2008 Grants



Imperia Saves the World
by Concrete Temple Theatre
Photo by Carlo Adinolfi

Concrete Temple Theatre (New York, NY)
Imperia Saves the Worldis a play with music and songs, incorporating puppets & technology and starring: Imperia, a fictional goddess; Margaret Thatcher; Winnie Mandela, and Indira Gandhi, as well as their male counterparts. The piece comments on the history of ownership through an examination of land, media, & power divisions.

Faye Dupras (Worcester, MA)
Bird's Eye View is about a prisoner under surveillance who is obsessed with flight and escapes into a miniature world of her own creation. Set to an original musical score Bird's Eye View is a visually evocative mult-media puppet show inspired by Oscar Wilde and his work.

Soozin Hirschmugl (Minneapolis, MN)
Still It Moves is a puppet and visual theater performance based on the lives of Galileo Galilee and Giovdano Bruno, a predecessor of Galileo by 25 years who was burned at the stake for his own philosophies of a Sun centered universe.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater (Minneapolis, MN)
Beneath the Surface is an innovative puppet and mask production that examines issues about water qualtiy and stewardship through a unique blending of original puppetry, video, and music. Beneath the Surface feature a variety fo puppet types and inventions that expressively represent water and tis relationship to all life.

by Tom Lee
Photo by David Soll

Room to Panic
by LOCO 7
Photo by Richard Green

Tom Lee (Brooklyn, NY)
Ko'olau tells the true story of a native Hawaiian afflicted with Hansen's Disease (leprosy) who rebelled against the 1890's Provisionial Government to escape exile and save his family. The performance utilizes kuruma ningyo style puppets, live shadow puppetry, video and stop motion animation presented through the Isadora media interface. Composed by Yukio Tsuji.

LOCO 7 (New York, NY)
Room to Panic is a new work and final episode in a triptych theatrical work depicting, in puppet and movement theater, the experience of immigration to America. Room to Panic is the journey of joy, fear, alienation and struggle that reveal the allure, pressures, disillusionments and rites of passage to achieve the American Dream, in fact creating new American culture.

Elizabeth Margid (New York, NY)
The Martian Chronicles, based on Ray Bradbury's classic work of science fiction, uses puppetry to explore themes of colonization, identity and "otherness". Bradbury's book tells the story of Earth's conquest of Mars through a series of episodes some of which present events from the Martians' point of view and others through the eyes of the Earthmen. In order to underscore this idea, puppets will portray the Martians at certain points of the story and at other times human actors will fill these roles, and visa versa for the Earth characters.

Passage Theatre Company (Trenton, NJ)
Cecilia's Last Tea Party is a coming of age story set amidst polictical and social upheaval. Twelve year old Cecilia lives on a small island nation with her animal (puppet) companions, Dodo and Dada. Her parents are mysteriously absent and alone she must discover her place - and self - in a new world.

The Paul Mesner Puppets (Kansas City, MO)
Hansel and Gretel, an opera by Engelbert Humperdinck, uses life size rod and marionette puppets. This will be a collaboration with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, with Bruce Sorrell as Music Director and Paul Mesner as Stage Director. Hansel and Gretel will be performed with an orchestra and vocalists.

Sandglass Theater (Putney, VT)
Ballad combines puppets, life stories and the ballad song form. The piece, comprised of four ballads, will build from stories connected to places and practices in the local landscape of rural Vermont: Ice fishing, logging and community suppers. The ballads told will explore the process of growing old in a place as experienced by both the subjects of the stories and by us -- the artist and performers.

White Elephant
by Lake Simons
Photo by Richard Termine

by Wakka Wakka Productions
Photo courtesy of Nordland Visual Theatre

A Howling Flower
by Nami Yamamoto
Photo by Dirk Westphal

Lake Simons (Brooklyn, NY)
White Elephant intergrates puppetry , movement, and music and explores themes both comic and serious of life, death, and the afterlife through the eyes of both children and adults.

Betsy Tobin (Boulder, CO)
Shadows and Journeys is a multi-media outdoor theatre performance to tour across canyon country in the Southwest. The show will perform against rock walls in state and national parks, culminating in a performance at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Shadows and Journeys deals with territorial issues, conflicts between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group, and the roots of different cultures that collide in Colorado and elsewhere.

Wakka Wakka Productions Inc. (Long Island City, NY)
Fabrik - An original piece of theatre presented with puppets, masks, and music, Fabrik is the story of Moritz Rabinowitz, a poor Polish Jew, exceptional in both life and death, who immigrated to Norway in 1901 and "created a factory from a button." Told in Wakka Wakka's uique style, Fabrik encourages conversation on a social justice, diversity, loss and memory.

Nami Yamamoto (New York, NY)
A Howling Flower is an exploration of an intricate duality of being. Studying our own parents' imprints in our bodies and minds, five performers and a puppet will create an emotional landscape with their mysterious presence. They detach from and attach to the world they exist in to find a howling flower bloomed in their own world. Comprised of episodic short pieces in which dancers perform solos, duets, and trios on a bare stage, the work is rooted in simple, unpredictable movement phrases that are by turns still and explosive.

SEED GRANTS ($2,000)


Mutual Strangers: Henry Hudson & the River That Discovered Him
by Arm of the Sea Theater
Photo courtesy of the artist

by David Michael Friend
Photo by Carl Skutsch
Arm of the Sea Theater (New York, NY)
Mutual Strangers: Henry Hudson & the River That Discovered Himwill tell the story of Hudson's voyage up the river that now bears his name. The production will incorporate the transformational devices of puppet theatre to re-imagine from multiple points of view the encounters between the Algonkian-speaking indigenous people of the river they called "Maheakanuk" and the Dutch and English sailors onboard Hudson's ship, The Half Moon.

Carrionettes (Brooklyn, NY)
Tigie is based on the final years of the tasmanian thylcine. An abandoned baby is raised by the creatures and intergrated into their clan. After being captured by a hunter, he is re-socialized into civilized society despite his resistance. This theatrical performance is represented by a mixture of diverse media including illustration, live action, marionettes, video and an original soundtrack.

David Michael Friend (Brooklyn, NY)
Ego - An artist finds himself profoundly dissatisfied with the state of puppetry and is confident that he can push the artistic limits to the next level. As his search for perfection grows, so too does his self-assurance, making him a prime candidate for divine creator status.

Alison Heimstead (Los Angeles, CA)
The Ronald Reagan Love Story, an excavation of the life of our 40th president, is a collaboration between Los Angeles artists Alison Heimstead and Shannon Scrofano. Emerging as a larger-than-life movie persona, the most popular president since JFK, and eventually as a Califonia ghost whose mind degrades from age and disease, cinema and media identities mix with diverse puppet forms in this new performance. Reagan's many kingdoms converge amid white stallions, communist fears, reverent funerals and golden sunsets, in a portrait of the ultimate tragic cowboy hero of the wild west.

Incurable Theater (Chicago, IL)
In the Curious Hold of the Demeter, tangentially based on Murnam's 1922 film "Nosferatu", depicts the struggles of Count Orlock as the journeys by sea, stowed away in the cargo hold of the russian schooner, the Demeter. Produced in 3'' scale, demeter will feature marionettes, rod puppets, shadow puppets and live musical accompaniment.

Lantern Theater (Philadelphia, PA)
An Enemy of the People is a dynamic new work of puppetry inspired and adapted from Henrik Ibsen's classic drama of conspiracy and conscience. This work explores the mob mentality of one community, and the hypocritical and corrupt political system that they follow. It tells, through exciting and innovative puppetry and design, the story of one man's attempts to reveal the truth and save his communtiy in the face of unrelenting social intolerance.

Andrea Lomanto (New York, NY)
Ironbound is a serio-comic puppet theater project inspired by the neighborhood of the same name in Newark, New Jersey. Aztec mythology, superhero iconography, and an isolated post-industrial urban coccoon converge to explore themes of decaying empire, change and redemption through multi-media puppetry and animation

Mettawee River Theater Co. (New York, NY)
Sweeney Astray is a new puppet theater work based on an ancient Irish narrative poem translated by Seamus Heaney. Mr. Heaney's words will be a the center of the pieces while the images will be strong, vibrant and illuminate in their own terms the events and geography, real and imagined, that gave rise to the original story.


by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Photo courtesy of the artist
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (New York, NY)
Heartbeatis a puppetry adaptation of three Franz Kafka short stories: The Hunter Gracchus, An Imperial Message, and Up in the Gallery. Aesthetically, it is an integrated performance that uses shadow puppetry illuminated by incandescent sources and by video projections and toy theater puppetry. It is designed as a parlor show hence it is micro in size and will be performed with no spoken words.

Sarah Provost (Brooklyn, NY)
Peepshow: A Landscape of the Body is an intimate puppet and object theater piece - part toy theater, part Victorian peepshow. A larger than life reclining nude female body is the playboard for a series of vignettes that transforms the recognizable body into a multitude of surreal landscapes.

ShadowLight Productions (San Francisco, CA)
Ghost of the River explores the lives of those who have beenaffected by the immigration and the US/Mexican border issues. The project will be developed through a series of workshops and community outreach activities in San Francisco and San Jose, CA, 2008-2009. Ghosts of the River is scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2009 at San Jose's Teatro Vision, a leading Latino theatrecompanies in the US.

Lance Woolen (Portland, OR)
Hi'iaka and the Mo'o - The younger sister of Pele the volcano goddess must battle a dragon on her journey. Lance and Kris Woolen collaborate with Dragon Art Studio and a team of Hawaiian artist and traditioinal hula kumus - dance master - to create a theatrical performance of one of the great legendary battles of the Hawaiian Islands using puppets as the main characters.


Autry National Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Wild Horses explores California Indian history through the lens fo magic realism. Set in an aging wooden house perched high upon a hill overlooking contemporary Los Angeles it tells the sotry of twelve-year old Rose-Mary as she creates an imaginary world to cope with gang violence, isolation, and an alcoholic father. With the help of her grandmother and the magical characters that populate her world, she discovers what it means to be a strong, independent "young lady"

Das Puppenspiel Puppet Theater Inc. (Westfield, NY)
Beyond the Beanstalk draws from various sources to present several stories involving the "Jack" character best known for the story "Jack and the Beanstalk". The production will feature large bunraku style and other puppet types, and will include authentic folk music by professional musician John Kirk from the Appalachian region where the stories originate.

Mum Puppettheatre (Philadelphia, PA)
The Adventures of a Boy and His Dog in ye Olde Philadelphia is the fourth installment of Mum's popular and award-winnng Boy and Dog shows. This production will continue the Mum tradition of entertaining young children with the adventure-loving boy and dog duo while conveying in an age appropriate manner, the significance and value of personal liberty and freedoms. Set in historic Old City, Philadelphia, A Boy and Dog will catpivate young audiences with its humor, brave heroes and compelling story of the struggle to overturn an injustice, how ever small it may be.

Music Center Performing Arts Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Dia de los Muertos
by Music Center Performing Arts Center
Photo by Alejandro Benítez

Junkyard Pirates
by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Photo by Michele Valeri
Dia de los Muertos, featuring puppetry, live music and dialog, will follow a man on his journey through the seven stages of death depicted in traditional celebrations.

David Stephens (Brooklyn, NY)
The Reluctant Alien, through puppetry, tells the story of characters who realize that differences need not hinder friendships.

Temple Stream Theater (Temple, Maine)
Walking Stories Development of a children's show based on stories from around the world. The narrator is a walder collecting stories from his travels. The show will consist of a one-man band, musical contraptions, rod puppets, hand puppets and cutouts.

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)
Junkyard Pirates will teach young children about the importance of recycling and will feature songs about recycling, spoken word, and audience participation. The characters, which will include pirates and a junkyard dog, will introduce children to trash and treasures that people throw away.


Great Small Works
Toy Theater Festival and Temporary Toy Theater Museum $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
2008 Puppet Lab and Labapalooza $10,000

The Public Theater - Shakespeare in the Park
Hamlet $5,000

Dixon Place
2009 Puppet BloK $5,000

HERE Arts Center
2008-2009 Dream Music Puppetry Program $10,000

The New 42nd Street
The Green Sheep, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Queen of Colours $10,000

Japan Society
Awaji Puppet Theater Company $5,000