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Free Sendak-Inspired Toy Theater Spectacle and Exhibit Tours on 10/22 and 10/23

As part of UConn Family Weekend, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will offer free tours and performances.

Saturday, October 22:

  • Join Ballard Institute staff for free exhibit tours at noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 23:

  • Join Ballard Institute staff for free exhibit tours at noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
  • UConn Puppet Arts graduate students Abigail Baird and Jaron Hollander will present a brief toy theater performance based on Maurice Sendak’s 1993 book, We Are All in the Dumps With Jack and Guy at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. 

Swing into Action: Maurice Sendak and the World of Puppetry, created in partnership with The Maurice Sendak Foundation, looks at the various ways Sendak designed, collected, and collaborated with puppets and puppet productions, from his childhood days making mechanical toys with his brother, to his collections of Mickey Mouse memorabilia, his inventive collaborations with puppeteer Amy Luckenbach, his puppet designs for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Mozart Opera Goose of Cairo, and the way Sendak’s book inspired Sonny Gerasimowicz’s creatures for Spike Jonze’s film Where the Wild Things Are. 

Reservations are not required. Masks are recommended but not required. 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.

As part of Family Weekend, the Ballard Institute will also present its 2022 UConn Fall Puppet Slam at von der Mehden Recital Hall on Friday, 10/21 at 7:30 p.m.

“Tito Matos and Puerto Rican Culture” Online Forum on 5/12 at 7PM

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host “Tito Matos and Puerto Rican Culture” with panelists Pedro Adorno, Emmanuel Santana, Mareia Quintero, Luis Beltran on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Zoom (registration required) and Facebook Live and will be available afterwards on the Ballard Institute’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel

The late Tito Matos, who passed away in January, reinvented the Afro-Puerto Rican singing tradition of plena, and was celebrated in San Juan by a procession that featured music, stilt-dancing, and giant cabesudo portrait masks. This forum will feature Pedro Adorno of the puppet company Agua, Sol y Sereno; Mareia Quintero, a professor cultural studies at the University of Puerto Rico; Emmanuel Santana, a pupil and friend of Tito Matos; and Luis Beltran-Alvarez, a University of Connecticut PhD. student in Political Science. This event is co-sponsored by the El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.

Mareia Quintero Rivera is Associate Professor at the Masters in Cultural Agency and Administration, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She obtained her Ph.D. in Social History from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Her major areas of research include cultural criticism in the Hispanic Caribbean and Brazil; cultural policies, and contemporary arts in Puerto Rico. She is the author of the book A cor e o som da nação: A idéia de mestiçagem na crítica musical do Caribe Hispânico Insular e o Brasil (The color and sound of the nation: The idea of miscegenation in the musical criticism of the Insular Hispanic Caribbean and Brazil) and co-editor of the volume Antología del pensamiento crítico puertorriqueño contemporáneo (Anthology of contemporary Puerto Rican critical thought). She has served as president of the Puerto Rican Commission for Cultural Development, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the School of Visual Arts and Design. She has been a close collaborator of Agua, Sol y Sereno and is currently working on a book about the group.

Pedro Adorno is co-founder and artistic director of Agua, Sol y Sereno. He is a theater and film director and works as an actor, visual artist, educator and stilt man. Agua, Sol y Sereno, founded by Pedro Adorno and Cathy Vigo in 1993, is a non-profit organization that promotes the development of Puerto Rican experimental theater and the democratization of art to all sectors of the population. It links artistic work to social reality through pieces that explore a broad aesthetic range, parades with stilters and big heads puppets, creative workshops, and community residences.

Luis J. Beltrán-Álvarez is from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, and earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the same institution. Currently he is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science in Political Theory and Comparative Politics at the University of Connecticut. His main research interests are Political Subjectivities, Social Movements,  Decolonial Feminism, Anticolonialism and Decoloniality, Anarchism, Populism, Philosophy of Race/Racism, and Discourse Theory.

Emanuel Santana is a plenero and artist born and raised in Santurce, Puerto Rico. A friend and pupil of Tito Matos, he is also part of the organizing collective Plenazos Callejeros. He also participates and works together in La Goyco community workshop, an organization dedicated to the empowerment, solidarity, and democracy of the community of Santurce. La Goyco’s primary focus is education, culture, and health programs via the empowerment of the community. 

 

Hecho en Puerto Rico: Four Generations of Puerto Rican Puppetry

On display through June 11, 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.