"Family Activity"

Behind the Scenes at PST: Tales of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter at her country home

Harry's Not the Only Potter Around...

Hard to imagine there being another Potter, right?  Well, there is.  Can you guess who she is?  I think you got it: Beatrix Potter - you know, the woman who wrote the beloved Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Yes, the moment we hear her name, that cute rabbit, the one that wears a blue coat, pops into our heads, which is why we sometimes forget that Potter wrote other tales about other animals, too - some of which you will see in Applause Unlimited's Tales of Beatrix Potter, at PST Dec 6-9.  (BUY TICKETS).

Now, if you're not too familiar with the other tales of Beatrix Potter - don't worry.  I'm here to give you a little history lesson - one which you'll enjoy.  I promise!


About Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter - born Helen Beatrix Potter - was an English author and illustrator best known for her imaginative children's books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which celebrated British landscape and the countryside.

Born into a privileged family, Potter was exposed to things like art at an early age - as her parents were artists.  She was educated by a private governess until she was eighteen.  Her study of languages, literature, science, and history was broad and she was an eager student.  Her artistic talents were recognized early and although she was provided with private lessons, Potter preferred to develop her own style, particularly favoring watercolor.

Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which she published privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-color illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co.


The Many Tales of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter wrote a total of 23 tales - the first being The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), which was an immediate success.  Others that followed include: The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906), and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908) - all of which are featured in Applause Unlimited's show, The Tales of Beatrix Potter.


Potter's Illustrations


The Tale of Two Bad Mice tells the story of two mice who vandalize a dollhouse.  After realizing the food on the dining room table is made of plaster, they smash the dishes, throw the doll clothing out the window, tear the bolster, and steal some of the house's decor, taking them back to their mouse-hole.  When the little girl who owns the dollhouse discovers the destruction, she puts a policeman doll outside the front door of her house to ward off any future intrusion.  The two mice eventually feel guilty and make up for their crime spree by putting a crooked sixpence in the doll's stocking on Christmas Eve and sweeping the house every morning with a dust-pan and broom.

The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher tells the story of a frog who lives in a "slippy-sloppy" house at the edge of a pond.  One rainy day he collects worms for fishing and sets off across the pond on his lily-pad boat.  He plans to invite his friends for dinner if he catches more than five minnows.  He encounters all sorts of setbacks to his goal, and escapes a large trout who tries to swallow him.  He swims for shore, decides he will not go fishing again, and hops home.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck tells the story of a domestic duck whose eggs are routinely confiscated by the farmer's wife because she believes Jemima is a poor sitter.  Jemima searches for a place away from the farm where she can hatch her eggs without human interference, and naively confides her woes to a suave fox who invites her to nest in a shed at his home.  Jemima accepts his invitation, unaware of the following danger: the fox plans to kill and roast her.  Kep, a collie on the farm, discovers Jemima's whereabouts and rescues her just in time.


Applause Unlimited's Adaptation

Applause Unlimited offers a wide range of performances featuring fresh presentations of classic tales. Their approach includes masks, storytelling, music, and comedy in a unique combination that quietly educates as it entertains. Applause Unlimited has performed at festivals and in theaters worldwide. Their shows have been acclaimed by audiences, educators, producers, and sponsors of children's and family entertainment - receiving two Citations Of Excellence from the Union Internionale de la Marionette.

In their adaptation of Beatrix Potter's beloved tales - Applause Unlimited explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of "Two Bad Mice", "Jeremy Fisher", and "Jemima Puddleduck" seem to grow from her imagination.  

If you love animals, especially ones that have a habit of getting into all kinds of adventures, then be sure to come on down to PST this week to see Applause Unlimited bring some of Beatrix Potter's beloved tales to life!  You will love it.  That is a promise.

After-school Activities: PST's After-school Show Series Returns



PST announces Fall 2012  After-school Show Line-up

Starting Friday, October 5, Puppet Showplace Theatre is bringing back its after-school show time series for youth and family audiences. For the remainder of the Fall 2012 season, PST will present a 3:00pm show the first Friday of every month (October 5, November 2, and December 7).


Behind-the-scenes Access:

Ever wonder what goes into a puppet show? Well, you're in luck! Each performance will include a post-show behind-the-scenes puppet demonstration and a Q&A session with the puppeteer. According to Brad Shur, Artist-in-Residence at PST, “These performances are a great opportunity for kids to meet with artists, ask questions, and see how a professional puppet show works!”

Puppet-making Activity:

Following each performance, audience members are also invited to enjoy a FREE puppet making activity. All the materials will be provided by PST, and every child can make their own puppet to take home.

Tickets cost $12 General/$8 PST members/$8.50 for groups of 20 or more.

2012 Fall After-school Puppet Show Season Line-up:

The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen by Applause Unlimited – PST Premier!
October 5 at 3pm

Applause Unlimited celebrates one of the 20th century’s greatest storytellers - Hans Christian Andersen - with this magnificent UNIMA award-winning show. Sometimes serious and heartwarming, sometimes downright silly, but always fun, the show features storytelling and song as well as multiple styles of puppets in three of Andersen’s best loved tales: “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelisa,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Recommended for ages 4 & up.



Raccoon Tales by Paul Vincent Davis, performed by Brad Shur, PST Artist-in-Residence.
November 2 at 3pm

The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other. Will they learn their lessons? Three humorous tales, inspired by just-so-stories of the Seneca tribe, combine in this delightful show: 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. Hand puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up



Tales of Beatrix Potter by Applause Unlimited – PST Premier!
December 7 at 3pm

A solo puppeteer/storyteller explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of "Two Bad Mice", "Jeremy Fisher", and "Jemima Puddleduck" seem to grow from her imagination. Hand, Rod, and Shadow puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Organizations Unite to Promote Storytelling


Puppet Showplace Theatre to collaborate with storytelling 
nonprofit massmouth, inc.

This 2012-2013 season Puppet Showplace Theatre will be teaming up massmouth, inc., a nonprofit organization focused on promoting storytelling in the 21st century, for a new partnership to promote traditional storytelling in Boston. The non-profit organizations are set to collaborate on all-ages, family storytelling performance-and-workshops with massmouth, inc.'s Norah Dooley as well as adults-only Folk and Fairytale slams.

Storytelling Workshop Series Dates

How to Tell a Great Fairytale,” Oct 8 from 3-5pm - Experience the magic of a well-told traditional tale, then learn how storytellers can make fantastical characters and settings come to life using the power of words and imagination. Bring a favorite fairytale, or use one from our collections! Register Here

Family Stories,” Dec 2 from 3-5pm - Heirlooms, attic boxes, old photo albums...Is your house filled with the beginnings of great stories? Just in time for the holidays, learn how to turn mementos and memories into compelling tales that can be shared with friends and family. Bring a photo or any object that reminds you of a person or event in your life or family history. Or simply bring a memory that you think would make a good story. Register Here

Single registrant: $25/person ($20 PST members)
Family pricing: $25/ first participant, $15 additional ($20/$10 for PST members).
Children under 13 must participate with an adult.

massmouth, inc.

Founded in August, 2008 by Norah Dooley, Andrea Lovett and Doria Hughes, massmouth, inc. is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit committed to promoting the timeless art of storytelling in the 21st century through digital and social media, education and live performance. massmouth aims to reinvigorate storytelling in Massachusetts and restore it to its rightful place as a recognized art form.  Additionally, the organization hopes to improve storytelling’s accessibility to all and empower others to listen to, create, and share their stories through education and community outreach. 

For more information, check out massmouth's website. 

Norah Dooley
Norah Dooley, workshop leader


The massmouth, inc./PST collaboration has been spearheaded by massmouth founder Norah Dooley. A storyteller, critically-acclaimed children’s author and educator, Norah started a story slam series in Greater Boston as co-founder of massmouth, inc. Additionally, Norah has published six storytelling CDs, and her widely acclaimed picture book, Everybody Cooks Rice is one of four titles in a series about her former neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass. She teaches storytelling, performance skills, directs theater, and performs in schools, libraries and teacher’s conferences. Norah was the featured storyteller in the Christmas and Spring Revels in Cambridge and Boston, Mass., the Cambridge River Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Albany NY River Festival, 3 Apples Storytelling Festival, MA and at the Clearwater Festival.

For more information about Norah, visit her website.  




2011-2012 Season Kick Off at Puppet Showplace!

September * October * November

Puppet Showplace Theatre is proud to announce our first annual Fall Fairytale Festival! It's our celebration of the "once upon a time" tales and the "long ago and far away" places that people have cherished for generations. Each week from September to November features a different fairytale (or two) ranging from the beloved classics to modern adaptations. View the full schedule online.

Fall Fairytale Kick Off Event, Labor Day Weekend!
September 3rd & 4th, 1pm & 3pm

Featuring: Pinocchio by National Marionette Theatre

BUY TICKETS

Join us on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend for a special season kickoff event! We will feature a return performance of the spectacular Pinocchio by National Marionette Theatre--completely sold out in July!--and we'll have activities, refreshments, and a new puppet exhibit on display.


Thank you for an amazing summer season! It was a memorable one with with exciting premieres by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre and National Marionette Theatre, as well as returning favorites including Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers and Pumpernickel Puppets.

Special Note: Puppet Showplace Theatre will be CLOSED Sunday, August 29th through Friday, September 2nd to prepare for the upcoming 2011-2012 Season. Order your tickets for Pinocchio online!

Raccoon Tales by Brad Shur

THIS WEEK AT PST
"Raccoon Tales" by Brad Shur

Weds, Thurs, & Sat | July 20, 21, & 23 | 10:30 am & 1 pm
$8/Members, $10/General Admission


About the show: The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other. Will they learn their lessons? The show includes three humorous tails inspired by the Native American tales of the Seneca Tribe: How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick EachOther; Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn't; and, Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail.

Hand Puppets, Recommended for ages 4 +


About the performer: Brad Shur, artist in residence at PST, has been professionally involved in puppetry for nearly 10 years. As a fan of all types of puppetry, Brad has built and performed with rod puppets, hand puppets, shadow puppets, larger-than-life costume puppets, Japanese bunraku puppets and marionettes. His shows are high energy blends where at least a few of these styles come together with storytelling, original scripts, and lots of audience participation.

You can catch Brad at least twice monthly at Puppet Showplace Theatre, performing any one of six shows in his repertoire: "Raccoon Tales," "Here Come the Clowns," "The Singing Turtle," "Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine," "The Carrot Salesman," and his newest production "The Magic Soup and Other Tales."

Brad is also an experienced teacher and offers workshops and classes for all ages on site at PST or private bookings in addition to extended residencies. This programming includes shadow, hand, and rod puppets, or custom workshops. Click
here for more info!

(Brad Shur and participants from Summer Saturday Workshop Series, July 2011)

Vacation Week Continues with "A Wild & Furry Puppet Adventure!"


"A Wild & Furry Puppet Adventure" by
Theatre of Life


TUES, WED, & THURS | April 19, 20, & 21 | 10:30AM & 1PM

About the show: Sammy Snail would rather watch TV and play videos than play outside. A crazy set of events sends Sammy on a wonderful adventure into the natural world, and encourages recycling, preserving habitats and outdoor nature exploration. With lots of songs and audience interaction!

An Upbeat musical opener will have audience singing and signing our connection with the natural world and conservation of resources. This show encourages families to turn off lights and appliances, carpool, take a bus, ride a bike or walk. Plant a tree. Buy locally. Recycle & conserve through local food choices are some of the ways to be a good steward of the Earth. There is growing evidence linking the lack of nature in children's lives and the rise of obesity, attention disorders and depression.

About the performer: Lesley Smith is a renowned ventriloquist, puppeteer and singer/songwriter employing the vehicles of humor, dynamic vocals and puppetry to entertain corporations, festivals, school children and their families across the country. As a New England Foundation for the Arts touring artist, the Theatre of Life Puppets has become a premier educational entertainment troupe.

Lesley was chosen from puppeteers across the world to attend the Eugene O'Neill Puppetry Conference in 2005 as an Emerging Artist. This is the same conference that launched Tony Award winning "Avenue Q". That same year, their website www.sammysnail.com won the 2005 NH internet awards for Best Children's Site and top honors as Best of Show out of 200 nominated sites and agencies represented in the contest. Sammy Snail's website was designed by the creative team of Hatchling Interative Studios.

Lesley's early career was in theater, starring in many productions at Durham Center Stage, regional theater, commercials and industrials. She toured professionally as a lead vocalist and bass player in bands of every description, genre and style and still had time to work full time as Director of Recreation Programs and Parks for the town of Newmarket NH for nine years. Lesley's passion is singing gospel and spiritual music in churches across the U.S. Lesley resides with her husband Mark Abramczyk, three sons; Trey, Rowan and Bo and their 110 lb dog Gracie in Durham NH.

Theatre of Life Puppets provides workshops, artist-in-residencies, keynotes and special events for elementary and middle school students, adult groups, organizations and businesses. They specialize in one-of-a-kind comedy skits and in conflict resolution, bully prevention, tobacco prevention, social competency skills, nutrition and environmental education.

BUY TICKETS

Vacation Week Begins at PST!

"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
by Spring Valley Puppets


Saturday & Sunday| April 16 & 17 | 1PM& 3PM
Monday | April 18 | 10:30AM & 1PM

We kick off our school vacation week programming with the beautiful classic tale A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Spring Valley Puppets. Vacation week shows are at 10:30am and 1pm Monday through Friday, and at 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. And YES, we are open on Easter Sunday!

About the show: This performance features two delightful stories! The first is The Three Wishes, in which Henry and Gretchen must choose wisely when they are granted three wishes. Nest is the title story, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, where a hungry wolf tries to outwit the savvy shepherd and make a meal of the helpless little lamb. Helpless? Maybe not! Adapted from the Aesop fable, this popular story is enlivened with a colorful Mexican setting, a humorous communication gap and a surprise ending! Hand puppets.

This show is recommended for Ages 3 & up.

About the performer: Michael Graham, puppeteer and director of Spring Valley Puppet Theater, has been performing since 1966 throughout New England, primarily for schools and libraries. He has performed at regional and national festivals of the Puppeteers of America.
He designs and makes his puppets, writes his own scripts, creates the scenery, and does a number of the voices. Michael graduated from Western Connecticut State College, and studied with the renowned puppeteer Albrecht Roser from Stuttgart, Germany, at the University of Connecticut. Learn more about Spring Valley Puppets at www.springvalleypuppets.com

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More about… “Sleeping Beauty” by Tanglewood Marionettes

Saturday and Sunday | December 18 & 19 | 1PM & 3PM

About the show:
In this retelling of the classic fairytale of finding love with a true heart, a painted storybook opens to reveal each scene. Performed with marionettes. This show is recommended for ages 4 and up.

About Tanglewood Marionettes:
Peter Schaefer was born into a family of puppeteers and has been performing with hand puppets, rod puppets and marionettes since he was a child. After refining his skills with a local puppet company for several years, Peter purchased a marionette show from a retiring Boston puppeteer and launched his own company: Mountain Marionettes. After touring nationally for two years, in 1993 Peter decided to join with a fellow puppeteer and form a new company: Tanglewood Marionettes.
Over his career, Peter has brought his unique marionette artistry to hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country!

Tanglewood Marionettes [official site]

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Puppet Showplace welcomesThe PuppeTree on November 6th and 7th!


This weekend, Puppet Showplace Theatre welcomes a NEW company to our stage! The PuppeTree was founded by Ann Legunn and tours widely from its home base in Vermont. They will be presenting their fabulous piece "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." This shadow spectacle uses three puppeteers! We are excited to see the show come to life on our stage.

The PuppeTree’s mission is to promote an appreciation of the performing arts, with an emphasis on children’s theater and puppets, among diverse audiences. Rather than start a traditional puppet or theater company that just performs theater pieces before an audience, founder Ann Legunn created a “touchable” theater--one in which members of various community groups could become active participants in all aspects of theater arts. The Puppetree is unique in that the participants not only build puppets, but are encouraged to handle those made by Ann--something usually forbidden by most puppet companies--the way they would handle other props, costumes, and scenery.

To this end, the PuppeTree will kick off Puppet Showplace's children's workshop series with a great hands-on workshop! Immediately following their 3:00 pm show on November 6th, members of the troupe will lead a hands-on shadow puppet construction and manipulation activity at the theater. Tickets are $5, or just $3 if purchased in conjunction with a show ticket. Don't miss this exciting event! Buy Tickets Online or call the theatre for reservations at 617-731-6400.


Funded in part by the New England States Touring Program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts Agencies.