"Roxanna Myhrum"

World Premiere performance of "Robin Hood!"

NEW YEAR, NEW SHOWS! Series at Puppet Showplace
Puppet Showplace is proud to present two puppetry productions by Boston-based artists in their world premiere performances this January and February 2014! VIEW CALENDAR


"Robin Hood" by Brad Shur, Artist in Residence

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
Fri, Jan 17 at 7pm 
(Opening night performance, with reception to follow)

Sat & Sun, Jan 11-19 at 1pm & 3pm
Mon, Jan 20 at 10:30am & 1pm
(Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend!)

BUY TICKETS

Join us at Puppet Showplace for our second annual series showcasing new work for youth and family audiences. Past productions have gone on to tour across the Northeast to venues such as La Mama ETC’s puppet festival in New York City, Boston’s Outside the Box Festival, and Maine’s Mostly Puppets Festival. Each year the artists receive production support through the theatre’s Incubator program.

First in the line-up of new shows by Boston-based artists is the classic tale of "Robin Hood" created and performed by Brad Shur, Puppet Showplace Artist in Residence. Get ready for a rollicking adventure through Sherwood Forest with your favorite hero who's watching out for the little guy.  This imaginative re-telling gives thematic story elements an updated twist told against the classic backdrop of late 18th century England. The performance features an original score by composer, Paul Watkins.

Robin Hood, hand-made glove puppet by Brad Shur
About the show: Get ready to occupy Sherwood in this rollicking retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale. When the new Sheriff of Nottingham starts uprooting villagers' homes as part of a grand castle expansion scheme, the starry-eyed Robin sees an opportunity to save the day and fulfill his dream of becoming a hero. Of course, he'll need a little help from his friends. Join Maid Marion, Little John, and some unexpected puppet characters for this exciting forest adventure.

From the studio: characters from "Robin Hood," The Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin and Maid Marion 
About the performer: Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs regularly and teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult. As protégé of master puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis, Shur trained extensively in glove puppetry and currently performs two of Davis’ classic shows at venues across New England. Shur’s original works include "The Carrot Salesman," "Dr. Doohickey and the Monster Machine," "The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England" and "The Magic Soup and Other Stories," recently featured at the Puppeteers of America National Festival 2013.

Brad Shur, Artist in Residence with Maid Marion puppet right from the mold!
Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Shur toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder Shur has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. Shur is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Meet the production team! Brad Shur was joined by a team of incredibly talented artists to put the world premiere production of "Robin Hood" on its feet.  This includes stage director, Roxanna Myhrum and composer Paul Watkins.

Roxanna Myhurm, Stage Director with deer character from "Robin Hood" by Brad Shur
Stage Director: Roxanna Myhrum is the Artistic Director of Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA. In Boston, she has recently been puppetry director at the Huntington Theatre Company (Ryan Landry's M), Company One (She Kills Monsters), the Lyric Stage Company of Boston (IRNE award, Avenue Q), Underground Railway Theatre (Roots of Liberty), and Gloucester Stage Company (Carnival). Myhrum is a graduate of Harvard University and a former resident company member of the Eugene O’Neill National Puppetry Conference.

Paul Watkins, Composer
Composer: Paul Watkins is a composer and trombonist from San Jose, CA. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and psychology from the University of California, Davis, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. His music has been performed by Fifth House Ensemble, Freya String Quartet, Meridian Arts Ensemble, flutist Erinn Frechette, pianist Adam Marks, mezzo-soprano Jen Beattie, and the UC Davis Summer Symphony, among others.

At UC Davis, he was the recipient of the President’s Undergraduate Fellowship, the Outstanding Senior Award, and the Olga Brose Valente Memorial Prize for excellence in Music Composition (twice). His primary composition teachers include Kurt Rohde, Ross Bauer, Laurie San Martin, John Morrison, and Paul Brust. In his music, he has taken interest in exploring dense counterpoint, non-linear structures, visual and theatrical elements, improvisation, and forced audience participation.


PST Recognizes Norah Dooley, Co-Founder of massmouth, inc for Leadership in the Arts

Reflections on a Creative Leadership Award

by Guest Blogger: Norah Dooley, Co-Founder of massmouth, inc.

This Tuesday, June 4th, 2013  I am honored to receive a Creative Leadership Award at Puppet Showplace Theatre at the Garden Party Gala, celebrating the occasion of their 39th birthday. 

When we first approached Puppet Showplace, in 2010, with the idea of a collaboration, massmouth was just over one year old. We had long known and respected Puppet Showplace Theatre as a venue that supported the art form of puppetry which, much like storytelling, it is an art form with ancient roots that evokes rather than replaces imagination. We also knew that Puppet Showplace Theatre were successful. They had a history that showed grit and commitment that we could admire and aspire to; they had survived as artists and had maintained a continuously operating theater right in the heart of Greater Boston for over 3 decades.

Three years ago, we were whippersnappers, who had just finished our first season of story slams and believed we had a some social capital to share. And if leadership is boldly asking for what one needs, whether  appropriate or not, then I have earned some part of this honor -  although Cheeky Monkey Award would be a name better fitted to my style. We were beggars at the Puppet Theatre gate and  very seriously in need of inexpensive or free office space because our operations had outgrown bedroom/living room arrangement. I suggested a collaboration based on our needs. Ultimately and not surprisingly, the first date between massmouth and Puppet Showplace Theatre did not lead to a relationship.

Norah Dooley Introducing Maria Tatar at our first "Grimm and Twisted" fairytale slam at PST
 - also the 200th anniversary of the Grimms
Skip ahead to this spring.  I am reading ( more precisely, skimming)  the email announcing I was being honored with this award. At first glance I thought that I was being asked to write a recommendation for Roxie Myhrum.  She was the one who helped us find a way to work together.  How perfect, I thought. Roxie is someone with vision, passion and drive. She really deserves this kind of award. I was so delighted to be able to do a small favor for Artistic Director of the Puppet Showplace Theatre that I started to read the email, just to be sure I knew when the deadline for my recommendation might be. 

This closer reading revealed a mind-blowing truth - The Creative Leadership Award was being given to me and Roxie had been my nominator. I know. It was crazy!  Immediately I was on the phone asking Maria Finison, PST Board Member, if the award could be expanded to include the other organizers and founders of massmouth who are still active in Boston. Specifically, Doria Hughes who co-hosted and planned the series at Puppet Showplace Theatre with me and Andrea Lovett, who is always actively promoting the art of storytelling.  They both are leaders in the very best in contemporary performance of traditional material. But, no dice. This is an award for one person and Puppet Showplace Theatre wanted me. They cited the other areas of my work as fitting their criteria; my picture books, workshops, curricula etc. and so, although it is awkward to be so honored, I realized that I had to man-up and take one for the team.  So I accept this award for me as a representative of the art of  storytelling. 

Last summer after a different kind of overture we shared a proposal with Puppet Showplace Theatre and created a project that worked. It had been a dream at massmouth,inc. that we would one day be able to entice a theater or another arts group to support traditional storytelling.  This was an area of storytelling that we had mastered and worked in for decades. When we saw all storytelling on the wane, we started massmouth. When we saw the new energy slams brought to the art form we came up with an idea to mimic our successful 1st person story slams only using traditional content.

Doria Hughes, storyteller fabulosa,  traditional storytellers from Greater Boston and the region and I presented a monthly series of folk & fairy tale slams events right here. Our Slamming the Tradition: Six traditional storytelling events for adults were part open slam, where tellers presented stories no longer than 7 minutes, that were fiction and in some traditional form and part featured performer. Unlike our other story slams, tellers could include props, costumes and music BUT no notes. We secured the prizes and the audience chose winners: A bag of magic beans, magic wishing stone and a small bale of hay were award each month along with a gift card, donated by the Brookline Booksmith. Our first event was written up in ArtsFuse OCT 21 2012.

Performing with Susan Miron on February 14th, 2013 at PST
Audiences and performers enjoyed the project and you can read more about specific nights here. One of the highlights of our series for me was that I was able to create a program and present a feature on Feb 14th,  2013, telling longer stories from Boccaccio's 14th century collection of tales, The Decameron. Giovanni Boccaccio, a favorite of mine. He was an Italian author and poet, and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio is particularly noted for his natural, his skewering of hypocrites in high places, witty dialogue and his sympathetic female characters.

My stories ranged from naughty to lusty, and included romantic tales that came from ancient story traditions of India and the bards of the Holy Roman Empire. Susan Miron accompanied me on the harp. She drew on various ancient folk melodies and dances from Southern Italy. The music comes from authentic folk songs of Campagnia, Calabria, Puglia & Napoli as transcribed by John LaBarbera, mandolinist.

All the performers at "Love, sex and heads may roll." at PST
Thank you so much to Andrea, Doria and Stu, the co-founders of massmouth, to Paula Junn and Hannah Lapuh the staff, the Board of Directors and all the volunteers at massmouth. Thanks to all my friends and supporters especially Sheila Leavitt and Susan Miron. Thanks to all the storytellers and listeners. Thanks so much to all at Puppet Showplace Theatre. You are our artistic cousins and have treated us like family -and you all have been delightfully collegial and fun to work with besides.  And, saving the most important for last, thanks to my family for their support my art and endurance of my absences, rants and excesses as I follow a quixotic quest for a path that leads to right livelihood through work as an artist. Thank you, all.

Her Heroes Have Always Been Puppets

















Our very own Roxie Myhrum, PST's Artistic Director, was featured in the Globe this Thursday!

Andreae Downs' article highlights Roxie as the newest addition to our family and the role she'll play in the years to come. We're proud to have Roxie join us - her experience with a variety of theatre genres will certainly strengthen the programs we offer.

Please check out the article on boston.com. And come check out our upcoming shows - you may even meet Roxie while you're here.

Puppet Showplace Theatre in the news!

There's always a lot going on at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, from our family shows, to memorable birthday parties, to performances from our friends Kitsch in Sync, to other special shows like Ole Lukoie's Magic Winglets.

In the middle of all these great things is our great new Artistic Director, Roxanna Myhrum. Roxanna joins us with nearly twelve years of puppetry, theatre, and opera direction and dramaturge experience. Look for a full profile and photo in the Boston Globe later this week! In the meantime, check out this great profile from Boston.com:



In other PST news, local mask maker Eric Bornstein has been profiled by the Boston Globe. In addition to the article, there's a great image gallery of Eric's work at his shop, Behind the Mask. And if you want to see more of Eric's creations, just look up when you're in our lobby – our four, larger-than-life hummingbirds came from Eric's workshop!