Summer Puppet Adventures!

Announcing Summer Shows! 

Let your imagination explore with our "Summer Puppet Adventures" series! July kicks off with the return of "Puppet Playtime: The Bella Show" for toddlers and tiny tots. Then, enjoy exciting shows for all ages, from Crabgrass Puppet Theatre's hilarious retelling of "The Three Little Pigs," to Mesner Puppet Theater's Boston Debut of "The Dinosaur Show!" Shows are Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30am and 1pm all summer long, with additional Sunday shows August 26th for "Tommy's Space Adventure." 

Want to get in on the fun? Register for our NEW all-ages summer camp collaboration with Wheelock Family Theater: Summer Puppet Academy! 

The Summer Puppet Adventures series runs from Friday July 6th-Saturday August 25th. Tickets are $12-$15/general admission, $8-$10/members . For individual show descriptions and online ticket purchases visit our  mainstage page

Become a member for discounts on all ticket and store purchases!

A Taste of Spring!

Celebrate spring with Puppet Showplace! Pack a snack and explore the outdoors with these sweet adventure tales. Audience favorites "Word Play" and "Cardboard Explosion" return in May & June, and Modern Times Theater is back with a brand-new show, "The Perils of Mr. Punch: Use It Up!" Puppets at Night fans can join us for "El Beto" in April and our Spring Puppet Slam in May.

Puppets around the World!

March 21st is World Day of Puppetry! Join us all month long at Puppet Showplace for puppet adventures around the world. Our international journey continues through March with a Lunar New Year celebration of the Year of the Dog, a grown-up puppet slam, and the return of Tanglewood Marionettes and the classic marionette cabaret, "The Fairy Circus"!

Chinese Theatre Works invites audiences to celebrate the Year of the Dog in "Hao Bang Ah, Dog," March 22-25. Traditional Chinese “budaixi” glove puppets perform vignettes
based on popular songs and well-known Chinese sayings celebrating canine wisdom, courage, and loyalty, making the Chinese language and cultural experience accessible to even the
youngest audience members!

Then, join Tanglewood Marionettes March 29-31 for "The Fairy Circus," a dazzling display of circus acts performed in an enchanted garden. "The Fairy Circus" is a showcase for turn-of-the-century style trick puppetry, performed by over 20 beautifully handcrafted marionettes.

World day of Puppetry is March 21st!

unnamed.jpg

Every March, puppeteers all over the globe celebrate the WORLD DAY OF PUPPETRY. Here at Puppet Showplace, we'll celebrate on March 24th at 8pm with a special edition of the Puppet Showplace Slam, featuring Chinese Theatre Works. Other performers include Charlotte Dore, Caitlin Brzezinski and Libby Schap, and MORE! Live music, cash bar. 

Where in the world have our puppeteers been?!?

Puppet Showplace resident and affiliated artists have been on their own global journeys this month! Incubator Artist Bonnie Duncan of the Gottabees performed "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" at the Izmir Puppetry Festival in Turkey, and slam performer / adult class alumna Veronica Barron is on tour with Kid Koala's "Nufonia Must Fall" at the Taiwan International Festival of Arts. Artistic Director Roxie Myhrum and Resident Artist Sarah Nolen just returned from a wonderful weekend at the Casteliers Festival in Montreal, Québec, where Sarah performed in the North American Puppet Slam. Where in the world do you think they'll be next? 

New Year, New Shows!

Happy 2018! To kick off the new year, Puppet Showplace Theater is once again excited to present two world premieres in our annual New Year! New Shows! series, as well as a revival of an old favorite, Puppet Playtime. We will also be launching our very first after school program Puppet Lab

Our first mainstage show this year is The Bremen Town Musicians by the talented CactusHead Puppets. This show beautifully utilizes both shadow puppetry and rod puppets to put a new, CactusHead spin on the classic German folktale of four farm animals pursuing their dream to become world famous musicians, and the adventures they encounter on their journey. Thank you to our audiences for making the run such a success!  

Starting February 3rd, we are proud to present the world premiere of The Fairy Tailor, by Resident Artist, Sarah Nolen! Meet the Fairy Tailor, hard at work in her enchanted shop, where dressing racks and laundry baskets are known to have a mind of their own. Watch as she  transforms everyday garments into extraordinary characters, and shares familiar stories in an entirely new and clever way. This colorful, interactive production is guaranteed to inspire audiences of all ages.

Puppet Playtime with Harry LaCoste

We are also excited to announce our NEW Puppet Playtime with Harry LaCoste. This interactive puppet show is geared towards toddlers and their parents and provides both laughs and learning. Puppet Playtime is a great introduction for toddlers to the experience of live performance. We provide a welcoming "lights-on," flexible environment for children and caretakers alike!

25273351168_a5553366a5_z.jpg

Puppet Lab After-School Program

Finally, we have officially launched our pilot after-school program, Puppet Lab! In each ten-week session, kids age 8-11 will have a chance to explore the materials, engineering, and design involved in puppetry arts. Each week we’ll tackle creative challenges in a fun, hands-on, and supportive environment that encourages experimentation. We’ll bravely go beyond simple craft projects to learn advanced tools, techniques, and topics in 3D design. Kids will learn by doing, gain confidence in their abilities, and discover new strategies for solving interdisciplinary problems. Click the link below to learn more or register for the upcoming session!

Happy 2018! See you at the theater!

Holiday Shopping Guide 2017!

Puppet Showplace has great gifts for puppet fans of all ages! Get your holiday shopping done the next time you visit, or purchase tickets, memberships, or gift cards any time! 

  New: T-shirts in adult and child sizes! 

New: T-shirts in adult and child sizes! 

Puppet Store

Our store has great gifts for puppet fans of all ages! From adorable Folkmanis animal puppets to a beautiful array of marionettes, the Puppet Showplace store has the most comprehensive selection of puppets for sale in Greater Boston. Selections include finger puppets, hand puppets, marionettes and more. And remember, Members receive 10% off all store purchases.

New: T-shirts! 

Wear your Puppet Showplace pride in style! Puppet Showplace t-shirts are now available in child and adult sizes! Check friends and family off your list and let them flaunt that puppet pride!

Gift Memberships

  Marionettes and more are on sale in the puppet store! 

Marionettes and more are on sale in the puppet store! 

Memberships make great gifts! Share a year of puppetry with someone special on your list. Memberships include complementary tickets. Plus, you get discounts on shows, store purchases, birthday parties, and classes. Throughout the year, members will also receive invitations to special members-only events.

Four levels of membership are available: basic, family, puppets at night, and enthusiast. This gift is a great way to support the theater while making someone a part of the Puppet Showplace Theater family. 

Gift Cards

Can't decide what to get? We have the answer! Purchase a Puppet Showplace Gift Card, redeemable for tickets, puppet store purchases, adult/family workshops, and more! Gift cards are one of our most popular holiday items, and are available for purchase online or in person. Get one for everyone on your list!

Give the Gift of Puppetry to Kids in Need!

  Students on a field trip to Puppet Showplace Theater, supported by YOUR gifts to the Mary Churchill Memorial fund! 

Students on a field trip to Puppet Showplace Theater, supported by YOUR gifts to the Mary Churchill Memorial fund! 

Want to share the magic of puppetry with schools and camps whose students come from low-income communities? Make a tax-deductible contribution to the Mary Churchill Memorial Fund, our field trip subsidy program. It's a great way to spread joy this holiday season. Your gift allows us to welcome over 1,000 kids to Puppet Showplace theater every year. 

Thank you for making Puppet Showplace a part of your holiday experience! 

  From all of us at Puppet Showplace Theater, we hope you have a magical holiday season! 

From all of us at Puppet Showplace Theater, we hope you have a magical holiday season! 

Timeless Tales!

Discover folklore from around the world and meet classic characters passed down through generations in our first "Timeless Tales" series this November and December. Weekday shows return November 2nd and are great opportunities for field trip groups, home school students, and pre-school children to catch an exciting live performance. The series features seven wonderful shows for families, including a helping of “Holiday Punch” over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Timeless Tales series runs from Saturday November 2nd- Monday January 1. Tickets are $12-$15/general admission, $8-$10/members . For individual show descriptions and online ticket purchases visit our  mainstage page

Become a member for discounts on all ticket and store purchases!

TIMELESS TALES SCHEDULE

·       Jack and the Beanstalk and Other Tales by Nappy's Puppets (Thurs 11/2- Sun 11/5)

·       African Adventure Tales by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre (Thurs 11/9- Sun 11/12)

·       Raccoon Tales  by Paul Vincent Davis, performed by Brad Shur (Thurs 11/16- Sun 11/19)

·       The Perils of Mr. Punch by Modern Times Theater (Fri 11/24- Sun 11/26) 

·       Beatrix Potter Tales by Applause Unlimited (Thurs 11/30- Sun 12/3)

·       Punschi: The Adventures of Kasper by Sandglass Theater (Thurs 12/7- Sun 12/10)

·       Fox Fables by WonderSpark Puppets (Thurs 12/13- Sun 12/17)

BIRTHDAY PARTIES: BOOK NOW!
Have a birthday or special event coming up? Check out our great birthday party &  puppet show packages. Members receive a discount on all parties!

From Austin to Boston: Welcome Puppet Showplace's NEW Resident Artist Sarah Nolen!

SarahNolen_Headshot_3.jpg

We at Puppet Showplace Theater are as pleased as Punch (and Judy) to welcome puppeteer Sarah Nolen to Boston, where she will become the theater's third ever Resident Artist.

Sarah has been hard at work since August teaching workshops, refining her show Lisa the Wise, preparing her NEW Puppet Improv Lab class for adults, and creating the original production "The Fairy Tailor" which will premiere in February 2018. Catch a sneak preview on October 9th at the Members-Only Fairy Tale Tea Party!

Read on to learn more about Sarah, and introduce yourself when you see her around town.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM SARAH!

Dear Puppet Showplace Friends,

Thank you for welcoming me to into this incredible artistic community. I’m looking forward to all the time we’ll spend together laughing at puppet antics, chatting about the potential of pipe cleaners, and discovering the many characters whose stories are literally right at our fingertips.

Sarah Nolen

Originally from Austin, Texas, I picked up puppets at an early age. One of my mother’s old socks became Nancy Drew, and a toilet paper roll "Rapunzel" starred in my living room debut. Since then, I’ve spent decades dedicated to the art of wondering what a puppet can do.

Recently, I completed my MFA in Puppet Arts at the University of Connecticut, after doing a film degree at SMU in Texas. Now, I create puppets for stage and screen, telling visual tales for all ages.

In 2015, I was a recipient of the Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship in support of Treeples, a television pilot about empowering girls to face their fears. Since graduating from UCONN, I’ve travelled the globe performing on international tours, working in puppet production shops in New York City, and performing at puppet theaters around the US.

Sarah and Honey Word Play.jpg

While I’m new to the Boston area, I’ve performed many times at Puppet Showplace. I've done several acts for adults in the Puppet Showplace Slam, and have been a supporting puppeteer in Brave Bucket Company's "Help Save the Monkey," and Good Hearted Entertainment's "Word Play."

One of my most memorable Boston experiences was when I worked with the Boston Pops. I constructed a puppet version of conductor Arthur Fiedler for UCONN's concert collaboration, "Puppets Take the Pops," and I once narrated “Twas the Night Before Christmas” from a puppet booth backed by the entire orchestra.

My first month in Boston has been a whirlwind of teaching, building, rehearsing, and devising. In August, I joined resident teaching artist Honey Goodenough to teach two weeks of summer camp, where we worked with kids to create an original puppet play. I also taught an all-day residency for middle schoolers and am gearing up for a 14-week kindergarten residency in Boston. 

  It's been a busy first month! Here I am teaching table top puppetry to middle schoolers in September.

It's been a busy first month! Here I am teaching table top puppetry to middle schoolers in September.

I am excited to share puppetry techniques and inspirations with students of all ages, so if you have ideas for residencies or workshops, please get in touch.

Speaking of classes, I hope you sign up for our NEW Puppet Improv Lab!  I used to have terrible stage fright. To face my fears I enrolled in a year long training program at the Comedy House in Dallas. It was there that I learned how to be comfortable on stage, and to embrace "mistakes" as opportunities. Turns out, my improvisational training has proved vital to my puppet work, stage presence, and performance style. Puppets sometimes do whatever they want, and improv training has taught me to go along with it. I am excited to get Boston audiences thinking about the possibilities of puppet theater, and to empower people to realize that they already have what it takes to start creating.

36854828416_a18ffc0529_o.jpg

Aside from teaching, I have been the 2017 Fall Fairy Tale Festival's #1 fan. Every week, I've enjoyed watching a different classic story performed by some of New England's best puppeteers. Next week, it's my turn to take the stage. At the Fairy Tale Tea Party on October 9th (MY BIRTHDAY!) I'll give Puppet Showplace members a sneak preview of my work-in-progress show "The Fairy Tailor." Together we learn how even the smallest of characters has the strength to take down a bully. Episode one: Red Riding Hoodie outsmarts a Big Bad Fur Coat. Intrigued? See you there! 

  Working on the shadow forest for "Lisa the Wise"

Working on the shadow forest for "Lisa the Wise"

Then, it's the Boston debut of my show "Lisa the Wise," an adaptation of a Russian folktale with a modern twist. It includes fantastical scenes brought to life with shadow puppetry, the sensational Baba Yaga (guaranteed to give Cinderella's Fairy Godmother a run for her money), and a house with dancing chicken legs. I hope you'll join me for this spooky adventure... It's a perfect start to the Halloween season!  

Continuing the Puppet Showplace resident artist tradition is an incredible responsibility, and I’m honored to call you all my new neighbors as I embark on this journey. Thank you to everyone who supports Puppet Showplace Theater and the work that we do in the community. Whenever you see a show, take a class, become a member, donate, or volunteer, you are helping to keep puppetry thriving here in New England. So come on down to Station Street, introduce yourself, share your puppet story, and let’s exchange "Howdys!"  

FIEDLER PUPPET CONSTRUCTION.jpg

Fall Fairy Tale Festival

Back to school does NOT have to mean back to reality! Join Puppet Showplace for another fantastical season filled with classic tales and stories of wonder during our 7th Annual Fall Fairy Tale Festival. Featuring nine extraordinary shows for families, and one Puppet Slam for adults and teens!

The Fall Fairy Tale Festival runs from Saturday September 2nd- Sunday October 29th. Tickets are $12-$15/general admission, $8-$10/members . For individual show descriptions and online ticket purchases visit our  mainstage page

Become
a member during our Fall Membership Drive, and you'll be eligible to attend our members-only Fairy Tale Tea Party on Columbus Day Monday!

Explore kingdoms, castles and enchanted lands with a puppeteer as your guide!

FALL FAIRY TALE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

  • "Beauty and the Beast" by National Marionette Theater(Sat 9/2- Mon 9/4)
  • "Father Goose's Tales" by Nappy's Puppets (Sat 9/9- Sun 9/10)
  • "Jack and the Beanstalk" by No Strings Marionette Company (Sat 9/16- Sun (/17)
  • "Sir George and the Dragon" by Pumpernickel Puppets (Sat 9/23- Sun 9/24)
  • "Snow White and Other Stories" by Perry Alley Theatre (Sat 9/30- Sun 10/1)
  • "The 3 Little Pigs Build a Better House" by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre (Sat 10/7- Mon 10/9)
  • "Lisa the Wise" by Resident Artist Sarah Nolen (Sat 10/14- Sun 10/15)
  • "Puppet Playtime: Teddy Bear Picnic" by Brenda Huggins & Phil Berman (Sat 10/21- Sun 10/22)
  • "Hansel and Gretel" by Tanglewood Marionettes (Sat 10/28- Sun 10/29)

BIRTHDAY PARTIES: BOOK NOW!
Have a birthday or special event coming up? Check out our great birthday party + puppet show packages. You and your guests are sure to have an enchanting experience! 

Shop the Look: Be a Pirate!

Hey! Andrew's back!

So I've had enough of just looking at puppet fashion all summer. I've decided to write it about it. This isn't gonna be your normal Blog Post. This time I'm gonna show you all how to flex on everyone you know, by ripping an outfit straight from a puppet show! I'm here to show you how to dress like the pirate, from The Pirate, the Princess, and the Pea, by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre.

14193678455_5a3501a51f_o.jpg

This former ruffian is dressed up in a blue striped long sleeve T-shirt, brown shorts, a red sash belt, and a gold earring. You won't be needing an eyepatch or hook hand for this.

To complete this look, you should expect to visit some retailers, or their online stores.

For the blue striped long sleeve T-shirt, I would recommend a simple Striped Crew Neck T-Shirt from Uniqlo, although the color is a bit dark. Alternatively, you could buy a Nautical Striped Long Sleeve.

If you would prefer a more feminine cut, you could opt for a Striped Shirt from H&M, or a Comme Des Garcons Play Blue Striped Long Sleeve

For the brown shorts, you can get away with a yellowish color. I would recommend another Uniqlo piece, the Yellow Chino Shorts. If you want higher quality and a more rugged look, you could opt for a pair of Max Linen Shorts or Wood-Print Cargo Shorts.

For the ladies, you could try a pair of Tan Shorts, and for a more high end feel you could also try Twill Drawstring Shorts or Cargo Shorts

For the red sash, you could use anything red. I would go for a Red Sash or a Red Scarf.

 For the earring you could get opt for inexpensive ones or more accurate ones, but this all depends on whether they are convenient for you.

Those are all the items you need to become a pirate!

What?

Oh you don't have a time to flex on everyone in your fit?

Well keep it in your closet and bring it out for our winter showing of Everybody Loves Pirates by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers December 31st and January 1st! 

I hope to see you there with all your pirate heat!

Puppet Store: Summer Finds!

Hey it's me, Andrew Huynh, and I'm an intern this summer at Puppet Showplace.

Today, I'll be giving you an inside look of all the treasures you can find in our store!

Here, we offer many types of puppets for you to take home. We have racks filled with  hand puppets, finger puppets, and even marionettes! Prices vary per puppet, but, members always receive 10% off of any purchase. Become a member today! 

Our most popular items are plush Folkmanis hand puppets. These characters are inspired by animals of all shapes and sizes. Plush puppets are available in large "stage puppet" styles, as well as kid-sized hand puppets and or small-scale finger puppets. 

The puppet store also has great deals on marionettes, or puppets you can control with strings. We have large and small marionette characters, and all of them are looking for a new home! 

No puppet store would be complete without the world's most famous puppet character: ELMO! Sesame Street characters are available as hand puppets or as small finger puppets. 

Not sure what to get? An inexpensive and versatile option is to get a set of Peepers! These eyeball puppets easily turn your own hand into a puppet. There's also an amazing selection of eye and frame colors, to make sure your puppet looks the way you want it to.

The puppet store accepts purchases by cash, check, or credit card. Can't decide? Consider purchasing a gift card, good for any store sale or ticket purchase. 


That's all I have to say about the store! If you're interested in buying a puppet, just swing by and we'll be happy to get you started on your own Summer Puppet Adventure!

Summer Puppet Adventures

While school and the sun are out, Puppet Showplace Theater invites audiences to have fun, explore new worlds, and stretch and grow their imaginations with our "Summer Puppet Adventures" series. Eight shows travel deep under the sea, soar through the sky, and swing through the jungle, all the while learning and laughing!

"Summer Puppet Adventures" runs from Wednesday, July 5 - Saturday, August 26. Tickets are $12/guest for general audience, $8/guest for members.Learn more about the series here, and register for adult or youth classes and camps today!

Summer Puppet Adventures

Search for buried treasure, sail the open seas, and meet fantastical creatures great and small with our annual summer adventure series!

JULY

  • "The Pirate, the Princess, and the Pea" by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre (Wed 7/5 - Sat 7/8)
  • Saturday, July 8: Summer Open House: FREE popsicles and puppet-making activities
  • "Word Play" by Good Hearted Entertainment (Wed 7/12 - Sat 7/15)
  • "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" by CactusHead Puppets (Wed 7/19 - Sat 7/22)
  • "The Great Red Ball Rescue" by Faye Dupras (Wed 7/26 - Sat 7/29)

AUGUST

  • "Old Mother Hubbard & Her Dog" by Mesner Puppet Theater (Wed 8/2 - Sat 8/5)
  • "Aesop's Fables" by Red Herring Puppets (Wed 8/9 - Sat 8/12)
  • "Tall Tales!: Stories & Songs from Old New England" by Resident Artist Brad Shur & Musician Chris Monti (Wed 8/16 - Sat 8/19)
  • "The Fairy Circus" by Tanglewood Marionettes (Sat 8/26 -- one day only!)

 

Puppets prevail all summer long! Consider booking a birthday party, summer-camp field trip, or other special occasion with us in the coming months.  Plus, any and all donations to the Showplace help provide tickets to kids in need. Raise the anchor, hoist the mainsail, and let your fun flag fly!

Melinda Lopez, on the magic of puppetry: Puppet Showplace Theater Gala 2017

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the Puppet Showplace Theater hosted over 200 guests, performers, and volunteers at its annual fundraising Gala . This "Evening of Enchantment" featured puppetry performances, a live brass band, a silent auction, various displays of puppets large and small, and much more!

Below is the transcript of the keynote address delivered by the Gala's emcee, Melinda Lopez, preceded by opening remarks from Puppet Showplace Artistic Director, Roxie Myhrum. 

ROXIE MYHRUM:

Tonight, we are joined by one of the brightest lights in Boston’s theater scene: award-winning actress, playwright, and educator, Melinda Lopez.

Melinda is a Fellow and Playwright-in-Residence at the Huntington Theater Company, and her work has appeared on stages throughout New England and far beyond. If you think of Puppet Showplace as a candle in the Boston theater scene, Melinda comes from the world of the comets and the supernovas. So I feel really awesome that our evening of enchantment features a superstar emcee!

Personally, I am a huge fan of Melinda’s work.  As an audience member, I’ve watched her characters travel through time, build worlds and set them on fire, and negotiate with wise-cracking ghosts. Most recently, with her award-winning and critically acclaimed play Mala, she conjured the snowstorm of stories that surround a parent’s passing, and she guided a room full of strangers to find comfort and community in the face of death.

Melinda is also a leader in Boston’s Cuban-American community and a champion of humanitarian causes, both on and off the stage.  She gained unexpected notoriety in 2016, when President Obama shared her family’s story of revolution, refuge, and return in his speech to the Cuban people about the end of the embargo. All of us who work in Boston’s theater industry are inspired by her chutzpah, and our work is greatly enriched by her perspective.

I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda almost nine years ago, when she was commissioned by Underground Railway Theatre and the National Institutes of Health to write a play, From Orchids to Octopi, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. I was her dramaturge, which is a fancy way of saying I did a lot of fact-checking. I also got to dress in a vest decorated with double-helixes and puppeteer a talking giraffe.

Not only did Melinda create a beautiful, thoughtful script that inspired the entire production team, but she also navigated the complexities that came with bringing artists, scientists, government funders, and, yes, puppeteers, together in the same place. I was very fortunate to have had Melinda as a creative mentor right before I started at Puppet Showplace, and I am so grateful to her for joining us tonight. Please welcome: Melinda Lopez.

MELINDA LOPEZ:

Thank you, Roxie, for inviting me to be part of Puppet Showplace Theater’s "Evening of Enchantment." I feel truly enchanted by the work that you all do.

I loved seeing so many puppeteers in action tonight. I especially enjoyed seeing the incredibly varied shadow puppetry performances done by Brad and his students.

  Harriet Tubman shadow puppet from  Are You Ready My Sister?  by Underground Railway Theater

Harriet Tubman shadow puppet from Are You Ready My Sister? by Underground Railway Theater

It reminded me of the brief but influential chapter in my own life when I worked as a shadow puppeteer. Now, I don’t talk about this very often, because, quite frankly, I wasn’t very good at it. I was an actor touring with Underground Railway Theater’s production Are you Ready, My Sister. Part of my job was to bring the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad to life with overhead-projector shadow puppetry. The intense precision of performing with puppets always stressed me out. A lot. What do you mean they can break? What if one goes missing? What if my hands are shaking or someone sees my arm? What if everyone is laughing at me on the other side of the screen!? Nevertheless, I practiced and practiced, and eventually things got better. I learned something really important about puppetry from that experience: puppetry meant that we humans weren’t alone up there on stage. We had light and shadow, and shapes and stars on our side. Puppetry made it possible for anything — anything — to happen.

A few years later, I wrote How Do You Spell Hope?, a play about literacy, which brought together the stories of a Cambridge high school athlete, a Latina immigrant, and Frederick Douglass, all struggling to learn to read. Now that puppetry had stretched my imagination, I felt a lot bolder as a playwright. In fact, on the very first page, as a character talked about what it was like to read fairy tales in her native Spanish: “Habia una vez, en un reno fantastico, todo era possible….” I bravely included the stage direction “As she reads, we see magical figures, dragons fly upward.”

Thanks to puppetry, we could transcend language. The audience would know that once upon a time, in a fantastical kingdom, anything was possible. I could show audiences how the simple act of reading was actually something magical.

  Young Frederick Douglass puppet from URT's   How Do You Spell Hope?

Young Frederick Douglass puppet from URT's  How Do You Spell Hope?

During that show, I also learned that puppets have an amazing ability to speak without talking. It often takes actors a really long time to learn how to do this. But puppets are born with this ability. I remember the first time I met the main puppet character — a young Frederick Douglass, who commanded a room even though he was only about three feet tall. I was so moved the first time I saw him come to life that it made me cry. After rehearsal, I went home and cut half of the lines I had written in that scene. The truth is that puppetry is often much more powerful than words. Puppets say so much just by existing on stage. They activate our imagination. They make us lean forward, pay attention, and care.

So why does this matter? Why do we care about what happens in the realm of the imagination? Don’t we have bigger things to worry about here in the real world?

In the realm of imagination, we are all citizens.
We all carry the same passport. We all speak the same language.
We all have a pet dragon who eats cupcakes and reads us bedtime stories.
In the realm of imagination, we can all spell HOPE.

So... how do we get there?

Step number one: we need to turn off our cell phones. Too often, we rely way too much on technology to do our creative work for us. We get lazy, and the muscles of our imagination get soft. The realm of the imagination is much bigger than a screen. You can’t see it in your friends’ Snap Chat, and it doesn’t show up in Google Maps. In order to get there, we need our eyes open, our hearts open, and our feelings awake.

Step two: ask a kid for directions. We are all born with the capacity for joy, wonder, and imagination. Sometimes, the grown-up world kicks dirt all over those flames. But kids still have that guiding light. To the kids here tonight...stand up! Look around! On behalf of all of the parents and grownups, I want to say thank you for giving us excuses to go see puppet shows with you. You show us how to play and let us exercise our imaginations. Sometimes it’s hard for us, and we may take a little extra time to figure out what’s going on, because your imaginations are much more powerful than ours. But, with your help, we can get there. The next time you go to a puppet show, remember that half of the people in the audience are grownups who need your help to find their way.

Step three: let a puppeteer be your guide. Puppeteers are among the hardest-working performing artists I have ever met. Not only do they write scripts and tell stories, but they also build sets, paint eyeballs, play music, and literally carry their shows on their backs from venue to venue. Why? Because they believe that every community center, every classroom, every cafe-gymnasa-torium should have a border-crossing to the realm of imagination. And when they unpack their stages, test their microphones, and bring these handmade, miniature worlds to life, they create a magic glowing portal that is just big enough to get everyone in the audience inside. 

Last, and most important: don’t leave anyone behind. One problem with the realm of imagination is that once we get there, it’s so awesome and magical that sometimes we forget to stop, look around, and see who’s missing. Does everyone there look just like you? Was there a ramp next to the staircase? Did the funding for imagination portals just get cut… and cut again… and again? In a realm where anything is possible, we have to remember that it’s in our power to break down barriers and build bridges so that everyone can find their way across the border.

We are here tonight because we all believe in the mission of Puppet Showplace Theater, and because we believe that puppetry and live theater and imagination should be accessible to all. Your gifts, your generosity, your time, your talents, your compassion, and your kindness all make this possible. You have taken care of Brad for the past eight years as he journeyed to Sherwood Forest, sailed across the ocean, and built kingdoms out of cardboard. We will do the same for Sarah, as she sets down roots in Boston and her art begins to bloom. And we will do this for thousands of kids each year who wake up penniless but who still get handed a golden ticket and are greeted like royalty when they get to Puppet Showplace and are welcomed inside.

Thank you for welcoming me into this strong and creative community — it has been an inspiring night. I know exactly where I’ll go the next time I need help from a dragon. Or a brush-up on overhead projector shadow puppetry. With you, I imagine a great future for Puppet Showplace Theater, and for the all the kids and grownups here who believe that anything is possible.

  Gala Emcee Melinda Lopez with Artistic Director Roxie Myhrum. 

Get Curious!

This spring, Puppet Showplace Theater explores the natural world, investigates mysteries, and encourages hands-on creativity in our "Get Curious!" series. Twelve interactive shows feature a variety of puppetry and theatrical styles, from hand and table-top puppets to live actors and music. Plus, in June, we welcome back Puppet Playtime, our popular interactive performance experience especially for toddlers!

"Get Curious!" runs from April 6 - June 17 and includes programming through April Vacation Week. (Learn more about the series here, and register for adult or youth classes and camps today!) 

Get Curious!

Kid Detectives, Gadget Inventors, and Outdoor Explorers Welcome!

April 6-9 (Thurs-Sun): "The Carrot Salesman" by Brad Shur, Resident Artist

April 13-15 (Thurs-Sat): "Peter Rabbit"* by Tuckers' Tales (CLOSED Easter Sunday)

April 18-20 (Tues-Thurs): "The Reluctant Dragon"* by All Hands Productions

April 21-23 (Fri-Sun): "The Legend of the Banana Kid"* by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

April 27-30 (Thurs-Sun): "The Case of the Missing Kitten" (Boston debut!) by WonderSpark Puppets

May 4-7 (Thurs-Sun): "The Doubtful Sprout" by Liz Joyce & A Couple of Puppets

May 11-14 (Thurs-Sun): "I Spy Butterfly" by Faye Dupras, music by Max Weigert 

May 18-21 (Thurs-Sun): "Turtle's New Home: A Wetland Quest!" by Deborah Costine Nature Puppets

May 25-29 (Thurs-Mon): "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre

June 1-3 (Thurs-Sat): "Cardboard Explosion!" by Brad Shur, Resident Artist

June 8-10 (Thurs-Sat): "A Woodland Cinderella" by Deborah Costine Nature Puppets

June 15-17 (Thurs-Sat): "Puppet Playtime: Bugs!"* by Brenda Huggins & Phil Berman

 

*April Vacation Week performances sell at our premium price: $15/ticket for general audience, $10/ticket for members. Regular-priced shows are $12/ticket for general audience, $8/ticket for members. Puppet Playtime is $25 for an adult/child pair.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the theater this spring! In the meantime, keep asking questions, keep solving mysteries, and, most importantly, keep having fun!

Celebrate World Day of Puppetry and Make Imagination Accessible for ALL!

Win a FREE puppet show and popsicle party...

32135296282_f205c76e89_b.jpg

Every year, Puppet Showplace provides over 1,000 free and subsidized field trip tickets to under-served school and camp groups across greater Boston. This is made possible by generous donors like YOU, who contribute to the Mary Churchill Memorial Field Trip Fund. Created in honor of Puppet Showplace's founder, Mary Churchill, this program annually costs over $10,000 to administer.

You can make a difference! Add a $10 donation to your next puppet purchase, or make a tax-deductible contribution before March 21 (World Puppetry Day) to be entered to win a up to 60 free tickets to a June puppetry performance, plus an hour-long lobby rental for your celebration (popsicles included). It's our way of saying "thank you" for making imagination accessible for all.

12240281886_136f87a6a1_b.jpg

On behalf of all the kids we serve, we thank you for your generous support!

Puppets Around the World!

Puppets come in all shapes and sizes, and from every corner of the globe — just like us. Our annual "Puppets Around the World" series features international puppetry styles and stories, as well as classes for all ages and skill levels. Explore puppets big and small, far and near, all the while laughing and learning! 

"Puppets Around the World" runs from February vacation week through the first weekend in April. (Learn more about the series here, and register for adult or youth classes and camps today!) 

 
 

STORIES FROM ALL OVER!

AUSTRALIA: Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under by Barefoot Puppets (Feb 24 - 26)

WEST AFRICA : Trickster Tales by Barefoot Puppets (March 2 - 5)

AMERICA: Raccoon Tales by Brad Shur (March 9 - 12)

CHINA, INDIA, JAPAN, & BEYOND: Shadows Around the World by Nappy's Puppets (March 16 - 19)

CHINA: Hao Bang Ah, Rooster! by Chinese Theater Works (March 23 - 26)

GERMANY: Punschi: The Adventures of Kasper by Sandglass Theater (March 30 - April 2)

SPECIAL NEWS!

Tuesday, March 21 is WORLD PUPPETRY DAY! On this special day, puppeteers, puppet lovers, and puppets themselves come together to honor their wonderful diversity. Learn more about Puppeteers of America, UNIMA, this happy occasion, and how people across the globe are celebrating the magnificent art of puppetry! 

 
 

Of course, you can party with Puppet Showplace all month long! Celebrate with an art form as old as time itself — and fun since day one!

Holiday Shopping Guide

Happy Holidays, puppet fans! Our mission this season is to encourage interactive and engaging experiences with family and friends. Share the joy and wonder of live performance with your loved ones of all ages with these holiday gift tips from Puppet Showplace Theater.

1. Mainstage Tickets for Family Shows

 "Peter and the Wolf" by National Marionette Theatre, December 22-24

"Peter and the Wolf" by National Marionette Theatre, December 22-24

Age Recommendation: 4 & up
Price: $8-15/person

 

When you bring a child with you for a puppetry performance in our intimate theater,  your gift impacts her development as a creative thinker. PLUS there is nothing more joyous during the holidays than the sound of a child's laughter!  Box office staff are happy to recommend the perfect show for you T: (617) 731-6400 x 101.

2. Gift Memberships

Age Recommendation: All ages!
Price: $50 to $250

 

Give the gift that keeps on giving! When you purchase a membership for your friends or loved ones, their household will receive priority seating, discounts on tickets, store purchases and more all year long! Members are also invited to special Members Only events throughout the year.

3. Digital Gift Cards

Age Recommendation: All ages
Price: $15 and up


 Our digital gift cards can be bought online, over the phone or in person at the theater. The best part? Digital gift card holders can redeem their gift online. A versatile gift, the cards can be used for any purchase at Puppet Showplace from tickets to puppets from our boutique gift shop.

4. Puppet Store

Age Recommendation: 3 & up
Price: 50c to $50

From the most adorable Folkmanis animal critters you can possibly imagine to your favorite Sesame Street characters, we have a comprehensive selection of puppets. Choose from finger puppets, hand puppets, and marionettes. And members receive 10% off all store purchases!

5. Workshops and Classes

Age Recommendation: 5 & up
Price: $20 to $150
 

Is someone on your holiday gift list artsy/crafty? Beginning in January, we offer classes and workshops for children and adults taught by professional puppeteers. Choose from a single session marionette workshop and multi-session classes in Shadow Theater taught by professional puppeteers!

6. Puppets at Night for Adults and Teens

Age Recommendation: 16 & up
Price: $10 to $15

That's right puppet fans, we have shows, classes and memberships for adults! Tickets to a Puppets at Night performance or Puppet Showplace Slam are only $10 if you are a member ($15 for non-members) and our Puppets at Night Members ($75) receive discounts on classes and workshops, plus TWO complimentary tickets to any Puppets at Night performance. What a great gift!

We look forward to seeing you at the theater!

Puppetry Partnerships: Empowering Each Other!

  Artistic Director Roxie Myhrum with the cast of  El Gato con Botas.

Dear Puppet Showplace Family,

As a puppeteer with a political science background, I have been thinking a lot this year about art and civic responsibility. 

How can we create experiences that are relevant and impactful to our community? How do we respond to matters of social concern? How do we overcome barriers to reach audiences whose lives will benefit from our work?

One thing is certain: we can't do it alone.

Over the past year, Puppet Showplace has partnered with organizations throughout Greater Boston. These collaborations have allowed us to envision new creative projects while expanding our capacity to make a difference.

I am proud to share these five inspiring stories of what we have achieved together!


The cast of El Gato

Puppetry in Spanish-Speaking Communities

Puppet Showplace partnered with OperaHub and the Boston Conservatory to create a Spanish-language touring production of the children's opera El Gato con Botas. Tickets to this show were FREE thanks to generous individual donors and a consortium of funders including the Boston Cultural Council, NEFA's Creative City grant, and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust. Together, we reached bilingual audiences all over Boston and forged new connections with community partner venues such as Villa Victoria and the Hyde Square Task Force.

Kimi Maeda

Puppets at Night and the
Fight for Racial Justice

Puppets at Night joined forces with the Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL) and the White People Challenging Racism course (WPCR) to bring two outstanding political productions to Brookline and Boston. Kimi Maeda's BEND, inspired by her father's experiences in a Japanese-American internment camp,  played to sold-out crowds on Station Street. Paul Zaloom's outrageous satire White Like Me brought in our largest Puppets at Night crowd yet to MassArt's Tower Auditorium. With our partners' help, audiences engaged in reflective conversation about these important political issues after each show.

Cardboard Classroom

Cardboard Classroom Initiatives

When Brad Shur's highly-interactive show Cardboard Explosion! was first in development, we offered free mini-performances to Horizons for Homeless Children and to underserved schools and camps around Boston. These partners provided essential feedback about the production. After this "research and development" phase was complete, Boston University's Questrom School of Business tapped Puppet Showplace to collaborate on a graduate-level class about impression management and professional identity. Building on design templates developed for the show, Brad worked with students to create cardboard portrait puppets. He then guided them through improvisations exploring the impact of identity on workplace decision making.

Midnight Zoo

Imagination and Conservation

The Franklin Park Zoo came to Puppet Showplace with a challenge: could our puppeteers transform an unused outdoor space into a Halloween attraction that would celebrate conservation and imagination? After six months of intense work, the result was The Midnight Zoo, a 360-degree immersive production that took audiences on a quest to protect imaginary creatures from extinction. This production was attended by over 4,000 people and involved the talents of 27 performers, 15 designers, and countless other friends and supporters who helped our wildest dreams come true.

ArtsEducation

Expanding Arts Education

Our education programs have grown by leaps and bounds overthe past five years all thanks to numerous partnerships. Our summer camp, presented in collaboration with Brookline Recreation, now sees full enrollment every August. Last year, with help from Brookline Adult and Community Education, we launched puppetry enrichment programs during school vacation weeks. Finally, the Massachusetts Cultural Council's STARS grant will once again enable us to present a 12-week puppetry residency with the Trotter Innovation Schoo;'s kindergarten classes (enjoy their wonderful shadow puppet video project from 2016).


As we celebrate these successes, I want to thank YOU for being OUR partner as we continue our mission to bring outstanding professional puppetry to diverse audiences. Your support, encouragement, and dedication makes these ambitious collaborations possible.

Here's to more exciting partnerships in 2017!

With hope and boundless enthusiasm about the future,

Roxanna "Roxie" Myhrum
Puppet Showplace Artistic Director

Fantastic Friendships!

We have an interactive new family series opening November 3 - "Fantastic Friendships."
Characters big and small team up to learn, play - and save the day!

In these shows, characters support one another to succeed and have fun doing so. Each production highlights a different type of friendship because no two are alike! 

Meet the Artists: CactusHead Puppets

The town of Hamelin has a rat problem, and there's only one person who can help! CactusHead Puppets brings the story of the Pied Piper to life in this kid-friendly comedic adaptation of the traditional folktale. The kids of Hamelin make a new friend and teach the grownups a lesson about generosity.  

The Pied Piper                        

Thurs & Fri, November 3 - 4: 10:30AM
Sat & Sun, November 5 - 6: 1pm & 3pm

About the Show:

  "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"  by CactusHead Puppets- November 10-13, 2016

"The Pied Piper of Hamelin" by CactusHead Puppets- November 10-13, 2016

About the Artists:

 
 

CactusHead Puppets are know for their playful performance style and exuberant creativity. The West Springfield-based company was founded in 2010 by husband and wife team John & Megan Regan. Since then they have created numerous shows based on favorite, familiar folktales and have toured throughout western New England. John and Megan are both graduates of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts program. Megan collects pop-up books and John has a love for giant monster movies. They were both Puppet Showplace Theater interns and are excited to return to Boston to share their work as professional puppeteers!

Meet the Artists: Crabgrass Puppet Theater

Can a tortoise win a tug of war with a mighty elephant? Can a tiny mouse help an enormous lion? Find out as Crabgrass Puppet Theatre travels the globe to tell stories that demonstrate even the small and weak can have a big impact on others. VIEW CALENDAR HERE

The Lion and the Mouse

Thurs & Fri, November 3 - 4: 10:30AM
Sat & Sun, November 5 - 6: 1pm & 3pm

About the Show:

About the Artists:

Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall formed Crabgrass Puppet Theatre in San Francisco in 1982 and have delighted audiences across the nation with their whimsical humor and puppetry ever since. Their performing venues have included the Detroit Institute of Art, the Smithsonian, Paper Mill Playhouse, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They have been awarded two Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, the highest puppetry award in the United States, and in 2009, Bonny Hall was awarded a Design Commendation from the Arlyn Award Foundation. Since 2001, Jamie and Bonny have been living in Halifax, Vermont, a tiny town in the hills near Brattleboro, where they continue to create their award-winning productions.