Uncategorized

Hecho en Puerto Rico: Four Generations of Puerto Rican Puppetry

On display through May 7, 2022

This exhibition is co-sponsored by the UConn Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC) and El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.

Hecho en Puerto Rico invites the spectator to discover over fifty years of puppet productivity, by four distinct generations of builders and performers in and from Puerto Rico. Although puppetry first appeared on the island of Puerto Rico in the 19th century, this exhibit is divided into four periods of creation from the 1960s to current times, demonstrating a shift in focus from purely educational content, to culturally and politically relevant themes, to a focus on adult audiences, and now into the current generation of emerging puppeteers. A young but thriving puppet movement, despite economic and political turmoil as well as natural disasters, Puerto Rican puppetry continues to evolve and grow.  

The exhibition highlights the work of such puppeteers and companies as Agua, Sol y Sereno; Brenda Plumey; Daniel y sus Muñecos; Deborah Hunt; Edward Cardenales; El Mundo de los Muñecos; José López; Luis Villafañe; Mario Donate; Mary Anne Hopgood; Papel Machete; Poncili Creación; Pura Belpré; Santin y sus Muñecos; Teatro SEA and Manuel Morán; Tere Marichal; Vueltabajo Teatro; and Y No Había Luz.

Deborah Hunt has lived and worked as a mask maker, mask and object theatre performance artist since 1973, creating and presenting original theatre works, performances and festivals or encounters in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Born and raised in Aotearoa New Zealand, she has been based in Borikén/Puerto Rico since 1990, where she founded Maskhunt Motions, a nomadic laboratory for experimental object theatre work. Hunt teaches mask work and puppetry in communities worldwide, in a practice exploring puppetry in public and private spaces. Her work ranges in scale from the miniature to creating giant puppets that transform into peepshows. She has created encounters and festivals to promote puppetry for adult audiences and published mask and puppetry manuals in Spanish and English. She is interested in performing in unconventional places and to very intimate audiences. Hunt characterizes her work as “theatre of the useless.” 

Dr. Manuel Morán (www.manuelmoran.com) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and studied at the University of Puerto Rico and New York University, where he earned a doctorate degree in Educational Theater. He is the Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Society of the Educational Arts, Inc. (www.teatrosea.org). A writer, director, and producer for theater, television, and film, he is also an actor, singer and composer, and created the International Puppet Fringe Festival of NYC in 2018. He is a former Vice-President (2012-2021) of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette). His three-part documentary film Títeres en el Caribe Hispano/Puppetry in the Caribbean premiered at the Havana Film Festival in Cuba in 2016 and has been screened in festivals around the world. Dr. Morán’s theater and literary work has been published in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States, including his books Migrant Theater for Children: A Caribbean in New York (2016), and Mantequilla/Butter; Adventures and Tribulations of a Puerto Rican Boy (2017). He is currently starring in the web series El Avión The Airplane (www.elaviontheairplane.com), and is the proud dad of Manuel Gabriel, with whom he lives in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

 

Summer Online Puppet Forum #10: “Present at the Creation: the Notion of ‘Performing Objects’,” with Frank Proschan on 8/6

Join the Ballard Institute for our tenth Summer 2020 Online Puppet Forum Series event on Facebook Live! These forums, hosted by Ballard Institute director and puppet historian John Bell, will consist of discussions with notable scholars and practitioners around the world about the past, present, and future of puppetry and puppetry studies.  

On August 6 at 4 p.m. ET, join Ballard Institute director John Bell in a discussion with anthropologist Frank Proschan, editor of the ground-breaking 1983 issue of Semiotica, devoted to “puppets, masks, and performing objects”–the first time these forms received a cohesive scholarly analysis. They will discuss the legacy of this initial study of performing objects, as well as Dr. Proschan’s work as an ethnologist and folklorist in Southeast Asia, and his work helping implement UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage programs across the globe. 

Frank Proschan is an anthropologist and folklorist who has worked as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution and a research professor at Indiana University. In 1983 he edited a special issue of Semiotica titled “Puppets, Masks, and Performing Objects from Semiotic Perspectives,” the first scholarly study of puppetry and object performance, which included essays by semioticians, puppet historians, anthropologists, and linguists. He has worked for decades with colleagues in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia in collaborative research on languages, folklore, and ethnology, as well as conducting capacity building for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and for museum development. In 2006, he took up a position at UNESCO, assisting in the global implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage until his retirement in 2015. In 2019-20, Proschan was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University of Hanoi. 

Forums will be available afterwards on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

“Raccoon Tales” performed by Brad Shur on 2/29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

As part of its 2020 Spring Puppet Performance Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is pleased to present Paul Vincent Davis’s Raccoon Tales, performed by Brad Shur of Paper Heart Puppets on Feb. 29, 2020 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. This performance will take place in conjunction with the grand opening of two new exhibits, Paul Vincent Davis and the Art of Puppet Theater and Shakespeare and Puppetry, on Feb. 29, 2020 at noon. 

The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other. Will they learn their lessons? This hand-puppet show includes three humorous tales inspired by the Native American stories of the Seneca Tribe: How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick Each Other; Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn’t; and Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail. This show is 45 minutes long and is recommended for ages 4+. 

Brad Shur is the founder and lead performer for Paper Heart Puppets, based in Poughkeepsie, NY. From 2009-2017, he served as the Resident Artist at Puppet Showplace Theater where he created many of his own shows and studied with Master Puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis. Brad is proud to have the opportunity to help keep his mentor’s work alive by performing Paul’s show, Raccoon Tales, on Feb. 29. 

On Feb. 29 at noon the Ballard Institute will open two new exhibits, including an exhibit of Paul Vincent Davis’s work titled Paul Vincent Davis and the Art of Puppet Theater. There will be free refreshments at noon and a tour at 12:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Adults: $12; Members/Seniors: $10; Students: $8; Kids: $6 (12 years and under).

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, by calling 860-486-8580, or online at bimp.ticketleap.com/raccoon-tales/. A surcharge will be added to any purchases made online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the day of performance starting at 10 a.m. There will be open seating and no reservations. Visitors can park in the Storrs Center Garage located at 33 Royce Circle. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1 per hour thereafter, with a daily maximum charge of $8. 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.

Main Galleries Closed 10/10-10/18 (Museum Still Open!)

From October 10-18, 2017, Ballard Institute staff will be deinstalling our current exhibition Obstreperous Puppets and installing our new exhibition Mascots! Mask Performance in the 21st Century.  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 Mascots! on October 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Ballard Institute. The opening events will include refreshments and a free tour by Ballard Institute staff.

“The Perils of Mr. Punch” by Modern Times Theater on 10/14 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

As part of its Fall Puppet Performance Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will present The Perils of Mr. Punch by Vermont’s Modern Times Theater on October 14, 2017 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

The Perils of Mr. Punch follows the troubles and travails of puppetry’s favorite loudmouth, Mr. Punch. This is hand puppetry at its best, in a style that has entertained children for centuries. The program includes a two-person orchestra, specializing in early jazz music and American folk songs played on the cornet, ukulele, upright bass, and bicycle pump. It addition to the puppet show and live music, the program also features classic jokes and gags and audience participation. The performance is appropriate for children of all ages.

Modern Times Theater is a classic comedy theater and puppetry duo. Mastering the thoroughly modern mediums of pantomime, puppetry and novelty music, husband and wife performers Justin Lander and Rose Friedman delight crowds with a fresh take on the entertainment styles of the past. Parents themselves, Friedman and Lander strive to present high quality entertainment for the whole family. They also produce and perform in Vermont Vaudeville, a highly acclaimed, full-scale professional variety show.

Ticket Prices: Adults: $12; Members/Seniors $10; Students: $8; Kids: $6 (12 years and under)

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, by calling 860-486-8580, or online at bimp.ticketleap.com. A surcharge will be added to any purchases made online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the day of performance starting at 10 a.m. There will be open seating and no reservations. Visitors can park in the Storrs Center Garage located at 33 Royce Circle. Parking in the Storrs Center Garage is free for the first two hours and $1 per hour thereafter, with a daily maximum charge of $8. For more information about these performances, visit bimp.uconn.edu or call 860-486-8580.

“Word Play” by Good Hearted Entertainment on 3/25 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

As part of its Spring Puppet Performance Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present Word Play by Good Hearted Entertainment. Performances will take place on March 25, 2017 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

Word Play uses clowning and puppetry to take audiences on an adventure through the alphabet. Words come to life in the hands of two skilled performers, who clown around with sounds and colorful puppet letters to create dozens of dynamic, interactive characters and imaginative scenes. Audiences can make friends with vowels, teach tricks to a “C-A-T” and “D-O-G,” and visit a Word Zoo full of surprises. It’s the perfect blend of education and entertainment — a play on words, literally!

Good Hearted Entertainment creates performances that combine puppetry and clowning to educate and delight young audiences and the young at heart. The company was founded by Honey Goodenough, who has a master’s degree in educational theater from NYU. Honey has over 10 years of experience creating literacy-based puppetry programs for NYC public schools and for specialized learning institutions for children with learning challenges and varying abilities. Word Play is inspired by Honey’s experience learning to manage her own dyslexia and literacy challenges. The show combines her experiences as a touring puppeteer, educator, clown, magician, and children’s entertainer to bring words to life in new and exciting ways. Paired with the performance talents of fellow educator, Harry LaCoste, and musical composition of Paul Watkins, Good Hearted Entertainment works to inspire and ignite a love of creative learning. This 45-minute show is recommended for ages three and older. This program was developed with support from Puppet Showplace Theater’s Incubator Program.

Ticket Prices: Adults: $12; Members/Seniors $10; Students: $8; Kids: $6 (12 years and under).

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, by calling 860-486-8580, or online at http://bimp.ticketleap.com/. A surcharge will be added to any purchases made online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ballard Institute on the day of performance starting at 10 a.m. There will be open seating, no reservations. For more information about these performances, visit bimp.uconn.edu or call 860-486-8580.

Ballard Institute galleries closed 2/13-2/22 (Museum still open!)

From February 13 through February 22, 2017, Ballard Institute staff will be deinstalling our current exhibitions Frank Ballard’s Marionette Modernism: ‘Peer Gynt’ and ‘The Love for Three Oranges’ and Object, Image, Text: The Bread & Puppet Press and installing our new exhibition Banners and Cranks: Paintings and Scrolls in Performance.  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 Banners and Cranks: Paintings and Scrolls in Performance on Thursday, February 23 at 5:00 p.m.  at the Ballard Institute. The opening events will include a free tour by exhibit curator Clare Dolan and live performances of crankies and cantastorias by the curator, as well as by Great Small Works theater company.

“The Business of Puppetry,” a Spring Puppet Forum on 2/8 at 7 p.m.

As part of the 2017 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present a discussion with professionals in the puppetry field entitled The Business of Puppetry on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

What combinations of artistry, entrepreneurship, and management are needed for success in 21st-century puppetry? Join Roxie Myhrum, Artistic Director of Puppet Showplace Theater; acclaimed Boston-area puppeteer and dancer Bonnie Duncan; and New York City puppet designer, builder and performer Matt Acheson for an incisive discussion about how to make a living in the arts today.

BusinessofPuppetryHeadshots

Matt Acheson is a puppet and theater artist living in Brooklyn. Matt was the Resident Puppetry Director for Warhorse at Lincoln Center Theater and Associate Puppetry Director for the Warhorse North American tour. Matt has designed, built, and directed puppets for productions including Radio City’s Spring Spectacular and Sarah Ruhl’s play The Oldest Boy. In 2015, Matt and UConn Puppet Arts Program Adjunct Professor Fergus J. Walsh founded AchesonWalsh Studios. Most recently, they designed and fabricated a Tyrannosaurs Rex for On The Town, and masks for the 2015 revival of The King and I at Lincoln Center Theater. Currently, Matt is directing and curating the annual St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab with Krissy Smith.

Bonnie Duncan has blended puppetry, dance, and physical theatre in surprising and delightful ways for the past 16 years. She currently heads up The Gottabees, making super-fun theater for families. She tours two shows for families (Squirrel Stole My Underpants & Lollipops for Breakfast) that are selling out theaters and inspiring homemade puppet shows throughout the U.S. and abroad. She also creates small shows for adult audiences. Prior to her work with The Gottabees, Bonnie was a company member of Snappy Dance Theater for eight years, performing sculptural, acrobatic dances internationally.

Roxanna Myhrum is the Artistic Director of Puppet Showplace Theater, where she has produced and directed hundreds of puppetry events, from Boston’s annual First Night Puppetry Festival to the site-specific Halloween attraction The Midnight Zoo. She is a sought-after puppetry coach and director in Greater Boston. Roxanna has taught puppetry to students of all ages and has been a guest teaching artist at several colleges and universities. Roxanna recently completed a term on the Puppeteers of America Board of Trustees and was part of the Artistic Committee for the 2015 National Puppetry Festival at UConn.
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. Forums will be broadcast via Facebook Live. Visit bimp.uconn.edu or call 860-486-8580 for more information.