketches are based upon Ballard’s design of the Queen of the Night character. With her lavish hat and dress and exaggerated facial features, the puppet brilliantly reflects the baroque time period in which the opera was first written.
The design of this puppet was one of the things that stood out most to me upon choosing a puppet on display to interpret and sketch. The Queen of the Night’s dramatically angular face with half-lidded eyes that seemed to constantly say “I am unimpressed” gave the character a unique expressive nature. She seemed so very characteristically proud, posted there on her display pedestal so I knew she’d be fun to characterize into a drawing where I could give her the different facial and body expressions that she could not change as a puppet. The Queen puppet seemed an even more perfect fit when I realized she was from The Magic Flute play that had coincidentally been involved in my life several times before. My father and I saw the opera live at Jorgensen Theater when I was a little girl where my dad bought the soundtrack to the opera and played it over and over for me. Years later, I also found myself performing a piece from the play in my school orchestra. The Queen of the Night seemed like a perfect fit for me to sketch.
Our new exhibition, Opera and Giant Puppets: Amy Trompetter’s Barber of Seville, will open on June 14, 2014 at 4pm. The opening celebration will include a free performance by Amy Trompetter’s Redwing Blackbird Theater at 5pm in the Ballard Institute Performance Space.
This spectacular display of giant, life-size, and miniature figures reveals the stunning potential of puppets and opera. Puppeteer Amy Trompetter’s giant-puppet version of Rossini’s 19th-century comic opera The Barber of Seville was performed to great acclaim in New York City and Vienna from 1983 into the 21st century. This exhibition reveals not only Trompetter’s vivid sculptural and performance style, but also her dynamic and unconventional approach to the classic opera, an interpretation that both supports and transgresses the original. Exhibition runs through October 12, 2014.
On Monday, May 19, 2014, Ballard Institute Director Dr. John Bell and Puppet Arts graduate student Sarah Nolen appeared on Sarah Cody’s Fox CT Morning News segment Mommy Minute. Watch the video by visiting: UConn’s New Puppet Museum.
This photographic exhibition features the revelatory work of Richard Termine, performing arts photographer for the New York Times, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and alumnus of UConn’s Puppet Arts Program. In over 60 photographs taken over the past decade, Termine documents the amazing new energy of contemporary puppet performance, from giant spectacles on Broadway and in Las Vegas to avant-garde works of New York’s downtown scene, the set of Sesame Street, and exciting experiments from the Puppet Slam scene, the National Puppetry Conference, and other dynamic venues of the current puppet revival.
One of the groundbreaking aspects of Frank Ballard’s teaching at UConn was his innovative use of rod puppets—of all different forms and sizes—in rich spectacles featuring scores of characters and lavish sets.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Ballard Institute at Storrs Center for our next Spring Puppet Forum event with Roman Paska titled “The Quintessence of Puppetry.”
Internationally acclaimed puppeteer, director, and writer Roman Paska discusses his work for live performance and film, as well as his theoretical writings about the nature of puppet performance.
Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our three new puppet exhibitions in our new Storrs Center home, as well as the video resources inour library nook. This forum will also be live-streamed on our UStream page. Visit bimp.uconn.edu for more information.
We invite you to join us this Wednesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Ballard Institute at Storrs Center for our next Spring Puppet Forum event with Richard Termine titled “Puppets Through the Lens: Photography and the Performing Object.”
Acclaimed photographer and UConn Puppet Arts graduate Richard Termine will discuss the dynamics of capturing puppet performance via the camera, and his photographs in the current Ballard Institute exhibition devoted to his work.
Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our three new puppet exhibitions in our new Storrs Center home, as well as the video resources in our library nook. This forum will also be live-streamed on our UStream page. Visit bimp.uconn.edu for more information.