Guest Blogger: Author/Illustrator Peter Reynolds

Peter Reynolds

Fuel for a Creative Journey

by Peter H. Reynolds

Award-winning author/illustrator Peter H.Reynolds talks about why he's a supporter of Puppet Showplace Theatre. YOU can support the theater too by donating to our annual winter appeal.
Help keep our theatre open another 39 years! 

I am tapping away on my computer here in my office with a puppet hanging near me. Reminds me of my childhood and how lucky I was.

First stroke of luck was not being born alone. I arrived with my twin brother, Paul - a friend to talk to, adventure with, protect and defend, listen to, and explore the world with. We also were lucky to be born into a large-ish family of seven, so the house at 26 Samuel Road in Chelmsford, MA was buzzing with activity. Add to this scenario the fact that our parents were a British duo powered by resilience of having survived a world war, our mother a teenager in London and Dad stationed in Egypt. They ventured to Canada and then America in search of stability and peace. They brought with them however the whimsy and humor of Britain, and their love of books. Paul and I grew up in a house filled with inspiration for aspiring storytellers.

One of Peter's Pelham marionettes.  Did you know PST sells
other Pelham puppets in the puppet store?
Call 617-731-6400 for more info!
In my office, hung near my desk is one of the Pelham puppets bought on one of the birthday expeditions our mother would take us on. Year after year it was the same, a trip to Newbury Street in Boston, including lunch at the English Tea Room and the long-awaited visit to F.A.O. Schwartz across the street. There we were allowed to choose a gift, and that gift was always a Pelham puppet. Made in England, these marionettes were really a cut way above the cheap marionettes at the big toy store near our house. Our mother's pride of everything British underlined how special these were, as we gingerly pulled them out of their boxes on the train trundling its way back to the Lowell train station where Dad would be waiting to pick us all up.

Once home, Paul and I would inspect our collection. Over the years we added a beautiful puppet stage which gave us the official platform to share our marionettes with local kids. While we did a pretty impressive job for little kids, it was a trip to the Puppet Showplace in Brookline that blew the lid off things. Wow. We sat in the little theatre, jaws dropped, watching professional puppeteers transforming wood and strings into real worlds - not only with movement and voice, but lighting, sound effects, and music. It was magical! These extraordinary productions also allowed us to meet adults with talent and imagination. It planted that seed in us that when we grew up, we'd like to be just like them.

Marionettes at PST: Hansel & Gretel
by National Marionette Theatre,
Dec 20-23, BUY TICKETS
I like to think that we did indeed grew up to be creative kindred spirits. Not all kids get the experiences that Paul and I got and often grow up as their imagination, bravery and joy fade slowly over time. I am thankful I had a twin to share the creative journey with, a family that supported storytelling and whimsy, and experiences in the community, like Puppet Showplace, to nurture and fuel our imaginations and keep that fuel burning long into our adult years.

I am happy to say that my job as Chief Visionary Officer of FableVision Studios, co-owner of a book and toy shop, The Blue Bunny, and author/illustrator of picture books for all ages - all of these have roots in a creative childhood. I am one of the lucky ones. I do what I love and I love what I do - and that is a wish I have for all children - and adults too!

I'd love to encourage you to support one of my childhood inspirations, Puppet Showplace Theatre. I have personally made a contribution to support the great work of this historic and important gem. I hope you will too.