Featured

“Bugsy and Friends” by Pumpernickel Puppets on 10/30 at 2 p.m.

As part of its 2021 Fall Saturday Puppet Show Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will present Bugsy and Friends by John McDonough’s Pumpernickel Puppets of Worcester, Massachusetts on Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. ET in Betsy Paterson Square. This show will be socially distanced and follow Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines. In the event of inclement weather, the show will be performed on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. ET. A suggested donation of $12 per household is encouraged. This performance is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. We invite the audience to attend in their Halloween costumes and stick around for Trick-or-Treat in Downtown Storrs from 3-5 p.m.

Join Bugsy and his puppet friends for a musical variety show featuring hand, string, and life-size puppets. A puppet-making demonstration is included during the performance. This fun and interactive show is appropriate for children of all ages. 

For nearly forty years the Pumpernickel Puppets have captivated audiences of all ages with humorous and colorful adaptations of classic folk and fairy tales. Worcester-based puppeteer John McDonough and his puppets present over two hundred fifty shows a year at schools, libraries and private parties throughout the New England area.

This outdoor performance will take place in Betsy Paterson Square; reservations are not required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Seating space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To comply with UConn safety guidelines, masks are required at all times for all attendees and staff ages two and up. For safety, six feet of space will be required between seated family groups. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of the seating area. 

We invite all attendees to come in their Halloween costumes to parade around Betsy Paterson Square after the show! Stick around for Trick-or-Treat in Downtown Storrs from 3-5 p.m. For safety during the event, the following roads will be closed from 2-5:30 p.m.: Dog Lane, Royce Circle, Bolton Road Extension, Wilbur Cross Way, and West Access Road. There will be no parking on these roads from 12-6 p.m. The Downtown Storrs Parking Garage will be open as normal during this event. To access the garage, please follow Charles Smith Way to Wilbur Cross Way then Elsie Marsh Way to Royce Circle. Learn more about Trick-or-Treat in Downtown Storrs: www.downtownstorrs.org/halloween

For more information, or if you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

2021 UConn Fall Puppet Slam: Online! on 10/22 at 8 p.m.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and the UConn Puppet Arts Program will present an online version of its popular UConn Fall Puppet Slam on October 22, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET on the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/). The 2021 UConn Fall Puppet Slam: Online!, hosted by UConn Puppet Arts student Stoph Scheer and Kunzika, will feature short works by professional puppeteers and performers from around the United States and across the world and new works by UConn Puppet Arts students.

The 2021 UConn Fall Puppet Slam: Online! will showcase the work of Thai pantomime and artist TaLent Show; Puerto Rican puppeteer Brenda Plumey; Boston-based quintet Firepit Coven; Linda Wingerter of The Stringpullers Puppet Company; independent artist Sandi Green Baker of Missouri; Hawaii-based artist Bonnie Kim; Kenyan puppeteer Fedelis Kyalo; puppeteer team Norah Solorzano and Alex Young, and recent UConn Puppet Arts graduate Felicia Cooper. 

The UConn Fall Puppet Slam will also feature fascinating new works by UConn graduate and undergraduate students from the UConn Puppet Arts Program. Funding for the UConn Fall Puppet Slam: Online! is made possible in part by the Puppet Slam Network.

The UConn Fall Puppet Slam is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. These performances are recommended for mature audiences. The UConn Fall Puppet Slam will be available through November 30, 2021 on the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry Facebook page (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and the Ballard Institute YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 

For more information about these performances, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860-486-8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

“Exhibiting Racism in Museums” Online Puppet Forum with William F. Condee and Schroeder Cherry on 10/14 at 7 p.m. ET

For its second installment of the 2021 Fall Puppet Forum Series, and in conjunction with the Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning exhibition, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host “Exhibiting Racism in Museums” with professor William F. Condee and puppeteer and museum educator Schroeder Cherry on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Zoom (registration required: us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MY1VOc-gQoOzaXYOTgGWvw) and Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 

The exhibition Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry (closing October 30) raises important questions about displaying objects that are explicitly or implicitly racist. Is it right to give such objects a place in a museum? How to contextualize and introduce the objects and generate productive and meaningful conversations based on the exhibition? Addressing these questions are Dr. William F. Condee, who is writing about puppets representing minorities and foreigners at five major collections in Germany, and Dr. Schroeder Cherry, a puppeteer and a curator at James E. Lewis Museum of Arts who has extensive experience discussing racism in museum contexts with exhibition visitors. This forum will be an opportunity to think through ethics and methods of curating racist objects and how to broaden perspectives on the roles of museums in relation to anti-racism. This forum is co-sponsored by the UConn Human Rights Institute. 

Originally  from Washington, D.C., Schroeder Cherry, Ed.D. is now a Maryland-based artist and 2019 Sondheim competition finalist who captures everyday scenes of African diaspora life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and puppetry from The University of Michigan; a master’s degree in museum education from George Washington University; and a doctorate in museum education from Columbia University. His works are found in private and public collections across the US. In 2020 He was awarded the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize for research in Bahia, Brazil.  In 2021 he received an Individual Artist Award from Maryland State Arts Council. Cherry’s museum career spans more than thirty years, with positions held at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C.; Studio Museum in Harlem; J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu; The Baltimore Museum of Art; and Maryland Historical Society. He served eight years at The Institute of Museum and Library Services, first as Deputy Director for Museums, and later as Counselor to the Director. He was recently appointed Curator at James E. Lewis Museum, Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. William Condee (J. Richard Hamilton Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Ohio University) is the author of Coal and Culture: The Opera House in Appalachia (Ohio, 2005) and Theatrical Space: A Guide for Directors and Designers (Scarecrow, 1995). His articles on Southeast Asian puppetry have been published in Puppetry International, Studies in Theatre and Performance and Asian Journal of University Education. Articles on other subjects have appeared in Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, and Theatre Annual. He has co-authored work (with Thomas Irmer) on German theater in A History of German Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Theatre Journal. His most recent work on Nonmaterial Performance has appeared in Imagined Theatres andTDR: The Drama Review, co-authored with Barry Rountree. Condee was the Kohei Miura Visiting Professor at Chubu, Japan; a Fulbright Senior Specialist at University of Leipzig and University of Malaya; and has lectured at universities including East China Normal, Tsinghua, Nanjing, Dankook, and Hindu Dharma Institute (Bali).

For more information and to learn about other Ballard Institute online programming, visit bimp.uconn.edu or email bimp@uconn.edu.

“Fox Fables” by WonderSpark Puppets on 8/7 at 11 a.m. in Betsy Paterson Square

As part of its Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present Fox Fables by New York City-based WonderSpark Puppets on Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. ET in Betsy Paterson Square. This show will be socially distanced and follow Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines. In the event of inclement weather for outdoor performances, the show will be rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 8 at 11 a.m. ET. For this outdoor performance, seating is first come, first seated. Reservations are not required. Due to generous support during our 2021 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free, but donations are encouraged. This performance is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. 
What makes you–YOU? Fox Fables is a combination of several Aesop’s Fables, inspired by the works of the 12th century storyteller Rabbi Berechiah ha-Nakdan. The story is about a fox who loses his precious tail and with it his identity. He tries to be several other animals instead–with hilarious results–before realizing the moral lesson of this ancient fable. Themes in this tale include self-worth, anti-bullying, test taking, and the five senses. Theater Review NYC stated, “This sweet little adventure, a mix of ancient fables, is wonderfully performed … and is not without its lessons in self-worth and anti-bullying.”
Fox Fables was selected for the first International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC and the Siam Paragon World Fascinating Puppets Festival in Thailand. Since its world premiere, Fox Fables has become a staple of Jewish family programming throughout the NYC area in chabads, shuls, JCCs and theaters.
WonderSpark Puppets is a New York City-based puppet theater company led by Chad Williams and Z Briggs. The company’s mission is to spread joy, spark imagination and share laughter through high quality puppet performances. They have partnered with brands like Bed Bath & Beyond, CAMP, NYC Public Schools and the New York Public Library. They have toured internationally, bringing original productions and puppetry workshops to festivals in Thailand and Taiwan.
This outdoor performance will take place in Betsy Paterson Square, reservations will not be required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Seating space will be first come, first served. To comply with UConn safety guidelines, masks are required for all attendees and staff ages two and up at all times. For safety, six feet of space will be required between seated family groups. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of the seating area. Please note that public restrooms are not available.
For more information, or if you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

2021 Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is proud to announce the return of its Summertime Saturday Puppet Show Series with a mix of virtual and outdoor performances at 11 a.m. ET on five consecutive Saturdays from July 10 through Aug. 7, 2021. To encourage safety of and accessibility to our audiences, some shows will be performed onsite in Betsy Paterson Square, while others will be performed live virtually via Zoom. The outdoors shows will be socially distanced and follow Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines. In the event of inclement weather for outdoor performances, the show will be rescheduled for the following Sunday. All performances this summer will be free admission, donations greatly appreciated. Reservations are required for the virtual performances, but not for the outdoor shows. Outdoor performances are co-sponsored by the Mansfield Downtown Partnership.

The schedule of Summertime Saturday Puppet Shows includes the following:

July 10: Judy Saves the Day by Sarah Nolen, Puppet Showplace Theater
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: July 11 at 11 a.m. ET
After being pushed around for over 400 years, the famous hand-puppet heroine Judy has had enough! Cheer her on as she goes on a quest for respect, justice, and a well-deserved nap. Puppeteer Sarah Nolen delivers an astonishing one-woman performance in this modern feminist interpretation of the traditional Punch and Judy puppet show. Audiences young and old will laugh, cry, yell, and gasp in response to this highly-interactive, hilarious, hand-crafted farce. 

July 17: Anansi: Story-teller by String Theory Theater
Virtually via Zoom
Reserve a free household ticket at bimp.ticketleap.com
String Theory Theater presents a fresh take on the famous trickster spider from West Africa folk tales. Anansi is charged with weaving together all of the stories of life on earth and relaying the stories to the sky gods. Daunted by what seems like a never-ending task, Anansi seeks to simplify his effort with an innovative solution, which leads to unexpected results.

July 24: Our Magnificent Monster Circus by CactusHead Puppets
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: July 25 at 11 a.m. ET
Come one, come all, to a circus like no other! Encounter magnificent creatures from the wilds of your imagination as their quirky human caretaker tries to teach them new tricks. Kids can lend a hand to Eustice the Unicycling Unimonster, make friends with a Fiery Fanged Worm, cheer for Agnes the many-legged Acropod, and more! This colorful, silly, interactive show full of friendly monsters is a perfect match for young audiences.

July 31: ScreenPLAY!: Journey into Space by The Gottabees
Virtually via Zoom
Reserve a free household ticket at bimp.ticketleap.com
Hang onto your astronaut helmet as you blast off into outer space with Bonnie as your captain. While our rocket ship may be cozy, it does tend to veer off course where meteors and aliens come smashing into view.   

Aug. 7: Fox Fables by WonderSpark Puppets
Outdoor performance in Betsy Paterson Square
No reservation required (first come, first seated)
Rain date: Aug. 8 at 11 a.m. ET
What makes you – YOU? Fox Fables is a combination of several Aesop’s Fables, inspired by the works of the 12th century storyteller Rabbi Berechiah ha-Nakdan. The story is about a fox who loses his precious tail and with it his identity. He tries to be several other animals instead – with hilarious results – before realizing the moral lesson of this ancient fable. Themes in this tale include self-worth, anti-bullying, test taking, and the five senses.

Due to generous support during our 2021 UConn Gives campaign, admission is free to all shows, but donations are encouraged.

For virtual performances via Zoom, a household reservation must be made in advance due to limited availability. Reservations can be made by visiting bimp.ticketleap.com. A link to the Zoom event will be emailed to registrants an hour before the performance. 

For the outdoor performances taking place in Betsy Paterson Square, reservations will not be required. Chairs will not be provided, so groups are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Seating space will be first come, first served. To comply with Town of Mansfield and UConn safety guidelines, masks are required for all attendees and staff ages two and up at all times. For safety, six feet of space will be required between seated family groups. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of the seating area. Please note that public restrooms are not available. 

For more information, or if you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

Grand Opening of “Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning on 5/28 at 5 p.m.!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present the grand opening of its new exhibition Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning, curated by Dr. Jungmin Song, along with the re-opening of a redesigned World of Puppetry: From the Collections of the Ballard Institute exhibition, on Friday, May 28, 2021, by reservation only at the Ballard Institute, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. A virtual tour will air on Ballard Institute Facebook Live on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 5 p.m. ET. The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 17, 2021.

Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning aims to foster conversation and understanding about the complexities of race, prejudice, stereotypes, and systemic racism by presenting puppets from around the world. The exhibition examines fantasies of the East and misrepresentations of African Americans used in puppetry in relation to social and cultural constructions of race, and asks how fabricated differences affect the actual lives of people. Historical puppets from the Ballard Institute’s collections are juxtaposed with work by contemporary artists such as Kara Walker, Alva Rogers, Michael Richardson, Kimi Maeda, Akbar Imhotep, and Garland Farwell. Puppets from Asia representing different races and ethnicities offer viewers an understanding of race and racism in wider global contexts. Exhibiting puppets from the past in the here-and-now of Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning provides an opportunity to learn from past misrepresentations, consider the extent to which such negative images remain in circulation, contribute to the fight against systemic racism, and discuss possibilities for a more inclusive future. This exhibition is supported in part by a UConn School of Fine Arts Anti-Racism Grant.

Dr. Jungmin Song completed a practice-as-research PhD titled Animating Everyday Objects in Performance at the University of Roehampton in 2014. Her writings have appeared in Performance Research, Artpress 2, Asian Theatre Journal, and Contemporary Theatre Review. In 2017 she edited a special issue of Puppet Notebook on Shakespeare and puppets and was a researcher in residence at the Institut International de la Marionnette (IIM) in Charleville-Mézières, France to lay the ground for a book on Shakespeare and puppetry. As a puppet maker she has participated in numerous projects, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Little Angel Theatre’s co-production of Venus and Adonis (2004).  She has taught in the fields of theater and fine arts at the University of Roehampton, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Kent. 

Due to restrictions and safety precautions related to COVID-19, the museum will reopen on May 28 on Fridays and Saturdays only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by reservation. Only one group of up to 6 visitors from a family or quarantine unit will be allowed in the museum at a time during each time slot. Face masks are required at all times when visiting the museum for ages two and up. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the museum and staff clean high-touch surfaces once per hour. Please note that restrooms and water fountains are closed to the public. To learn more about the Ballard Institute’s COVID-19 protocols and to reserve a time slot, visit: bimp.uconn.edu/about/covid-policies/. Visitors may also reserve a time slot by calling 860.486.8580 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Spring 2021 UConn Puppet Arts Program Final Presentations, 5/6 and 5/7

The UConn Puppet Arts Program and Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will host end-of-semester presentations of UConn Puppet Arts undergraduate and graduate work on Thursday, May 6 and Friday, May 7.  Presentations will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 6 and at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, May 7.  These presentations will take place on Ballard Institute Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on the Ballard Institute Facebook page and YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). The performances are recommended for mature audiences.
On Thursday, May 6, Mask Fabrication students instructed by Professor Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr. will present a portfolio exhibition of plaster face casts they made of themselves, papier måché portrait mask, worbla exaggerated portrait masks and leather Domino and Commedia masks. The Thursday performance will also feature work by Professor Nehprii Amenii’s Directing for the Puppet Theater class, which developed students’ imagination and instincts through experimentations with language and form, helping connect students to their authentic voice, generate work from their inner world, and expand their understanding of “the puppet” beyond conventional character. Professor Amenii’s students will be presenting original works reflecting some of their discoveries along the way. 
On Friday, May 7, final presentations and performances for History of World Puppetry, Toy Theatre, and Puppetry in Television will take place via Facebook Live. Presentations from the History of World Puppetry, taught by Professor John Bell, will examine puppetry in education and the influence of Japanese bunraku theater on U.S. puppetry. Students of Professor Matthew Cohen’s Toy Theatre class will present original performances using figures, sets, and staging constructed from paper and cardboard. Professor Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr.’s Puppetry in Television class will demonstrate camera techniques developed with guest artist Martin P. Robinson, and offer a lip-sync song (composed by Puppet Arts graduate student Yanniv Frank) performed by foam moving-mouth puppets.
For more information, please contact Ballard Institute staff at bimp@uconn.edu. 

“Access to Puppetry for Native, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” Forum with Chamindika Wanduragala on 5/13 at 7 p.m. ET

For its final online installment of the 2021 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host “Access to Puppetry for Native, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” with Chamindika Wanduragala on Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 
Puppetry in the United States has often not been able to reach out to wider communities of performers and audiences, especially in terms of training new puppeteers. But Chamindika Wanduragala, a Sri Lankan American puppeteer, filmmaker, and DJ, has created and directs Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to support Native, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color puppeteers to develop the creative and technical means to tell new stories through puppetry. Join us for this fascinating discussion with Wanduragala about Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop, how it creates access to puppetry, and its processes for doing so. This forum is co-sponsored by the UConn Asian American Cultural Center.
Chamindika Wanduragala is a Sri Lankan American puppet artist/stop motion filmmaker with a visual arts background, and a DJ (DJ Chamun). She loves transporting people to another world through puppetry and music. Chamindika is the founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop, which supports Native, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in developing creative and technical skills in contemporary puppetry.  Chamindika’s work has been supported by the Henson Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Minnesota State Arts Board; and her last puppet theater production was presented by Pillsbury House Theatre. You can see her work (and hear some playlists!) at chamindika.com.
For more information and to learn about other online programming, visit bimp.uconn.edu or email bimp@uconn.edu. 

“The Perils of Mr. Punch” by Modern Times Theater on 4/24 at 4 p.m. ET

As part of its 2021 Spring virtual programming, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is pleased to present The Perils of Mr. Punch by Modern Times Theater on April 24, 2021 at 4 p.m. ET via Zoom.
The Perils of Mr. Punch features the one and only Punch and Judy, presented live, and updated for the 21st century. Allow Mr. Punch to deftly remove your bad mood, whilst he exhausts your child! Gawk as Judy struggles to balance a checkbook before being eaten by the carnivore du jour! Feast your eyes upon the diaper change that should not be! It’s a melodrama of epically small proportions but so funny that audiences forget they aren’t in the room. The hand puppets are created from up-cycled designer trash and performed in an eccentric itinerant puppet stage. The show is hosted per tradition by a “bottler”, the uku-lady Rose Friedman. Justin Lander, showman of the absurd, portrays all the characters. The program is rounded out with live music played on a variety of instruments, from the cornet to the bicycle pump. It’s a low-tech old-time spectacle, entertaining to people of all ages: from one to one hundred. This performance lasts approximately 45 minutes and will include time for questions and answers with Modern Times Theater after the show. 
Modern Times Theater has been adapting and updating Punch and Judy puppet shows for over a decade.  Co-founders Rose Friedman and Justin Lander are a husband and wife duo, producers for Vermont Vaudeville and alumni of the Bread and Puppet Theater. Parents themselves, they strive to present quality entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.
Ticket price: $10/household. Tickets can be purchased online at https://bimp.ticketleap.com/punch-virtual/. A surcharge will be added to online purchases. Attendees should purchase one ticket per household. While we ask for a minimum payment of $10/household, we greatly appreciate any additional support! A Zoom link will be emailed to households one hour before the performance. 
For more information about these performances or if you require an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860-486-8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.

“Puppetry, Game Design, and Digital Performance” Forum with Eddie Kim, Samantha Olschan, and Kenneth Thompson on 4/22 at 7 p.m. ET

For its fourth online installment of the 2021 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host “Puppetry, Game Design, and Digital Performance” with Eddie Kim of EK Theater and UConn Digital and Media Design faculty Samantha Olschan and Kenneth Thompson, on Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Facebook Live (facebook.com/BallardInstitute/) and will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute YouTube Channel (youtube.com/channel/UC3VSthEDnYS6ZjOwzT1DnTg). 
Innovations in digital culture, including motion capture technology and the use of avatars in video games have sometimes been labeled “digital puppetry”; but what exactly are the overlaps and differences between puppetry’s analog objects in motion and their cyber cousins in the digital world? This exciting puppet forum will examine these important connections by considering Eddie Kim’s retellings of classical stories through live acts of video game puppetry; Samantha Olschan’s storytelling projects combining animation, design, and experiential narrative; and video game designer Kenneth Thompson’s work pushing the boundaries of gameplay experience. This forum is co-sponsored by UConn’s Digital Media and Design Department.
Eddie Kim is a multimedia artist and the artistic director of EK Theater (ektheater.com), a video game puppetry troupe that he founded in 2007. The company’s mission is to retell classical stories through live acts of video game puppetry. His plays have been performed at venues such as the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA; the NRG Center in Houston, TX; and the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The New York Times has called his work “an impressive feat of engineering, coordination and storytelling.”
Samantha Olschan is a transmedia artist with a M.F.A. in Film, Video, and New Media: Animation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A in Fine Arts: Electronic & Time-Based Media from Carnegie Mellon University. Having worked across broadcast design, animation, compositing and time-based visualization for television, films, documentaries and media agencies, she continues to research the future of storytelling through animation, design and experiential narrative.
Kenneth Thompson worked in the game industry for eight years as a Game Designer and Lead Designer before coming to the University of Connecticut. His responsibilities included directing game projects from start to finish, programming unique scenarios using game development tools, and working with publishers such as SEGA, Electronic Arts, and Activision. He has worked with Blockbuster franchises such as Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Madagascar, Shrek, and over a dozen others. His work in the video game industry has received Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Award for best video game, Indie Game of the Year, and Innovation Awards from industry publications. He works with students on creating engaging gameplay experiences and pushing the boundaries of play.
For more information and to learn about other online programming, email bimp@uconn.edu.