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

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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.

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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.

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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!"  

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