I was all set to write my regular Weekly Puppetry News Round-Up when suddenly a man picked up a projector and a shadow puppet and the most incredible thing happened. You won’t believe what happened next…actually, I just read a great review of Canadian-born, Australia-based puppeteer Jeff Achtem’s show Swamp Juice. The reviews for it are great (see the one listed below) so if you live or are visiting down, be sure to check it out at the Adelaide Fringe Festival this month!
Now, on with your regularly scheduled Weekly Puppetry News Round-Up…
A team of international students from Southeast Asia using puppetry to help combat dehydration in northern India have won Duke University’s first annual STEAM challenge prize.
Incredible – and apparently genuine – video of a solider taunting a sniper using an improvised puppet (no confirmation of where the video was shot, but it’s believed to be somewhere in Syria with Uzbek speaking soldiers).
Australia & New Zealand
A review of Bunk Puppets’ Swamp Juice at the Perth Fringe, which next plays the Adelaide Fringe February 14-March 16th.
The UK’s annual Manipulate Festival is upon us!
Elsewhere in England, a new take on Punch and Judy inspired by the tragic Jimmy Savile case in the United Kingdom is upsetting people in Brighton.
Latin America & The Caribbean
A successful Columbian program that uses Sesame Street characters to promote healthy eating is being exported back to the United States.
The lineup for the Castelier’s 2014 Puppetry Festival in Montreal has been announced (link goes to a French language website).
Also on the horizon in Montreal is the latest edition of the Café Concret puppet cabaret.
Famous PEOPLE Players are celebrating 40 years of creating black light magic.
Birdbone Theatre is touring Ontario and Quebec, using puppetry to talk about safety and Canada’s controversial Line 9 oil pipeline.
The Out Trout Puppet Workshop is in the midst of bringing Ignorance to Saskatoon.
UConn’s Spring Puppet Slam takes place this weekend at UConn’s Studio Theater at Storrs, Connecticut.
A review of Bread and Puppet’s Shatterer of Worlds, which finish its run at the Boston Center for the Arts this weekend.
New York street puppeteer Ricky Syers helped FOX Sports create a Pizza Hut commercial for Superbowl Sunday.
Sandglass Theater is bringing D-Generation to New York February 6th-19th.
Cheryl Henson talks about puppetry and why puppeteers sometimes don’t like to call themselves puppeteers.
The recipients of this year’s grants from The Jim Henson Foundation have been announced.
Also announced this week were the recipients of Ibex Puppetry’s 2014 Puppet Slam Grants.
Some of those puppet slams are happening very soon…the UCONN Puppet Slam and The Valentine’s Puckin’ Fuppet Show took place this weekend; Phoenix’s Heartbroken Puppet Slam, the Puppets After Dark Cabaret in Minneapolis, and Los Angeles’ Anti-Valentine’s Day Puppetzilla Puppet Slam are all coming up in the next week.
Bob Abdou bills himself as “The World’s Only Beatles Puppeteer”.
Is he an internationally successful comedian? Sure, but deep down Ricky Gervais is just a dancing Muppet.
Also starring with the Muppets is Terry Crews, who appears in Toyota’s new Muppet Superbowl ad.
The first ever KIDabra Midyear Conference (KAX) hosts a wide range of family and children’s entertainers – including many puppeteers and ventriloquists – in Oxnard, California this weekend.
International Auditions & Job Opportunities
Horse + Bamboo are seeking an Arts Team Assistant for a six month paid internship in the United Kingdom.
Red Herring Puppets has immediate openings for two puppeteers to complete an American tour of their award-winning production of Aesop’s Fables beginning February 17th. Contact Lisa Sturz via firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
International Calls for Entry
Horse + Bamboo Theatre are offering a two week training residency in conjunction with their puppet festival in Lancashire, United Kingdom in May.
A puppetry symposium at the University of Connecticut March 29-30, 2014 called Objects, Environments, and Actants: Intersections in Material Performance has issued a call for Academic papers. Contact Emily Wicks via email@example.com for more information.
The 3rd annual Festival Internacional de Títeres Salta-Argentina is now accepting performance proposals from international puppetry companies. The deadline for applications is March 20th (link goes to a Spanish language website).
International Workshops & Training Opportunities
*Add classes from http://hensonfoundation.org/index.php/puppet-happenings/professional-classes
UNIMA South Africa is currently accepting applications for Pro-active, a hands-on program that offers individuals and community-based theatre groups in South Africa’s Western Cape training in puppetry and visual performance. For more information or to apply contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is February 7th.
A “Puppets, Performers & Direction” workshop with Mervyn Millar and Liz Walker is being offered at the Manipulate Festival February 5-7th.
In Bristol, United Kingdom The Puppet Place is launching their 2014 workshop series for professional puppeteers. Topics to be covered include marketing, touring and creating technical riders.
Puppets in Prague are offering a nine day Skeleton Marionette Carving Workshop in Prague, Czech Republic April 5-13th (they’re also offering more carving workshops later in the year, check their web site for full details).
Why Puppets? is the name of a new puppetry course taught at Universidad de Granada February 25 and March 6 in Granada, Spain (link goes to a Spanish language web site).
Artistry at Hand: An Adventure in Creative Puppetry is an intensive introductory weekend workshop offered by New England Puppet Intensive co-director David Lane at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts February 28th through March 2nd.
An eight week Puppetry for TV, Film, and Video class with the Brooklyn Puppetry Conspiracy kicks off in New York City February 8th.