2010 Grants


Black Forest Fancies (New Orleans, LA)
The Pomology of Sweetness and Light

The Pomology of Sweetness and Light is a large scale puppet operetta that involves an interdisciplinary collaboration with the fields of stage acting, stop motion animation and fresh innovations in puppetry. Our narrative is a thematic exploration of the co-development of apples and the American identity, centralizing the theme of adaptation. We follow the tale of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman, an American folk hero whose wholesome identity is complicated by the esoteric fact of his thwarted engagement to a ten year old girl.

Sure-Minded Uncertainty
by Cave Dogs
Photo by Jim Fossett

Cave Dogs (Bloomington, NY)
Sure-Minded Uncertainty
Sure-Minded Uncertainty, is an inter-media, contemporary shadow theater performance that explores the nature of existence on the physical and metaphysical planes through the alternative lenses of micro and macro perspectives, situations and experiences. A range of characters and modern day archetypes navigate a series of transformations throughout five scenes interweaving the nature of the universe, the relationships of parts to whole, and humanity to technology in their fundamentally different and often incongruous worlds. It is a story that is as old as dirt and as prescient as tomorrow.

Hudson to China
by Concrete Temple Theatre
Photo by Stefan Hagen

Concrete Temple Theatre (New York, NY)
Hudson to China
Hudson to China is a spectacle with projections, puppetry, theatre, and live-music. It parallels the lives of 3 beings, seeking a way to China: the Statue of Henry Hudson that stands in the Bronx, who believes he has finally found his route to China; a young man, Harry, who dreams of success by literally conquering what he fears: China & its economy, and Hua, a Chinese immigrant, who longs for home. Hudson to China is an adventure in which the experiences become the destination. On the journey the voyagers, and we, the audience, lose our way, finding it just to lose it again, echoing Henry Hudson's voyages and our own lives, searching for the mythical Orient.

LOCO7 (New York, NY)
Nostalgia, will focus on theatrical representations of different facets of love which shape the moral fiber of an individual. The narration will be told through puppetry, dance and video. Selected texts from various historical and mythical events as well as visual metaphors based on love will be used as references. Nostalgia is written and created by Federico Restrepo and Denise Greber. It will be designed, choreographed and directed by Federico Restrepo, with music composed by Elizabeth Swados.

The Hobo Grunt Cycle
by Lone Wolf Tribe
Photo by Gloria Sun

Don Cristobal, Billy-Club Man
by Erin Orr
Photo by James Scruggs

Lone Wolf Tribe (Brooklyn, NY)
Hobo Grunt Cycle
Featuring Lone Wolf Tribe's signature blend of puppets and performers, artistic director Kevin Augustine helms a nearly wordless story of human frailty in the face of war. While searching for non-violent solutions, the narrative weaves links between wounded soldiers, illegal dog fighting, and the hierarchies of circus performers and military personnel. Through magical illusions and Bunraku style puppetry, three puppeteers animate a cast of life-sized foam carved puppets including pit bull warriors, circus clowns, and disabled veterans from over the past one-hundred years of American warfare.

Erin Orr (Brooklyn, NY)
Don Cristobal, Billy-Club Man
For centuries, the puppet Don Cristobal has been charming audiences with his drunken, lusty, billy-club wielding antics. But does he secretly struggle with his role as the Billy-Club Man and long for love and escape? Through experimental puppetry, clowning and live music, "Don Cristobal, Billy-Club Man" explores the violent appetites of Cristobal's on stage persona and follows him off stage to reveal his poetic possibilities. Inspired by the puppet plays of Federico Garcia Lorca, the piece features shadow, hand and large figurative puppetry by Erin Orr and evocative original music by Rima Fand.

The Devil You Know
by Ping Chong
Photo by Scott Irvine

Ping Chong & Co.(New York, NY)
The Devil You Know
Ping Chong & Company and Phantom Limb (Erik Sanko and Jessica Grindstaff) join forces in The Devil You Know, a tantalizing tale of desperate deals, second chances and democracy's eternal promise of renewal. The classic American Faust fable, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," is transformed with the help of dozens of finely crafted marionettes, shadow puppetry and animation, an original score by Erik Sanko, and ingenious revolving stages. A haunting meditation on lost souls and fool's gold, The Devil You Know is theater magic as only Ping Chong and Phantom Limb can conjure it.

Joseph Silovsky (Brooklyn, NY)
Send for the Million Men
Send for the Million Menis a combination performance/gallery exhibition about Sacco and Vanzetti, two anarchist immigrants convicted and executed for a violent payroll robbery. Their case became the cause celebre of the 1920s. The twists of the court fight and the nuances of their life stories are presented in the performance using robotics, video, puppetry and mechanical devices. The exhibition turns their story into a penny arcade history museum with automata dioramas, audio booths and an anarchist's gift shop.

Poste Resante: the Post Office Never Looked so Sexy
by They Gotta Be Secret Agents
Photo by Androo Sokol

Luis Tentindo (Brooklyn, NY)
The Mud Angels
The Mud Angels is an experimental puppet-theater piece which is a fusion of puppetry, choreography, and mixed media performance. The piece tells the story of a book restorer working after the catastrophic flood, which occurred in Florence, Italy in 1966. The project uses bunraku-style puppets, lightweight and mobile sculptural set inventions, video projections, original costumes and an inspired score by Valerie Opielski.

They Gotta Be Secret Agents (Jamaica, MA)
Poste Restante: the Post Office Never Looked so Sexy
Poste Restante: the Post Office Never Looked so Sexybrings communication down from a high-tech, instant, "now, now, now" process to a more tangible, visceral level where letters and boxes travel through real space and time, and survive countless potential mishaps along the way.

The Jungle
by Trouble Puppet Theater Company
Photo by LettuceTurnip

Bonnie Duncan and Tim Gallagher use puppetry, film and partner acrobatics to explore the magic surrounding hand written letters, challenge what can actually be mailed, animate sent letters, and generally bring to life a form of communication that is slowly fading.

Trouble Puppet Theater Company (Austin, TX)
The Jungle
The Jungle, adapted by Connor Hopkins from the novel by Upton Sinclair, is a work of puppet theater using tabletop, shadow, and life-sized puppets with human performers. Its themes- immigrant labor, worker exploitation, the health and safety issues of food production, and the use of animals in industrialized agriculture- are painfully contemporary. Set entirely in a slaughterhouse, performed by the workers themselves in their bloody aprons using nearly-faceless puppets, the show tells the Rudkos family's story with few words, relying on sound, music and physically demanding puppetry. Oringinally conceived at the National Puppetry Conference in 2007 and workshopped there and at Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin TX in 2009.

Baby Universe
by Wakka Wakka Productions
Photo courtesy of the artist

Wakka Wakka Productions (New York, NY)
Baby Universe
Inspired by scientific events and theories of our time, Baby Universe is an original work using hand and rod puppets, robots (The Stephen Hawking 5000), video projection and animation. It is about the search for answers to the philosophical questions of our existence, as told through the relationship of an isolated woman and her mail order companion, "Baby Universe." Using science, religion and the imagination, Baby Universe will explore the human relationship to birth, death, the need for companionship, and the fear of isolation.

SEED GRANTS ($2,000)

Aeolian Theater (Brooklyn, NY)
Aeolian Theatre presents Epyllion by Lindsay Abromaitis-Smith and Emma Jaster ... The dawning of the first day and the moonshine of the first night. A new creation myth told through puppetry, ritual, dance and song.

Tony Chiroldes (New York, NY)
Before Icarus Fell
Before Icarus Fell is a live-actor, video, and shadow puppetry piece with music. The production is inspired by the life of one of the world's earliest aviators, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who in his native country of Brazil is considered the true father of aviation -- although elsewhere he is largely overshadowed by other aviator's achievements. This family-friendly production (12 and older) is intended to celebrate one of the great Latin American pioneers.

Before Icarus Fell
by Tony Chiroldes
Photo by Richard Termine

Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY)
Leaky's Ladies
Drama of Works' new historically-based full length puppet theater piece, Leakey's Ladies, is an exploration of three women and their lifetimes of work bridging the gap of knowledge between human beings and the other members of the Hominidae family: chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Each a tragic hero in their own right, Leakey's choice to trust these three extraordinary and flawed women and how they ended up being the perfect matches for their respective great apes are part of a fascinating journey that Drama of Works would like to explore in Leakey's Ladies.

Figures of Speech Theatre (Freeport, ME)
At Sea
At Sea draws upon personal ancestral histories and a selkie story from the Orkney Islands to evoke a sense of longing between those who were lost (or found) at sea, and their loved-ones who remained on land. Taking place within the cramped confines of a ship as well as in the numinous realm below it, At Sea will use bunraku-style and other puppet figures, shadows on sails, two actors, and objects (family portraits, a scrimshaw box, a sheep) in a layering of dreams, letters home, and imagined other worlds.

At Sea
by Figures of Speech Theatre
Photo by John Farrell

Justin Gebhard (Philadelpha, PA)
Dinner Party
Dinner Party investigates eight characters, their personalities and their interactions with themselves and one another in varied social situations. Beginning with the most formal, a dinner party, the scenerios progress into a series of varied environments and levels of formality down to the most intimate rituals with oneself. The characters will then rediscover one another through their shared curiosities and self interests to find out what is actually under the dinning table.

Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)
by Janie Geiser
Drawing by Janie Geiser

Janie Geiser (Los Angeles, CA)
Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)
Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone) is a multidisciplinary puppet performance, directed and designed by Janie Geiser, and developed with Playwright Erik Ehn. Clouded Sulphur is a "True Crime" Bunraku, exploring the story surrounding an unsolved Los Angeles crime - the murder of 15 year old Bianca Sierra. Set in an iconic, stripped down Los Angeles, where the untamed landscape meets the expansion of the city, Clouded Sulphur navigates a complex terrain of loss, revenge, and unexpected hope.

Michael Haverty (Atlanta, GA)
The Colour of Her Dreams
The Colour of Her Dreams explores outsider artist Keturah Curbow's obsessive illustration of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' books as a means to heal and gain solace amid her struggle with manic-depression. TCOHD utilizes toy theater, rod and body puppets, object theater, dance, masked actors, animation, and an original score for stringed instruments and electronic sound loops. While loosely following 'Alice's' literary progression, the structure will be interrupted and reordered by episodes in Keturah's life, seen through the prism of manic-depressive cognition and the symbology of dreams - examining the mind as both impediment to and medium for catharsis.

The Colour of her Dreams
by Haverty Marionettes
Painting by Keturah Curbow

Laura Heit (Los Angeles, CA)
Bureau of Small Requests: 76 Departments of Tomorrow
A miniature epic: an ongoing series of 5-20 minute tabletop puppet invocations inspired by the Beijing Taoist Dongyue Temple and the 76 Departments of the Taoist Pantheon. Puppet shows will unfold in miniature shrines invoking a sense of ritual, poetry, pathology, and supplication to an individual hope or fear.

The Independent Eye (Sebastopol, CA)
An adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a story of self-destruction born from our denial of death, using arm-&-head puppets fused with an enlarged toy-theatre style, plus music, shadow, and projection.

Inkfish (Jackson Heights, NY)
Gilgamesh (working title) is a theatrical experience based on translations of the ancient Sumerian epic of a King who realizes power is beyond the realm of the physical. Currently in early development, our project will use large-scale and small-scale puppetry, traditional mask theatre, video, and new media technologies to continue redefining story-telling as we know it.

Tom Lee (Brooklyn, NY)
Kuruma Ningyo in Translation
NY based puppet artist Tom Lee will collaborate with Japanese traditional puppet master Koryu Nishikawa V on an original puppet piece based on the Kuruma Ningyo (cart puppet) tradition and contemporary sources. Development and research will take place in Hachioji, Japan with Koryu Nishikawa's company and a cast of international performers.

Sandglass Theater (Putney, VT)
D-generation: An Exaltation of Larks
A collaboration between Sandglass Theater and PHI, a national health care training institute, will be the source of a new Sandglass Theater work which explores the creativity of people living with dementia. Using the Timeslips story gathering process in local nursing homes, Sandglass Artists, Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass and Kirk Murphy, will use puppets to create a piece that explores the stories and story making process that they observe. Because puppets are not of the flesh and blood world, expectations such as logic and chronological sequences need not apply to them. Instead, they become a perfect medium to explore the world of people with dementia and their seemingly fragmented and incomplete memories and dreams that float free of gravity and the constraints of logic. D-generation: An Exaltation of Larks, does not seek to diminish the seriousness of the condition, but instead to help give it a place in our lives and to help us find a new way to hear, converse and play.

The Narrative of Victor Karloch
by Spirit Cabinet Productions
Photo by Kevin McTurk

Spirit Cabinet Productions (Los Angeles, CA)
The Narrative of Victor Karloch
The Narrative of Victor Karloch is a non-profit traveling stage show presented from an elegantly decayed Victorian triptych puppet theater. This show, which will benefit the charity group The Art of Elysium, uses 30 inch tall rod puppets, traditional shadow puppets, rear projected elements and vaudeville trickery to present the adventures of Victor Karloch, an alchemist, scholar, and ghost hunter, as he battles the supernatural forces of the Unknown.

Theater of Performing Objects (Chapel Hill, NC)
Harvesting Pomegranate Dreams
Harvesting Pomegranate Dreams is a series of vignettes, visual poems, and adaptations of literary works inspired by Eastern and Middle Eastern culture. A cast of puppet dreamers emerge from within a veil and twist and turn and blow their way through ancient wisdoms on mothering and fathering, commerce and trade, war and struggle, landscape and migration, birth and death. Tori Ralston and Theater of Performing Objects will manifest this dream with traditional yet original music, Bunraku style puppets, marionettes, masks, and many, many shadows.

Paul Zaloom (West Hollywood, CA)
How to Lie: A Self Help Seminar
This low-tech, multi-media spectacle will explore the myriad of opportunities to lie and the various venues where fibbing is found, from politics to advertising to interpersonal relationships. A ventriloquist dummy and a miniature toy theater will be employed in a frenetic and amusing do-it-yourself instructional on the dos and don'ts of deception.


Barefoot Puppets (Richmond, VA)
Little by Little
Little by Little transports the audience to the world of the oak tree as we share a story of new growth in a forest following a devastating fire. Shadow puppets, rod puppets, and hand puppets come together in this family show as narrated by a "nutty" little acorn. We explore the themes of inspirational acts and the potential for greatness that is deep within even the smallest of creatures.

Wake Up Your Weird
by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph
Photo courtesy of the artist

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Astoria, NY)
Wake Up Your Weird
Wake Up Your Weird is a multi media musical theater piece about 5 year old candy loving sock puppet named Lolly Lardpop who decides to organize her left over ideas into a story about a girl named Leslie who takes her brain out of her head puts it on a leash and lets her mind wonder. As a result Leslie and the audience are taken on a magical journey filled with whimsical characters, artwork and some unexpected life lessons on how to follow your heart and champion your individuality.The second act of the show is a performance/workshop which features hands on audience participation with puppets,video segments, and lots of surprise guests.

City Parks Foundation (New York, NY)
The Map
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater will present an entirely new marionette production designed and written by Tom Lee and Matthew Acheson. This production aims to develop a completely new work at an established puppet theatre, bringing together seasoned performers and innovative puppet techniques to deliver a new perspective on children's puppet theatre. The story-line is based around a brother and sister who discover a secret map in an abandoned marionette theater in Central Park and go on a fantastic and surreal quest to find what is buried underneath the "X" on the map. The production will combine traditional puppetry elements such as marionettes, projections, rod puppets, shadows puppets, with the aesthetics and mechanics of old vaudeville shows, to build a visual narrative that delights audiences of all ages.

Darwin the Dinosaur
by Corbian Visual Arts and Dance
Photo by Carney/Popp

Corbian Visual Arts and Dance (New Orleans, LA)
Darwin the Dinosaur
Electroluminescent crayon-like creatures light up the night in a heart rendering tale of a scientist and his creation. Truly unique and visually dazzling, Darwin the Dinosaur has been universally praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology and dance.

Deborah Costine (Southborough, MA)
Turtle's New Home
"Blanding" the turtle is an endangered specie in search of a new habitat. Each spring she leaves her wetland and travels to a nearby sandy hill where she lays her eggs. Now, a new road has been built between the wetland and the hill, and she knows what happens when a turtle tries to cross a road! When she meets young Castor the Beaver, who is eager to build a dam, she sees that her problems might be solved!

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre (West Brattleboro, VT)
Haiku, Hip Hop and Hotdogs - Puppets do Poetry
Haiku, Hip Hop and Hotdogs - Puppets do Poetry uses imagery, metaphor and fragmentary language - common threads to poetry and puppetry - to weave a tapestry of stories for all ages. The production will explore a wide range of poetry styles and traditions through the use of shadows, rod & hand puppetry, live actors and direct manipulation. In some cases, the puppetry will illustrate and amplify the imagery in a poem; in others, the poem will provide a leaping-off point for further exploration of the themes and images introduced.

Musuem of Contemporary Art, North Miami (North Miami, FL)
Seven Wonders of the Modern World
Seven Wonders of the Modern World is a marionette musical comedy . Due to the war and the economic recession in this country, I thought I should create a marionette play that would mirror and inspire others to create change and hope for a peaceful solution to all of life's challenges. - Pablo Cano

balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon
by Mobile Shadow Projection Theater
Photo by Annie Macfarland

Mobile Shadow Projection Theater (Minneapolis, MN)
balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon
balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon follows the story of a single balloon released from a human hand. The aim of the project is to take a mobile theatre experience on a 2-week bicycle tour, from Minneapolis to Duluth, Minnesota, stopping at several campgrounds, community centers and recreational family sites in order to bring live, free, interactive puppetry theatre to children and families.

One Grain of Sand Puppet Theater (Los Angeles, CA)
The Mysterious Case of the Missing Star
Using rod puppets, shadow puppets, masks, toy theater and live music join Enok, Flora and Max as they journey through mountains, near desert and ocean; from the Walk of Stars to South Central; from MacArthur Park to Little Armenia, from Koreatown to the Hollywood Sign; across a field of golden poppies to the Griffith Park Observatory and beyond. As they search for a real Hollywood Star, the children discover the joys and adventures of place, the strength they carry within, and a glimpse into the infinite nature and forms of stars.


HERE Arts Center
2009-2010 Dream Music Puppetry Program $5,000

The Public Theater
Under the Radar Festival 2010 $10,000

Great Small Works
Toy Theater Festval 2010 $10,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Kamp $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Puppet Lab 2010-2011 $5,000

Dixon Place
Puppet Blok 2010 $5,000

Montclair State University
Dark Matters $5,000

La MaMa E.T.C.
Puppet Series 4 $10,000

New Victory Theater
2010-2011 Season $10,000