Behind the Scenes of "The Great Red Ball Rescue"

The Challenges and Rewards of Developing New Work
by Guest Blogger: Sarah Goone, Artistic Intern

Puppet Showplace Artistic Intern Sarah Goone shares her experience assisting local artist Faye Dupras with the creation of "The Great Red Ball Rescue." The show is part of the 2014, "New Year, New Shows" series of world premiere performances by local artists. VIEW CALENDAR

I started working with Faye Dupras on "The Great Red Ball Rescue" a few weeks ago at her studio in her home, which was such a wonderful experience. She let me design and build some important props for her show based off of my own artistic ideas, and really encouraged me to do what I felt was right for the show.

Props created by Sarah Goone for "The Great Red Ball Rescue"
It was another situation in which I would be allowed to have the opportunity to play such a big role and hold so much responsibility for the set of a show. I think that it challenged me as an intern, a student, and an artist in taking the risks to trust my own instincts and skills to create something for another artist’s piece.

Set piece painted by Sarah Goone for "The Great Red Ball Rescue"

Once we moved the show to the Puppet Showplace Theatre for tech week, I helped Faye with her pre-set and am now running the light board for the rest of the shows while I am here. It’s really interesting for me to work the lights because I have only ever been involved in theater as an actor or in stage/costume crews, never in the sound or light area. It’s also great because I get to see the show so many times, and as a new piece of work, I can witness the changes that keep happening.

Sarah Goone and her "The Great Red Ball Rescue" display.

Feast your eyes on "The Magic Soup and Other Stories"


The Ugly Truth
"The Magic Soup and Other Stories"
by Brad Shur, Artist in Residence

Fri, Nov 29 at 10:30am & 1pm 
Sat & Sun, Nov 30-Dec 1 at 1 & 3pm


Puppet Showplace is proud to present a collection of Yiddish folktales that brings the whole family together for a wild puppet adventure! This original story featuring favorite tales from the Jewish folk tradition was written by Artist in Residence, Brad Shur. He designed the set, hand built all of the puppet characters, and performs the show solo. Feast your eyes on the magical world of "The Magic Soup and Other Stories" this Thanksgiving weekend at Puppet Showplace! (Friday performances are already SOLD OUT, so make your reservation today!)

From the story: "The Very Small House"
About the show: What do you do when your relatives are coming over for dinner, but there's no food in sight? A young man's search for a family recipe ends up bringing folk tales to life...in his kitchen. Based on a collection of traditional Yiddish stories, "The Magic Soup" teaches that it is those with wit, humor and imagination who have the best chance of filling their bellies -- and fulfilling their dreams.

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. Shur is currently working on a new adaptation of "Robin Hood," set to open in January 2014. 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.
Brad Shur, Puppet Showplace Artist in Residence

The Circus comes to BROOKLINE!


Swing on the trapeze and dance down the high-wire at Puppet Showplace this November! This week, we unfurl our first “Circus Spectacular” series with four circus-themed puppet shows for audiences of all ages, and new puppetry classes/workshops for adults and teens.


"The Fairy Circus" by Tanglewood Marionettes

Thurs & Fri, Nov 7 & 8 at 10:30 am
Saturday & Sunday, Nov 9 & 10 at 1 pm & 3pm
Mon, Nov 11 at 10:30 am & 1pm


About the show: Tanglewood Marionettes invites you to be a spectator at this dazzling display of circus acts performed in an enchanted garden. "The Fairy Circus" is a showcase for turn-of-the-century style trick puppetry, performed by over 20 beautifully handcrafted marionettes. Fairies, field mice, and other small critters dance, play instruments, juggle, contort, transform, and fly through the air with the greatest of ease, all to the music of favorite classical composers. Each performance includes an interactive puppetry demonstration before and after the show!

About the artist: 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.

Peter and Anne Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes
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.

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: www.tanglewoodmarionettes.com

Coming soon! The Great Small Works’ International Toy Theater Festival on Tour

Guest blogger: Holly Hartman, PST Volunteer Media Consultant

Holly Hartman
I first attended a show at the Puppet Showplace Theatre several years ago, when my then-six-year-old niece was visiting Boston. I was dazzled, both by the skill of the puppeteer—the enthralling Sarah Lamstein—and the candid absorption of young audience members. They beamed at the arrival of a friendly kitten puppet, shrieked at onstage silliness, and cringed when a tiny Beelzebub rose up from behind the curtain. Afterward, a few children stayed to “meet” one of the puppets; they held its small hands and spoke to it as if to a new friend, apparently oblivious to the presence of Lamstein.

Since then I’ve also discovered PST's offerings for adult audiences, which have included some of the most memorable and ingenious theater productions I’ve seen anywhere. A troupe from Bavaria, Saltamontes Puppet Arts, enacted a mysterious tale with bunraku-style animal figures; Vermont’s Modern Times Theater used cardboard cutouts in a droll retelling of a political fable by Herman Hesse; recently, a marionette puppet slam blew my mind with wood and string. I have noticed that in the presence of puppetry arts I can be as awed and credulous as any six-year-old.

Right now I’m particularly excited about a traveling show that will be landing at PST at the end of this month: The Great Small Works’ International Toy Theater Festival.

Get Ready for Toy Theater…

One of the many things I’ve learned at PST is that there’s currently an international revival of “toy theaters” (aka “paper theaters” or “model theaters”). These mass-produced Victorian miniatures, complete with paper scenery and characters, were a popular form of home entertainment in nineteenth-century Europe. A wondrous variety of contemporary theater artists have contributed to their revival. “Toy theater festivals happen all over the world,” says PST artistic director Roxanna Myhrum, “consistently amazing audiences with the power of performance-in-miniature.”

"Living Newspaper" by Great Small Works
After a residence at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (how’s that for a credential?!), the traveling part of this year’s festival will make a stop at PST, on June 28 and 29. Both nights will feature a cabaret-style production by three acclaimed theater companies. I'm really looking forward to seeing their work in the intimate space of PST.

Facto Teatro, "Don Chico con Alas"
Facto Teatro (Mexico City) will perform “Don Chico con Alas” (Don Chico with Wings), based on a surrealistic story by Mexican author Eraclio Zepeda. Barbara Steinitz and Björn Kollin (Berlin) will use live music—and a suitcase for a stage—in“Schnurzpiepegal” (Like Master, Like Dog), a humorous meditation on urban life and human-pet dynamics. Great Small Works (New York, but founded by veterans from Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theater) will bring together words and images from modern-day media in “Living Newspaper,” a new work that addresses the issue of American gun violence.

…and a Family Matinee

“Schnurzpiepegal” (Like Master, Like Dog) by Barbara Steinetz and Björn Kollin
Never fear: kids will have the chance to get in on the toy theater fun, too. On Saturday, June 29, PST will host two daytime shows of “Schnurzpiepegal” (Like Master, Like Dog), each followed by a free workshop, where artists Barbara Steinetz and Björn Kollin will help children create their own toy theater puppets.

Just the Facts!

Evening cabaret on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m. (Recommended for adults and teens 13+.) Tickets: $15 General Admission/$13 Members. Cash bar.


Family matinee on Saturday, June 29, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (Recommended for ages 3 & up.) Tickets: $12 General Admission/$8 Members. Followed by a free puppet-making workshop; PST will provide materials.


Spring at PST Kicks off with Tales from Africa!

"Leopard Learns a Lesson" by Magpie Puppets
Fri | Mar. 1 | 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun | Mar 2, 3 | 1 PM & 3 PM


This is Magpie Puppets newest performance! The story is adapted from an African tale from Malawi. Leopard is always bullying and frightening smaller animals until Rabbit turns the tables on her with the help of the jungle’s two largest beasts, Elephant and Rhinoceros. The audience learns, along with Leopard, that cooperation works better than intimidation. The show features hand puppets, plus original music by Alison Reid! Recommended for ages 3 and up.


What a great lesson to learn! You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You and your children will be greatly entertained well also reinforcing the wonderful lesson of teamwork.  


Maggie Whalen, Director of Magpie Puppets, a one-woman hand puppet theater, has been performing puppet shows for children and adults since 1969. In 1971, she founded and directed Poor People's Puppets in NYC, which performed in its own storefront theater from 1971 - 1974. She has worked with the Bread & Puppet Theatre in Vermont and Theater for the New City in New York. In addition to performing, Maggie has taught puppet-making workshops at schools, community centers and even at Club Med!

Magpie Puppets is included in the Massachusetts Cultural Council Performing and Touring Roster and is a participant in the New England States Touring Program.

Learn How to Build Giant Puppets at PST!


THINK BIG: Giant Puppet Construction and Performance Class
Six sessions | March 11 - April 15
Monday nights | 6:30-9:00 pm

Not so little anymore? No need to fret, the bigger you get, the bigger the puppets! We invite teens and adults alike to join us and learn how to build your own larger-than-life puppet. Come and THINK BIG at PST in this empowering workshop.

Register by March 1: $150 + $20 materials fee. After 3/1/13: $175 + $20 materials fee. PST members save 10% on registration!


Participants will learn techniques for designing and constructing giant puppets from simple materials such as cardboard, papier mache, fabric, and recycled objects. Topics will include large-scale designing, flat-to-3D building, cardboard fabrication, strong papier mache, painting, transportation planning, and puppet manipulation. Participants will each complete their own giant puppet, and will have opportunities to perform with Puppet Showplace Theatre in various community art events throughout the year.


From "First Night" in Boston to "Wake up the Earth," festival in Jamaica Plain, street protests to community festivals, giant puppets are everywhere! 

"First Night" in Boston
"Wake up the Earth" festival in Jamaica Plain

This workshop is led by PST’s own Artist in Residence Brad Shur. Brad performs almost every month at PST as well as teaches classes and workshops to students aged 3 to adult. For nearly 15 years he has been professionally involved in puppetry since he began as a performer with the Providence puppet and Mask Company Big Nazo. He has worked in various capacities with Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee), and Vermont PuppetTree, and as a builder has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.  
PST Artist in Residence, Brad Shur

Vacation week Continues with All Hands Productions!


Here at PST, we are excited to host David Stephens, the founder of All Hands Productions for two exciting titles.  Celebrate Feb Vacation with a puppet show!

About the Artist:
His mission was to expose families across the Southeast to quality, entertaining puppet shows. So, he toured venues in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He became a regular performer of original works at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta (2002-2004). In 2003, “Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff” was featured at the National Puppeteers of America Festival in Tahlequah, OK. This performance came in the middle of a tour that found Stephens performing at venues in New York, Massachusetts, Missouri and Alabama's rural schools. Also in 2003, Stephens received a Telly Award (which spotlights works in the television, commercial, and music video industries) for his collaboration with Pensacola, FL singer/songwriter, Brian Meece. Scruff, a shaggy, white sheepdog character, created and performed by Stephens, was featured in Meece's music video “Playground.”

David Stephens with the audience in the PST lobby.
In 2004, Stephens was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council On the Arts. This grant helped to fund an exhibit of Stephens work as a puppeteer at the Eastern Shore Arts Center in Fairhope, Alabama. “Puppets and Process” showcased Stephens original puppet creations alongside their designs and sketches. This exhibition drew record numbers to the gallery. Later in the same year, Stephens received one of puppetry's highest honors: “Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff” was awarded a 2004 UNIMA-USA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) Citation of Excellence. Created by Jim Henson, who founded the US chapter of UNIMA, the Citations honor outstanding works in the art of puppetry. With this award, Stephens joined the ranks with some of puppetry's most exceptional practitioners. www.allhandsproductions.com

Join us this February Vacation week for ALL of These Fantastic shows by ALL HANDS PRODUCTIONS!

The Reluctant Dragon by All Hands Productions
Tues & Wed & Thur | Feb 19 & 20 & 21 | 10:30 AM & 1:00 PM


About the show: Princess Penepole loves to read about dragons. Imagine her surprise when she actually meets and befriends one! Upon discovering the potential threat of a dragon in the palace, King Rhubarb charges Sir Reginald to fight the dragon. Will it be a fight to the death? Will it be a draw? Will they even fight at all? Find out in All Hands Productions version of “The Reluctant Dragon.” This show was funded in part by a 2008 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant. Recommended for 3 & up.

Jack and the Beanstalk by All Hands Productions

Fri | Feb 22 | 10:30 AM & 1 PM
Sat & Sun | Feb 23 & 24 | 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM

About the show: You may think you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, but you've never seen a version like this. Join David Stephens and All Hands Productions for a different look at the tale of Jack and his encounters with some magic beans, a beanstalk, a giant and some other fairytale favorites. This production is guaranteed to please audiences of children and giants alike. Recommended for 3 & up.

New Year, New Shows: A Note From the Artist

PST Presents the WORLD PREMIERE performance of...

"Squirrel Stole My Underpants" by Bonnie Duncan

Sat & Sun: Jan 26 & 27 at 1pm & 3pm
Thurs & Fri: Jan 31 & Feb 1 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun: Feb 2 & 3 at 1pm & 3pm


About the Show: Sylvie is sent to the backyard to hang up the laundry. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When Sylvie gives chase, an entire world emerges from her laundry basket, and curious characters show her the way through mysterious lands. Will our lonely heroine rescue her underpants and discover the magic within herself? Join us on this adventure to find out!

Bonnie and Tim:
 "They Gotta Be Secret Agents"
About the Performer: Bonnie Duncan had already travelled the world as an acrobatic dancer and award-winning fringe theatre artist when she took a break from touring to raise her three young children. Bonnie found herself wanting to tour the world again, but this time with a show for kids. In addition to trying out ideas for the piece in her living room (her husband, Dan Milstein, directed the show), the growing community of local puppeteers nurtured by the Puppet Showplace Theatre gave Bonnie the resources to complete the work.

Bonnie Duncan has been creating and performing work as a dancer, puppeteer, and actor for the past 13 years. She danced for 8 years with Snappy Dance Theater and in 2007, formed “They Gotta Be Secret Agents” with Tim Gallagher, to create work mixing dance, theater, puppetry and circus arts. Her work has been shown in theaters in Boston, Providence, New York City, San Francisco, Austin, TX, Germany, and Czech Republic. The Secret Agents were awarded Austin Critics Table Award for “Best Touring Show of 2011,” Best of the Fringe, San Francisco, and were nominated for Most Innovative Show at Prague Fringe Festival.

The Making of Squirrel Stole My Underpants

Bonnie Duncan and her three Children.

Squirrel Stole My Underpants came at a time in my life when I was looking for a change.  I have three small children—a four year old and two 19 month old twins. Before I’d started a family, I’d worked part time as a drama teacher, and, in every free minute, thrown myself into a blizzard of art and performance making—dance, puppetry, costume design, circus arts.  But with my oh-so-wonderful and yet oh-so-demanding family, that just wasn’t proving to be possible anymore.

Creating a show I could tour for family audiences felt like it brought a lot together: I could draw on all the (weird, wonderful, and totally unmarketable) skills I had developed; I could build a schedule around my family life (and maybe even have an excuse to take them all on the road with me); and I could get back to what I love—making art.

Squirrel 4.0
I was lucky enough to obtain early support from Puppet Showplace Theatre and the Jim Henson Foundation.  With the time that gave me, I was able to really delve into what can make a family show feel wonderful. Many ideas came and went but a few themes stuck with me:  how hard it is to grow up, those magic items that make you feel secure as a kid, and the injustice of something being taken.  And, thus, Squirrel Stole My Underpants began to take shape. 

Fast-forward ten months and here we are:  premiere week at Puppet Showplace. 

Top Ten Things I learned from this process:

1. Kids will always get sick the week of a deadline.  Sleep goes by the wayside and some things just don’t get done---whether it is laundry or fixing the broken rod on a puppet.

2. Once I surrounded myself with amazing collaborators, my work got better.  The musicians, costume designer, director, and set designer are all super talented and I feel so lucky that they are on my team.
Bonnie on the set of "Squirrel Stole My Underpants"
3. If you need to know if something works on stage, show your kid.  Then, show his friends.  If they don’t like it, scrap it. 

4. Having the support of the Puppet Showplace & Henson Foundation gave me structure, a place to rehearse, business advice, connections for assistance--you name it.

5. Some things work on paper.  A lot of those things don’t work on stage.  Make a mock-up first, put it on its feet, build it out if there is promise.  Then throw it out if it still doesn’t work.

6. I built four versions of the main character before I found the perfect design.  Sometimes you just have to make things over and over before it is right. 

7. At some point during a rehearsal, I looked up and laughed hysterically.  I realized that I am in my 30s and making a show about hot pink polka dot underpants and squirrels.

8. Procrastination is part of the process.  The internet, baking an elaborate cake, and just staring out the window are part of it all.  It may feel like the show will never get made but it does especially when there is a deadline involving the possibility of embarrassing yourself in front of strangers.

9. Having a studio space in my apartment was key.  When the kids napped, I worked with no commute time.  My husband (who directed this show) and I also worked in our dining room in the evenings after everyone was asleep.  Working from home made everything possible.

10. This may be a solo show but it is far from a solo process.  Family, friends, and colleagues made this possible.  Without them, I would still be staring at a blank stage.

I feel very thankful that Squirrel Stole My Underpants.

--Bonnie Duncan

This week in Puppet Playtime....

Two 5-week sessions: Weds @ 10:30am 
Last week's Puppet Playtime with Bella:
 "Adventure in the Night Sky"
Jan 16 - Feb 13; Feb 27 - Mar 27



What a blast! Our BRAND NEW programing for toddlers and tiny tots kicked of last week, to great success. This interactive program is designed especially for little ones and their grown-ups to sing and sway along, and join in the fun. Today, Puppet Playtime performer, Phil Berman returns as a guest blogger to talk about the program, and give us a sneak-peek at what is in store for tomorrow!


Phil Berman

What a whirlwind week! It's hard to believe that Brenda, Bella and I are already on our second episode of PUPPET PLAYTIME. The three of us had a blast last Wednesday on our adventure in the night sky with all the kids and grown-ups who braved the snow to play, sing songs and experience the magic of live puppetry.

As a kids' performer with no children of my own, I spend a lot of time thinking about how my work can best fit in with the busy lives of the families we entertain. With very young children it can be a hassle to leave the house to go anywhere, let alone attend arts events! What can my work offer to kids and grown-ups alike that makes each show a "must-see?"

What I saw last week was a beautiful preview of things to come: parents, caretakers, relatives and lots of little tykes playing with their familiar faces. By the end of the program, kids were singing, clapping and laughing together (as well as some of thier older companions.) I hope that this feeling of family and community continues to grow as we continue with the series through the winter.

Tomorrow we're in for an icky treat at PUPPET PLAYTIME: we'll march with the ants, meet a quartet of quarrelsome critters, wash out spiders and feed some very hungry caterpillars. Leave the OFF! at home, because this buggy adventure is sure to bring a smile to kids and grown-ups alike.

See you at the theater!


Come dance, play and pretend with us, Wednesdays this winter at 10:30am!

World Premiere Performance Series starts with Songs and Shadows

Chris Monti and "The Fox"
“Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England” by Brad Shur and Chris Monti
Saturday & Sunday | Jan 19 & 20 at 1pm & 3pm
Monday | Jan 21 at 10:30am and 1pm 


Puppet Showplace Theatre (PST) will present two world premiere performances of puppetry works created by Boston-based artists as part of the theatre’s “New Year, New Shows!” series, running from January 12 – February 3. The series begins with "The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England", by PST Artist-in-Residence Brad Shur and Folk Musician Christopher Monti.  There are additional performances on Monday, Jan 21st at 10:30am and 1pm.  PST is open for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday!  As part of the theatre's shows in repertoire, look for "Yankee Peddler" on our calendar in the spring and beyond- it is sure to become a fan favorite!

Behind the puppet stage: Brad Shur's signature shadow puppets
performed on an overhead projector

In this brand new show, two very different types of media come together to create storytelling magic! Both shadow puppetry and live music have a long history and tradition rooted in rich cultures of many peoples all over the globe. Brad Shur’s signature shadow puppetry style uses cut-outs manipulated on a overhead, and then projected onto a large screen.  During the entire show,  Chris Monti is the only performer visible to the audience. This creates a unique interaction between performer, spectators and characters on the puppet screen. Chris as the live performer acts as a go-between to draw the audience into the two dimensional world of the shadow puppets.

Chris Monti and Brad Shur

Puppeteer Brad Shur knew he wanted to make a show with live music, so he tapped folk musician Chris Monti to collaborate on “Peddler.” Comrades and past roommates, this storytelling team is a perfect pairing of sound making and tale-crafting. Together, they scoured songbooks and dusted off folklore anthologies in search of material that would make for good visual storytelling while celebrating life in the Northeast.  Chris dove into the depths of his own repetorie that comes from playing with New England folk musicians and old time musicians. As an example, the song “The fox” comes from the Scotts who compiled a book called “Ballad of America.” The text is a history of America through folk song. 


After narrowing down an enormous list to 10 songs and stories, the result is a collection of unique folktales. All of the stories are pieces of folklore from the New England region. Some are based on historical facts, others express interesting cultural practices, and a few even tell the tall-tales of local mythology folk heroes. Every part of the world has their own arts and stories. New England has its own history with its own flavor, and “Yankee Peddler” reflects those traditions and local culture.

From "The Mammoth Cheese of
Cheshire Massachusetts"
One of the stories is a piece of real history about giant cheese. This is clearly the kind of history you can’t ignore! The performers picked stories that had unexpected elements, with a lot of energy, and room for silliness. “The Mammoth Cheese of Cheshire Massachusetts , is the true story about Thomas Jefferson and the gift of a giant piece of cheese. Another historically inspired story is “Letters to Rats” which comes from actual letters found in old houses written by people in colonial times addressed to vermin infesting their homes and eating their food. These stories come from a broad range of social classes, including characters from a mayor to the president, and sailors, and even animals!
Often when we study American History, we first address the Revolutionary War, or the Civil war, but Brad and Chris didn’t want to explore Old New England culture using military history. War is only one small facet of history, and it is not something these performers wanted to glorify. They are instead interested in celebrating a different kind of hero. 

One such hero in “Yankee Peddler” is the famous Stormalong who battles with his own demons and whose hero status emerges because of his determination- and also his enormous girth! Stormalong is part of the same tradition as Paul Bunyan and John Henry who found fame in being very good at the thing they loved, and putting their passion into it. Have you ever seen Stormalong face-off with the Kracken, a giant octopus sea creature? Now is your chance! 

From "Cluck Old Hen"

Other stories in the show feature man’s connection to nature. Living more closely to the grand out doors was a huge part of life in old New England. In “Yankee Peddler”, expect to see forest creatures galore, like “The Fox” who dives into his den, and a bear who needs a little help getting dressed in “Jenny Jenkins”, some rats who love to eat cheese and crackers with jam in “Letters to Rats”, and the fastest egg-slinging hen in the east in “Cluck Old Hen.”

Chris Monti rehearsing in the PST lobby

All of the music in the show is performed live by Chris Monti.  The orchestration is mainly vocals, harmonica, guitar, kazoo and a few other noise makers like a triangle and symbol crashes for those pointed moments requiring special effects. Chris composed original music and adapted licks from fiddle tunes for incidental music that underscores about half of the shadow puppets stories.   Other visuals in the show are entirely based on the songs themselves.


“Yankee Peddler” has benefited a lot from wonderful feedback of other local puppeteers and performing artist during its development. Scenes from the show were workshopped in 2010 at the Eugene O’Neil Puppetry Conference in Connecticut, as well as at PST’s own Incubator program for the development of new works. The show received support from the Harris Grant Program of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.


Rehearsal footage from "Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs of Old New England"


“This is Americana, but a different kind of Americana. It will make you proud to be a New Englander for reasons you never thought!” –Brad Shur

Brad Shur created over 100 shadow puppets for
"Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England"

Puppets at the Pru!

31 Nights of Light at the Prudencial Center

The Shops at Prudential Center will shine a light on Boston organizations this holiday season. Each night, the top of Prudential Tower is lit a different color in support of that night's partner. 31 Nights of Light was created to help community organizations gain key visibility during the holiday season. Participating groups will "flip the switch" each night, with a host of musical performances and speakers each night. LEARN MORE

On Friday, December 28th, the Prudential Tower will light up orange at 5pm in honor of Puppet Showplace Theatre!

Help us Celebrate
Join us from 12:00pm to 5pm for a puppet extravaganza!
  • Puppet making activity: Make your own snowman puppet!
  • Enjoy displays of puppets made by our founder, Mary Churchill and Artist-in-Residence Emeritus, Paul Vincent Davis.
  • Bella Monster and friends will be there too with stories and songs!
  • And don't forget to help us "Flip-the-switch" at 5pm!
Stop by anytime between 12pm and 5pm, we will be in the Huntington Arcade, next to the South Garden.

Directions to the Prudential Center: CLICK HERE

PST Launches "Lend A Hand" Fundraising Campaign


Since 1974, Puppet Showplace Theatre has inspired audiences of all ages with the magical world of puppet theatre, but we can't do it without YOU!

Our fundraising goal this year is to raise $39,000 in donations in honor of our 39th year. We need to raise $15,000 of that amount by the end of December. Any donation, large or small, is tax deductible and deeply appreciated! MAKE A DONATION

Our ticket sales barely cover half of our operating expenses, the rest comes from generous members and supporters. We urgently need you to lend us a hand to keep our mission for arts, imagination and creativity alive and well into the future!


You can also send your donation to Puppet Showplace Theatre, ATTN: Winter Appeal, 32 Station Street, Brookline, MA 02445.


Some of our generous donors have pledged to double their gift if someone matches it. We currently have matching challenges at the following levels: $150 (2 challenges),$250 (2 challenges), $500 (1 challenge) and $1000 (1 challenge) If you pledge to donate one of those amounts before January 1st, your donation will be DOUBLED!

EMPLOYER MATCHING: Ask your employer if they have their own matching donation program — many do! If Puppet Showplace Theatre is on their list, your gift can be doubled! Call 617-731-6400 for help to get this started at your work!


The first 10 donors who pledge $150 or more will receive a beautiful full-color Puppet Theater Calendar, featuring puppet companies from across the country (including Puppet Showplace Theatre!)

ALL donors who pledge $500 or more will receive a calendar, and ALSO receive a signed vintage 8x10 photograph of PST co-founder and award-winning puppeteer Paul Vincent-Davis.

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.”  

Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator comes to PST


The 2nd Annual 

Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator
by Lionheart Puppets
Sat & Sun | Sept 8 & 9 | 1pm & 3pm

Put on your thinking caps, and dust off your detective gear to help us find out who done it this week at PST! Join Jack Tuesday on his adventure to help Little Bo Peep find her lost sheep.

About the show: Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them...But Jack Tuesday's the guy who can figure out why someone would try to hide them! Audiences will love this original "whodunit" mystery show, starring a cast of familiar storybook characters and the world's greatest (and only?) fairytale detective.
Hand and rod puppets, recommended for ages 3 & up.

About the performer: The Lionheart Puppet Company is owned and operated primarily by Matthew K. Leonard, who holds a BFA in Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Leonard has worked for other puppet companies including, Purple Rock Productions, The Great Arizona Puppet Theater and the Paper Moon Marionettes. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Guild of Puppetry.

Fall Fairytale Festival 2012 Kick-Off Weekend!

2nd Annual Fall Fairytale Festival
2012-2013 Season Kick-Off Event
this Labor Day Weekend at PST!

Cinderella by Tanglewood Marionettes
Sat & Sun | Sept 1 & 2 | 1pm & 3pm

Join us this weekend for a very special celebration of mythical stories and fantasy lands! The 2nd Annual Fall Fairytale Festival at Puppet Showplace Theatre Kick's off this Labor Day weekend with complementary refreshments provided by Whole Foods Brighton, a special guest balloon-animal artist, and other fun activities! Get ready for a magical time at PST!

About the Festival: (September 1 through October 14) Castles, giants, woodland fairies, talking frogs... do you love fairytales as much as we do? We are proud to once again kick off our season with the annual Fall Fairytale Festival. Experience classics like Cinderella and The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen while discovering original adaptations like Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator. We’ve fit more beanstalks, princesses, and house-building pigs than you can imagine onto our stage.

About the show: Set in the eighteenth century and featuring a dozen lavishly costumed 30” marionettes, this production of "Cinderella" is a Tanglewood Marionettes showpiece. The story unfolds as the pages of a giant book open to reveal each beautifully painted setting--the village square, the rustic kitchen, the magnificent ballroom, plus many more (one of our scenes even “pops” right out of the book!). All your favorite characters are here, from gentle Cinderella to the bumptious stepsisters and the charming Prince, and each marionette is manipulated with precision and grace by our talented puppeteers. Our telling is based on the original beloved tale, but we do offer a few new surprises: Cinderella’s method of conveyance to the ball is NOT your traditional coach-and-four, and, when all hope seems lost, a clever little bluebird saves the day for Cinderella. A classic fairy tale told with wit and style, Tanglewood Marionettes’ production of "Cinderella" is sure to please audiences of all ages.

About the performer:  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! 

Performance Schedule
(Sept 1 - October 14)

The Magic Of Hans Christian Andersenby Applause Unlimited

Cinderella by Tanglewood Marionettes
September 1 & 2 | 1pm & 3pm
Marionettes. Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator  PST PREMIERE!
by Lionheart Puppet Company
September 8 & 9 | 1pm & 3pm 
Hand and Rod Puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Jack and the Beanstalk by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre 
September 15 & 16 | 1pm & 3pm
September 17 | 10:30am & 1pm
Mixed styles. Recommended for ages 4 & up.

The Three Little Pigs by WonderSpark Puppets
Sept 22 & 23 | 1pm & 3pm
Three Little Pigs by Wonderspark Puppets
Mixed styles. Recommended for ages 3 & up. 

The Frog Prince by Pumpernickel Puppets 
September 29 & 30 | 1pm & 3pm
Hand puppets. Recommended for ages 3 & up.

The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen
by Applause Unlimited
October 5 | 10:30am & 3pm October 6 & 7 | 1pm & 3pm
October 8 | 10:30am & 1pm
Mixed styles. Recommended for ages 4 & up. 

A Woodland Cinderella by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer! 
October 12 | 10:30am October 13 & 14 | 1pm & 3pm
Hand Puppets. Recommended for ages 3 & up. 

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre Stops by for some Magic Soup

From Left: Roxanna Myhrum (PST Artistic Director),
Jaime Keithline (Crabgrass), Brad Shur (PST Artist-in-Residence),
 and Bonnie Hall (Crabgrass) on the set of "Magic Soup."
As New England's oldest and only puppet theatre open all year round, Puppet Showplace Theatre is also an important center to support the work of local puppetry artists, and where puppeteers come to support each other's work.

On Thursday, August 9th, Crabgrass Puppet Theatre from Halifax Vermont came to Brookline to take a special behind the scenes look at PST Artist-In-Residence, Brad Shur's newest production, "The Magic Soup and Other Stories".  This puppet show is on stage for one more day this month, Saturday August 11th with performances at 10:30am and 1pm  BUY TICKETS and will return to the stage during Thanksgiving week for PST's "Feast of Food and Folktales" this November.

Jaime and Bonnie of Crabgrass have been creating puppet theatre together since 1982, and were impressed with Brad's new show.  Here's what they had to say about the performance: "What a great show! It is so exciting to see that young puppeteers like Brad are making such strong new work" and "Brad is a wonderful actor, and the design is beautiful and well done."

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre will be on stage next week, August 15th through 18th, with a brand new performance of "Jack and the Beanstalk." More Info.  Join us for a special post-show reception to meet the performers and enjoy refreshments sponsored by the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry after the 10:30am show on Saturday, August 18th.

My New Favorite Thing: Yiddish Folk tales

Me and my new friend "Truth", a character from one of the
 Yiddish folk tales in "Magic Soup & Other Stories."
Attention Puppet Fans,

I, Bella Monster, have discovered something amazing that I need to share with all of you. It's my new favorite thing, Yiddish folk tales! They are imaginative and entertaining stories that have been passed down from generation to generation in Jewish culture. What makes them different from other folklore is they also help teach you about life, family and community in the Jewish tradition.

These stories are told at festive occasions like weddings or at synagogues and also at home with close friends. Storytelling was a favorite past time among the community. Anyone could tell them, but some people gained reputations as the best storytellers.

I found these stories very interesting because I come from a Monster background. Growing up in my family, my monster parents always told me stories about my people, like the Lochness Monster and Big Foot. What kind of stories did your family tell you about your culture? Please tell me in comments, I love to learn new things!

If you're interested in experiencing traditional Yiddish Folktales, puppet style, come to PST this week! The traditional Yiddish folk tale, "The Magic Soup", teaches us that those with wit, humor and imagination can fulfill their dreams.

Magic Soup & Other Stories
by Brad Shur, PST Artist-in-Residence
August 8-11 | 10:30am &1pm
Buy Tickets

Here are a few more Yiddish stories:

The Instruments: There was a great pipe made of reed in the Jerusalem Temple. The pipe dated back to ancient times and played exquisite music. The King, knowing how valuable the pipe was, ordered it to be covered in gold. But after it was, it no longer played great music. So they took the gold off, and it once again played well.

Story of Chelm: The town of Chełm decided to build a new synagogue. So, some strong, able-bodied men were sent to a mountaintop to gather heavy stones for the foundation. The men put the stones on their shoulders and trudged down the mountain to the town below. When they arrived, the town constable yelled, "Foolish men! You should have rolled the stones down the mountain!" The men agreed this was an excellent idea. So they turned around, and with the stones still on their shoulders, trudged back up the mountain, and rolled the stones back down again.

The Pants: A Rabbi commissioned a tailor to make him a new pair of pants. Six days later, the tailor delivered it to him in person.  “Thank you for the pants,” he said to the tailor. “But allow me to ask this question: Since it took the Lord six days to create this entire vast universe, how is it that it took you six days just to make a single pair of pants!”

“Rabbi,” the tailor replied, “that is easy to explain. Just look around you at the mess that the Lord made. And now look at this exquisite pair of pants!”

If you are interested in even more stories, here are some other traditional Yiddish folk tales that you can read about! Collected from people of all walks of life "Yiddish Folktales" has over 200 tales by research associate at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, Beatrice Weinreich. 

As Always, Love,

Bella Monster

My New Favorite Thing: Middle Eastern Music

Welcome Puppet Fans!                                                                
I am here to give you your weekly addition of me, Bella Monster with my new favorite thing. An Arabian Adventure is playing this week at PST! This is a tale of a Persian Prince imprisoned for his love of a beautiful princess who must stop at nothing to save her from a terrible fate. The soundtrack for the show is traditional Middle Eastern music that transports you to another time and place entirely new. Join me on this adventure!

An Arabian Adventure 

Aug 1, 2012 - Aug 4, 2012 

The music is hypnotizing and exotic. I wondered what made it so different from the music I am familiar with? My curiosity led me to my new favorite thing, Middle Eastern music! Here's what I learned. Traditional Eastern music uses what is called, Maquams, melodic modes which are said to evoke a different emotion in each listener. Each time we hear these maquams we all feel a different feeling, unique to who we are! Isn't that amazing that we can all hear the same sound but have a different feeling?

Our music or Western music uses chords but traditional Eastern music will have one instrument carry the melody while the others layer melody scraps or rhythm segments over it. When we listen to this we are absorbing new musical rhythms, musical notes and melodies. Listen to the arabic instruments in this video below. How do these new sounds make you feel?

Here are some of the most popular instruments in traditional Middle Eastern music seen in the video. 

Oud - A string instrument with 11 strings and no frets.

Riq- The Arabic tambourine.

Darbuka- A popular percussion instrument.

Ney - Resembles the flute in instrument and sound but is very difficult to play.
I can't wait to experience the exciting arabian tale this week at PST with the beautiful instruments I just learned about. Hope to see you there! 

Bella Monster

Magic, Adventure and Marionettes at PST!

An Arabian Adventure by Tanglewood Marionettes
Wed- Sat | Aug 1st - 4th | 10:30am &1pm

Hop onto your magic carpet, and take an adventure to the magical land of the Middle East this week at Puppet Showplace Theatre.

About the show: Featuring over a dozen beautifully hand-crafted marionettes and exquisite "story-book" style scenery, "An Arabian Adventure" tells the tale of a Persian prince who must battle his way out of a dungeon to save his beloved princess from a tragic fate. Long: Featuring 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 soundtrack features professional acting set to the background of classical music from favorite composers, as well as traditional Middle Eastern music.  The program is presented with the marionettists in full view, so that the audience can witness firsthand the mechanics of puppet manipulation.  Replete with clever stage illusions and lighting effects, “An Arabian Adventure” is an action-packed drama that is sure to delight audiences of all ages while introducing them to the magical world of puppet theater.

About the performer: 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! More Info.

The Clown Circus - only at PST!

WedJuly 2510:30am & 1pm
ThuJuly 2610:30am & 1pm
FriJuly 2710:30am & 1pm
SatJuly 2810:30am & 1pm

Step right up, and join us for a Circus this summer at PST! This isn't just an ordinary circus - it's a clown circus with beautiful and colorful hand crafted glove puppets made by PST's Artist in Residence Emeritus, Paul Vincent Davis.

About the show: Clowns come in all shapes and sizes, but everything about them is larger-than-life. Join Dusty and his friends Pierrot, Zany and Guffaw for this fun, interactive variety show that features circus-inspired singing, dancing, storytelling and more!

Recommended for ages 3 & up.

About the performer: Brad has been professionally involved in puppetry for nearly 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. Brad recently finished working with the Vermont PuppetTree as a freelance puppet designer and performer.

He has experience in teaching workshops and classes for students of all ages and hopes to be known in the future as an Arts Educator. Brad has a passion for performance and describes his style as “carnival barker” driven by interactive audience dialogue.
He is thrilled to join the Puppet Showplace Theatre as its Artist in Residence!