Author: Becker, Tracy

Online Event! “Kitty’s Corner” by String Theory Theatre Followed by an Interview and Workshop on 5/23 at 2 p.m.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host String Theory Theater for a performance of Kitty’s Corner, a behind-the-scenes studio tour, and a workshop on Saturday, May 23 at 2 p.m. EST.  This event will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on the Ballard Institute Facebook page and YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 

Join us on May 23 as String Theory Theater performs Kitty’s Corner, a hilarious interview-styled talk show put on by a cat and a dog. Lively characters with humor to crack up both children and adults. After the show enjoy a peek behind the scenes with a tour of the String Theory Theater studio as puppeteers Dirk Joseph and his daughter Azaria Jean-Gilles Joseph share how their puppets work and how they create their shows, including a demonstration on how to make your own puppets! This event will last 45 minutes and is recommended for all ages. 

String Theory Theater (STT) is a family puppet troupe based in Baltimore MD, consisting of artist Dirk Joseph and his daughters Koi and Azaria. They create and perform shows for families to enjoy together, as well as adult-themed productions. STT is also involved in community arts, using puppetry as a healing and connective cultural technology in some of Baltimore’s underserved communities. 

String Theory Theater performed and exhibited their work at the Ballard Institute as part of the 2019 Living Objects: African American Puppetry exhibition and festival; in addition, a toy theater created by the company was included in the Ballard Institute’s Army Ants and Their Guests exhibition last fall. Dirk Joseph’s visual art can be seen at Dirkjart.com. 

For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu. 

Online Event! “A Visit to Cozy Corner” with Cozy Arts Productions on 5/16 at 2 p.m.

To celebrate the airing of the Cozy Corner web series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host A Visit to Cozy Corner with Cozy Arts Productions on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EST. 

This event will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on the Ballard Institute Facebook page and YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). All webisodes of the Cozy Corner series can currently be viewed here: cozycornerseries.com

Join your favorite Cozy Corner charactersincluding Max, Rory, and Mrs. Flutterby—for live music and interactive activities on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EST! There will also be a chance to ask the Cozy Corner friends questions they will answer during the livestream event. This event is recommended for all ages! 

The Cozy Corner web series, created by Cozy Arts Productions, premiered in April 2020 and features eight short webisodes. We may not see our friends every day like we used to, but you can still visit with your friends at Cozy Corner! Join Max, Rory, Trudy, Mrs. Flutterby, and Squirrel in a NEW, fun, uplifting, and interactive web series that celebrates the magic and wonder we all have inside. Created by puppeteer Faye Dupras and featuring music by Max Weigert, Cozy Corner nurtures the tender hearts and minds of children by exploring the qualities and skills needed to cultivate loving relationships, welcoming communities, and a healthy planet. All episodes are available for viewing online: cozycornerseries.com.

Cozy Arts Productions creates original puppet productions to help children, and their grownups, explore the qualities and skills needed to cultivate loving relationships, welcoming communities, and a healthy planet. Founded in Boston in 2018, they believe that every child, regardless of background or ability, has feelings that matter and creativity that can change the world. 

When schools closed and the theaters went dark Cozy Arts Productions quickly mobilized to bring their live theater shows into the world of video. Created out of a love for children, and a concern for their wellbeing during these isolating times, the Cozy Corner web series is an offering of connection and joy.

For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu. 

Online Event! “Up the Winding Path: My Artistic Journey with Albrecht Roser, An Interview with Sarah Frechette” on 5/11 at 8 p.m.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host Up the Winding Path: My Artistic Journey with Albrecht Roser, An Interview with Sarah Frechette, on Monday, May 11 at 8 p.m. EST. This conversation and video screening will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on the Ballard Institute Facebook page and YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 

Alien slugs, dancing grandpas, and mystical beings populate ​UConn Puppet Arts alumna Sarah Frechette’s universe​, telling personal and multifarious stories through the art of string puppetry. Sarah developed her independent artistic language in numerous international summer academies, master classes, and invited studies with Master Puppeteer Albrecht Roser. As part of the interview Sarah will discuss her time in Roser’s studio in the village of Buoch, Germany; and share a section of her marionette vignettes filmed by cinematographer Oliver Lukacs. Joining the interview will be Professor Bart P. Roccoberton Jr., the Director of UConn’s Puppet Arts Program and the connective link that led Sarah to Albrecht Roser, changing her puppetry trajectory.

Sarah Frechette splits her time between Vermont, Europe, and Portland, Oregon as a touring puppeteer, arts educator, and stop-motion animation costumer. She is co-founder of the artist collective Night Shade Shadow Theater, producing the rod puppet film project The Spooky Girls, and has designed a new paper arts piece called Dirty Gerts for her family-focused company Puppetkabob. Sarah mentored with Master Puppeteer Albrecht Roser, absorbing his theories on zen and the art of puppetry from 2002-2009. Sarah has performed with her Roser-style marionettes as part of Meisterklasse; “Von damals bis heute” a shared presentation with artist Robin Walsh and Ingrid Höfer; and in 2017 was honored to perform with Roser’s “Bad Boy” Marionette in Die Kunst Albrecht Roser, a final celebration in his Buoch, Germany studio.

For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu. 

Online Event! UConn Puppet Arts Spring 2020 Final Presentations on 5/7 and 5/8 at 7 p.m.

The UConn Puppet Arts Program and Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host the end-of-semester presentation of UConn Puppet Arts undergraduate and graduate class finals on Thursday, May 7 and Friday, May 8 at 7 p.m. EST. These presentations will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/). Talkbacks led by famed puppeteer Blair Thomas will also take place each night. 

On Thursday, May 7, final presentations and performances and talkbacks for Marionette Fabrication; Movement for Puppet Performance; and Puppetry and Modernism will take place via Facebook Live. Students in the Marionette Fabrication class will present performance figures that they have designed, patterned, assembled, and strung. Movement for Puppet Performance students will each present short pieces showing how movement and breath tell a story. Students in Puppetry and Modernism will present brief “pecha kucha” distillations of their final research projects. Anticipated runtime for the evening is 2.5 hours.
On Friday, May 8, join the students of Dr. Matthew Cohen’s Hand Puppetry class for an evening of hand puppet shows based on Connecticut history, legends, and personages. Plays include stories about Coventry-based gardener and author Adelma Grenier Simmons, Easton-based activist and journalist Ida Tarbell, the Glawackus monster of Glastonbury, the wandering Leatherman, and the legend of New Milford’s Lovers Leap. Anticipated runtime for the evening is 3.25 hours.

Blair Thomas, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Puppet Festival, will join us both evenings as a Responder to the students’ work.

Blair is an internationally recognized puppet artist who co-founded Red Moon Theater in Chicago in 1990. In 2002 he created his own solo company, Blair Thomas & Co., which has garnered outstanding critiques and responses from puppet festivals around the world. blairthomas.org

For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu. 

Online Event! “The Making of Puppets Helping Pets: Abby Bosley’s MFA Project” on 5/6 at 7 p.m.

The UConn Puppet Arts Program and Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry present an online live presentation titled The Making of Puppets Helping Pets: Abby Bosley’s MFA Project, with UConn Puppet Arts graduate student Abby Bosley on Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. EST via Facebook Live on the Ballard Institute page (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/). A recording of the event will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). Viewers are encouraged to watch the first episode of Puppets Helping Pets before the live behind-the-scenes discussion. The first episode is available on YouTube at: youtu.be/7-U_EOMIfMg

Join UConn Puppet Arts Program third-year graduate student Abby Bosley as she explains the process of bringing her MFA project, Puppets Helping Pets, to life. Puppets Helping Pets is a social media service project that includes two “pup-pet” characters, Cleo and Wendy, who want to share ways to help shelter animals, and other pet-related information with humans. Abby will answer questions and share how the idea evolved, how the puppets were fabricated, and how she created a video with them. For more information on Puppets Helping Pets, visit puppetshelpingpets.carrd.co and watch the first episode before the live discussion on Youtube at youtu.be/7-U_EOMIfMg.

See even more behind-the-scenes content by following Puppets Helping Pets on Facebook (@PuppetsHelpingPets), Twitter (@PuppetsHelpPets), and Instagram (@PuppetsHelpingPets). 

Abby Bosley is a student in the UConn Puppet Arts Program graduating with her MFA in spring 2020. She received her BA in Integrative Arts at Penn State University. There she completed her solo honors thesis show, Abby Bosley’s All Day Happy Hour. During her time at Penn State she combined her love of art and sculpture with her love of theatrical makeup. At UConn Abby dove into bringing her style to the world of puppetry, eventually creating Puppets Helping Pets as her MFA final project. She designed this puppet service project to help shelter pets by raising awareness through informational and entertaining social media videos. In addition, while at UConn, Abby has helped out with many projects, including fabricating and performing in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s She Kills Monsters, and fabricating for Matthew Sorensen’s The Legend of the Snow Queen. While at UConn, she also worked at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry as a tour guide, workshop leader, and museum assistant. Abby loves her pets and is passionate about helping rescue pets in any way possible. More of her work can be seen on AbbyBosley.com.

For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu.

Online Event! “Nicotiana: A Shadow Puppet Play with Crankies” by Rumput, featuring Balinese puppeteer I Gusti Putu Sudarta on 4/29 at 8 p.m.

The UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, UConn Puppet Arts Program, and Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry present a talkback about Nicotiana: A Shadow Puppet Play with Crankies by Rumput, featuring Balinese puppeteer I Gusti Putu Sudarta. The talkback will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) on April 29 at 8 p.m. EST. The talkback will also take place in Indonesian on April 29 at 9 a.m. EST (9 p.m. Central Indonesia Time, 8 p.m. Western Indonesia Time) on Facebook Live. Both versions of the talkback will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). Viewers are invited to watch in advance the recording of Nicotiana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZLU7D-8cPA&fbclid=IwAR0OPS_MyMMWAfcrQ7uNf3nc9C227MsghUIwzzMQhWih22Aohdrpe8MJBk4).

This talkback, moderated by Professor Matthew Isaac Cohen (University of Connecticut), is a discussion of the creative process of the co-creators of the music-theater production Nicotiana: Dr. Andy McGraw (University of Richmond) and Dr. I Gusti Putu Sudarta (Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Denpasar). This intercultural collaboration between shadow master Gusti Sudarta from Bali, Indonesia and the string-band group Rumput from Richmond, Virginia involves traditional arts from Indonesia—specifically wayang kulit (shadow puppet theater) and keroncong music—mixed with crankies, or moving panoramas, and old-time string band music. This production focuses on the history of the global tobacco industry, with an emphasis on Virginia and western Indonesia. While the east coast U.S. tour of Nicotiana was cancelled due to Covid-19, the ensemble recorded the work before it disbanded and self-quarantined. The talkback will address the collaborative process, the work’s main messages regarding tobacco, and future bi-national collaborative projects. Viewers are invited to watch in advance the recording of Nicotiana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZLU7D-8cPA&fbclid=IwAR0OPS_MyMMWAfcrQ7uNf3nc9C227MsghUIwzzMQhWih22Aohdrpe8MJBk4). The music ensemble Rumput plays keroncong (a string-band tradition from Indonesia) and explores parallel threads with other traditions, especially old-time string-band music of the United States and British Isles, and Indonesian gamelan. The company produces multimedia performances involving traditional and original music paired with shadow theater comprising elements of American and Indonesian traditions: crankies (scrolling panoramas) and wayang (shadow puppets). Rumput has performed internationally, including tours and residencies in Java in 2017 and 2018, performing with local artists at each stop, and collaborating with Indonesian master artists including Danis Sugiyanto, Peni Candrarini, Endah Laras, Ubiet Raseuki, and Gusti Sudarta.

Dalang (shadow master) I Gusti Putu Sudarta Ph.D., was born into a family of artists in Bedulu (Bali, Indonesia), and has been performing music, dance, and shadow theater since he was six years old. He is a permanent faculty member in the puppetry department at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Denpasar (Bali) and holds a master’s and Ph.D. in theater from the National Institute of Arts in Solo, Java. He regularly performs various forms of traditional Balinese music, mask dance, and wayang kulit (shadow puppet theater) in ceremonial contexts and has taken part in several international tours and inter-cultural experimental music and theater productions.

This talkback is sponsored by the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, in collaboration with the UConn Puppet Arts Program and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.