December Vacation Week is ALMOST HERE!

Puppet Showplace Theatre's Snowy Stories series continues with...

"Hansel and Gretel" 

by Tanglewood Marionettes
Thurs & Fri, Dec 19 & 20 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, Dec 21 & 22 at 1pm & 3pm


It's the last week of school before winter break, and we have quite a line-up of holiday fun in store for you! Follow Hansel and Gretel into the forrest for an exciting gingerbread adventure performed by Tanglewood Marionettes this Thursday, Dec 19 through Sunday, Dec 22.

Take a look at all of our upcoming school vacation week performances: VIEW CALENDAR

About the show: In this original adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel need to work together, using both brains and bravery, to find their way out of the woods. This beautifully hand-crafted production by Tanglewood Marionettes begins with an interactive puppet demonstration and features enchanting music from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" opera.

About the performer: Founded in 1993 by Peter and Anne Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette company whose unique productions have been seen by hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country. With seven shows currently in their repertoire, the company performs year-round at venues ranging from school assemblies to renowned cultural institutions.

Performer Peter Schaefer was born into a Boston-area family of puppeteers and has visited Puppet Showplace since he was a child. After apprenticing with the Bennington Puppets, Peter launched his own company, “Mountain Marionettes,” before joining with Anne Schaefer and fellow Bennington puppeteer Stephen Hancock to form Tanglewood Marionettes.

Performers Jennifer Tebo and Peter Schaefer
Performer Jennifer Tebo discovered her love of puppetry while pursuing a degree in Theater and Classical Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has been touring with Tanglewood Marionettes since 2004 and plans to spend a lifetime in puppetry.

The company has received two UNIMA awards, puppetry's highest honor, for their productions An Arabian Adventure and The Dragon King.

Tanglewood Marionettes believes above all that a performance is a communal experience, with connections established not only with the performers, but also between members of the audience themselves as they laugh together, gasp together, and cheer together when the good guys prevail! More info: http://tanglewoodmarionettes.com/

Go Behind the Scenes of National Marionette Theatre

One Father, Two Sons, 114 years of Marionette Performance!
by Guest Blogger: Honey Goodenough, puppeteer
Honey and the Cricket from NMT's "Pinocchio."
Performing with the National Marionette Theatre (NMT) is like performing with a piece of history. The National Marionette Theatre has been part of the Syrotiak family since 1967 when it was founded after the World's Fair in NYC. Father, David Syrotiak Sr. saw his first puppet show in second grade and was hooked. He began building marionettes at age 11, with the guidance of Rufus and Margo Rose. By lying about his age, he started performing professionally at 15 with The Berkely Marionettes.  In the summer of 1953, he toured with the Suzari Marionettes, and later Nicolo Marionettes performing with fellow contemporaries such as Wayland Flowers, Nick Coppola, and Pady Blackwood.
Signed book by Rufus and Margo Rose, pioneer marionettists,
given to David Syrotiak Sr. at the age of 12 (1948)

He enlisted in the Army to qualify for the GI Bill, where he wrangled his way into The Special Services, where he commandeered his own puppet workshop and performed cabaret style marionette performances for fellow US troops. Some of his duties included hosting and greeting performers such as Velma Middleton and Louis Armstrong. After completing his term in the Army, he attended The Silvermine School of Art in Connecticut. His performance credits include Sid and Marty Kroft and Bil Baird, performing shows at the New York World's Fair alongside fellow performers such as Carolee Wilcox, who later became the shop manager for Henson Associates.

A scene from NMT's "Pinocchio."
All four of the Syrotiak children, including Maggie, Catie, David Jr. and Peter have performed and voiced characters for The National Marionette Theatre.  David's wife, Marianna, has performed with the company for many years, and even now the legacy is being shared with Steven Syrotiak, David and Marianna's 15 year old son, who joins the company as a sound tech and crew for their production of "Peter and the Wolf." This week at Puppet Showplace Theatre we are performing "Pinocchio," which is the only show where all four of the Syrotiak siblings voice characters.
Joining a Legacy

I joined the company in January, and began rehearsing under the direction of David J. and Peter Syrotiak.  I first began by running sound for "Peter and the Wolf," and shortly after was invited to perform "Sleeping Beauty" and have now joined them for this week's performances of "Pinocchio."  One of the highlights of the training process has been performing with the Syrotiak brothers, and then receiving notes from their father, David. When you add all their years of marionette performance together it totals 114 years.  In my brief time touring with the company, we have been hosted in some of the most lovely theaters and museums throughout the Northeast. I am proud to say that this native Texan has now toured all of the New England states - sometimes all in the same day!  I enjoy the long drives and the view of the New England countryside as well as sampling the local fare - my favorite being fresh New England lobster! The Syrotiaks are not only are meticulous marionettists, but are equally as passionate about cuisine and are amazing chefs!

Honey rehearsing "Sleeping Beauty" with David Sr.
Housed in the Green Mountains of Battleboro (VT), The National Marionette Theatre has a beautiful workshop/performance space where they rehearse and build all their shows. It is 1600 square feet filled with marionette shows and memories. They house 350 marionettes from more than 20 different shows that range throughout their repertoire. Touring is a conglomeration of performers. Since we all live in different states spanning from Pennsylvania to New York and Vermont, we convene at the studio to collect the show, pack the car, and then drive to the venue for sometimes more than 11 hours.  

The Syrotiak Technique

The Syrotiaks perform with American style airplane controls but with several unique modifications. They use a yoke string on their marionette's arms which connect their puppet's hands and forearms, this creates a subtle automatic wrist action. They also use elbow strings on almost all of their marionettes, which gives their puppets a broad range of action and variety of expression. The most surprising modification for a new puppeteer to their company is that they perform with gloved hands and without a proscenium. The performance and the performers are in full view of the audience at all times. On a number of occasions, our audience  has remarked on our intricate manipulation and performer cooperation throughout the show. Many of the scenes require quick passes from one puppeteer to the next. The backstage action is as delicately choreographed as the performance on stage. Our audiences see a show within a show! 

Honey, David Jr. and Peter Syrotiak after a performance of "Peter and the Wolf"

Journey from Apprentice to Master

After 12 years of training with marionettes in New Jersey and throughout the NYC area, I still consider myself a student of the craft.  I have been fortunate to have  studied with marionette artists such as Phillip Huber, Jim Rose, Nicholas Coppola, Steve Widerman, Kevin Frisch and Jim Raccioppi. The more I learn from the Syrotiak family and fellow performers, the more I learn about the rich history of marionette performance throughout the United States. Now when I compare marionette styles and controls, I not only see the puppet, but also the influences of all the marionette performers that came before me. The art of puppetry is a living curriculum that is best shared through apprenticeship and practical experience. This community truly is a family of performers united by their passion for puppetry.

David Sr, Honey, and Paul Vincent Davis (Puppet Showplace Aritst-in-Residence Emeritus)

Go on an Arabian Adventure!

An Arabian Adventure
By Tanglewood Marionettes
Thurs | March 21 | 10:30 AM
Fri | March 22 | 10:30 AM & 3:30 PM
Sat & Sun | March 23 & 24 | 1 & 3 PM

Recommended for ages 4 and up.

About the show: The adventure features over a dozen beautifully hand-crafted marionettes and exquisite “story-book” style scenery, “An Arabian Adventure” tells the tale of a Persian prince who is thrown into a dungeon because of his love for a beautiful princess. Facing danger at every turn, the courageous prince must battle his way out of the underground prison to save his princess from a tragic fate.

The program is presented with the marionettists in full view, so that the audience can witness firsthand the mechanics of puppet manipulation.

About the performer: Tanglewood Marionettes was founded in 1993 by Anne Ware and Peter Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette theater based in New England. There repertoire consists primarily of classic tales performed by skilled puppeteers who have spent many years perfecting their art.

Perhaps you have seen them perform locally at places such as The Children’s Museum in Boston, The Yale Art Gallery or First Night, just to name a few.

Tanglewood Marionettes

What is a Marionette?
Marionettes are puppets that are manipulated by strings or rods. They are one of the oldest forms of puppets with their roots going back to ancient Egypt were they were created out of ivory, wire and wood or clay. In Rome ivory dolls that could be articulated through the use of rods from above have been found in tombs. Puppeteers in Sicily continue to use similar puppets to this day! 

Silly Ghosts and Ghouls come to PST!

PST Halloween event, 2011 "Spooky Story Station"
October 19-28
View Show Calendar

For two weeks this October, Puppet Showplace Theatre will be taken over by sweet and silly spooks. The “Halloween Extravaganza” will take place on October 19 - 28, featuring two different Halloween themed puppet shows, and an off-site appearance at the Brookline Lincoln School’s annual “Pumpkinfest.” 
Audience members are welcome to attend performances in costume! 


Dr. Doohickey’s Monster Machine by Brad Shur, PST Artist in Residence
Friday October 19 | 10:30am Saturday and Sunday October 20 & 21 | 1pm & 3pm 

Dr. Doohickey thinks that the world would be much more exciting if people were a little more like
monsters, don’t you? Join the doctor and his assistant Reginald the Rabbit as they use music, machines and a little magic to bring funny monsters to life. Moving-mouth and shadow puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up. Tickets: $12/general admission, $8/PST members. 

About the artist: Brad Shur, PST Artist in Residence has been professionally involved in puppetry for over 10 years. He first began as a performer with the Providence puppet and mask company Big Nazo while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and has toured nationally with Wood & Strings Theatre, a marionette company out of Tennessee. As a teaching artist, he teaches workshops and classes for students of all ages.

The Witch Who Wasn’t by Wayne Martin Puppets
Friday October 26 | 10:30am Saturday and Sunday October 27 & 28 | 1pm & 3pm 

“The Witch who Wasn’t” is a delightful tale about a little witch who can’t do anything the least bit scary and who dreads attending her first Halloween witches convention. Her short story is followed by visits from a happy juggling pumpkin, a roller-skating demon, and a compliment of scarecrows, witches, ghosts and silly monsters all performing unique tricks for your treat in this hilarious Halloween-themed variety revue. Hand puppets, rod puppets and marionettes. Recommended for ages 4 & up. Tickets: $12/general admission, $8/PST members.

About the artist: Wayne Martin has been featured in numerous award winning television programs and commercials. These include critically acclaimed educational and training films and his very own television series and specials that have earned him two Emmy Award nominations. At the top of his profession for nearly forty years, Wayne’s credits include guest appearances with Symphony Orchestras and work as principal manipulator for industry greats, the Heiken Puppets, Sid and Marty Krofft Productions and Jim Henson’s Muppets, among others. Having designed and built over two thousand puppets to date, Martin’s act has appeared with such established artists as Bob Hope, Dolly Parton, The 5th Dimension and The Temptations.


Pumpkinfest @ Lincoln School
Sunday October 21, 12-4pm 

Bella Monster sure could use YOUR help
to get into the Halloween Spirit!

Join Puppet Showplace Theatre artists at Brookline’s Lincoln School for an afternoon of FREE monster-related puppet activities and crafts. Learn about mouth puppetry, make your own monster puppet, and meet some of our favorite furry monsters including Bella, PST’s “Monster in Residence.”  

My New Favorite Thing: Puppetry Festivals!

Hello to all my favorite people,

Fall is steadily approaching! It's almost time for playing in the leaves, apple picking, pumpkin carving and Oh! Halloween! Where you can dress up like spooky, scary things! I'm a monster and supposedly I am scary but Monster is just my last name. I am filled with sweetness like all of you. I use Halloween as an opportunity to show everyone how adorable I am.

However, my absolute favorite thing about Fall is our Fall Fairy tale Festival, which is a collection of fairytale puppet shows presented throughout the season of Fall.

Fall Fairy Tale Festival
September 1 - October 14

To kickstart this year's event is "Cinderella" by Tanglewood Marionettes. The classic story we all know and love told in wit and style, and featuring your favorite characters in a whole new look of lavishly costumed marionettes!

Cinderella by Tanglewood Marionettes
Sat 9/1/2012 & Sun 9/2/2012 | 1pm & 3pm
Buy Tickets!

I am so excited for our upcoming event that festivals are my new favorite thing! So what is a festival and what does it mean to be festive? A festival is a day or period of celebration. We do lots of celebrating at PST for all the performers who put on great shows for everyone. To be festive is to have a joyous or merry mood. I am always full of joy! I think I have been participating in more festivals than I realize... 

If you love celebrating the art of puppetry with merry or joyous people, you might be interested in some of these other puppet festivals.

Puppeteers of America Festivals
September 7-9, 2012

Puppet Festivals are Awesome! They also have great opportunities for performers to do slam pieces, network, and volunteer. There is a regional festival happening this September 7-9 in New York, lets go!

Puppets In The Green Mountains
September 22-30, 2012
Annual Puppet festival held every other year in Sothern Vermont. Check out the site for more info.

The Grand Auditorium Puppet Festival
October 5-7, 2012
Set in Ellesworth, Maine with performances by FrogTown Mountain Puppeteers, Tanglewood Marionettes, Nappy's Puppets and The Manipulators it is the ultimate celebration for any puppet fan. More info at www.grandonline.org.  

In the mean time, lets try and make every day a festival and be merry together!

The always joyous,
Bella Monster  

More About... National Marionette Theatre

NATIONAL MARIONETTE THEATRE is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment. The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.

More About... Hansel & Gretel

The story of Hansel and Gretel has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In National Marionette Theatre's newest production, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brother’s stories to life. Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel is sure to delight audiences of all ages!


Wed, July 14 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 14 @ 1:00 PM
Wed, July 15 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 15 @ 1:00 PM