By Tara Nicole Haas
In our production of The Selfish Giant, we are using many puppets, including a carnival sized puppet for our main character, the giant. Developing the giant has been a fascinating process, and our directors have pulled inspiration from many different professional companies from all around the world. Below are two of the most notable and influential puppet companies researched for our production. Look for a blog post next week for two more professional companies.
Bread and Puppet Theater:
• A politically radical puppet theater active since the 1960s and is currently based in Glover, Vermont. The name Bread & Puppet is derived from the theater’s practice of sharing its own fresh bread, served for free, with the audience of each performance as a means of creating community, and from its central principle that art should be as basic to life as bread.
• The Bread and Puppet Theater commonly participates in parades including Fourth of July celebrations, notably in Cabot, Vermont.
• Bread and Puppet is often remembered as a central part of the political spectacle of the time, as its enormous puppets (often ten to fifteen feet tall) were a fixture of many demonstrations.
• The Bread & Puppet Theater has received National Endowment for the Arts grants and numerous awards from the Puppeteers of America and other organizations.
• Bread and Puppet uses their art for specific political causes and activism – specific causes over the years have been:
- To shut down Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
- Support for Daniel Ortega’s Sandinistas after a junta had taken over Nicaragua in 1979
- The Zapatista Uprising of 1994
- The MOVE Organization
- Opposition to registering for the draft
- Opposition to the World Trade Organization
Photo by Walter S. Wantman, ©1980’s. Some rights reserved.
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre:
A puppet company from Minneapolis, Minnesota, that began in 1973. The company utilizes large, carnival puppets and has written and performed scores of full-length puppet plays, performed throughout the US, Canada, Korea and Haiti, and toured the Mississippi River from end to end. They are best known for their annual May Day Parade and Ceremony that is seen by as many as 35,000 people each year.
Image Courtesy of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis
Photo credit not found ©2014. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
For more images and information about the company, please visit http://hobt.org/performances/.