2011 Grants



Chang-Er Flies to the Moon
by Chinese Theatre Works
Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Leakey's Ladies
by Drama of Works
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Patti Bradshaw (New York, NY)
continuing adventures of out of nothing: nature morte
Patti Bradshaw will present the continuing adventures of out of nothing: nature morte, choreography for marionettes, dancers, flora and fauna. A look at how the mind travels from image to idea, memories to image, paralleling the endlessly creative natural (compromised) world.

Chinese Theatre Works(Long Island City, NY)
Chang-Er Flies to the Moon
Chang-Er Flies to the Moon explores the mythic romance between the Moon goddess of Chinese myth and her husband, the archer/hero Ho Yi. Their complex love and estrangement is caught up in the machinations of heavenly and terrestrial politics. The production will use a combination of cantastoria, shadow projections, traditional rod and hand-puppet styles, masks and Chinese opera to explore the many branches and variations of the Chang-Er story. It will be directed by Kuang-Yu Fong, with puppet/visual design by Stephen Kaplin and music composition by Yukio Tsuji.

Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY)
Leakey's Ladies
Drama of Works' new historically-based full length puppet theater piece, Leakey's Ladies, is an exploration of three women: Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas and Jane Goodall; and their lifetimes of work bridging the gap of knowledge between human beings and the other members of the Hominidae family: gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees. Directed by Gretchen Van Lente, each woman's tale will be written by three different playwrights: Crystal Skillman, Rachel Hoeffel and Erin Courtney.


by Evolve Company
Image Courtesy of the Artist

Evolve Company (Great Neck, NY)
HOME explores the human desire to put down roots and live in comfort, and our equal desire to pull them up and live a life of freedom. It portrays generations of humans struggling against instinct in order to seek an undefined happiness, alongside generations of birds who seem to find happiness simply following their instincts. It is inspired by the work of Thornton Wilder and Edward Hopper, and is set on a large model landscape, where monochrome figures live out their lives under an expansive, projected sky. HOME is a story of permanence vs. impermanence, an attempt to draw a map of our lives and hearts.

The Object Group(Decatur, GA)
The Colour of Her Dreams
A new theatrical production from Michael Haverty exploring the life and work of his mother, outsider artist Keturah Curbow. Keturah obsessively illustrated Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' books as a means to gain solace from her struggle with bipolar disorder. Using a bold, avant-garde style of storytelling combining object theater, animation, rod and body puppets, dance, masked actors, and an original score for stringed instruments and electronic sound loops, The Colour of Her Dreams aligns the Alice story with Keturah's story, and holds the imagination up as a powerful tool for catharsis and communication.


La Divina Caricatura
by Mabou Mines
Photo by Julie Archer

Mabou Mines(New York, NY)
La Divina Caricatura
Lee Breuer's La Divina Caricatura encompasses the birth to death life history of the "Dog Rose" – a "love object – the romantic animal in the pragmatic world" and is Breuer's attempt to realize his long-time fantasy of introducing a serious puppet theater, on the order of that created by Chikamatsu Monzaemon in Japan of the 16th century, to western audiences. It is a dramatic comic book, ironic in the Brechtian sense, which takes the Japanese concept and translates it into an American avant garde aesthetic language built from theater, film, music, dance and puppetry - a mixed media language that explores how Bunraku conventions can be "translated" into a Euro-American idiom.


The Odyssey
by Now or Never Theatre
Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Now or Never Theatre(Boulder, CO)
The Odyssey
Strong visuals transport audience members into the fantastic world of Sirens and Cyclops, man, and beast where heroes, heroines, gods, and goddesses spar, each with their own flaws. This performance integrates acting, puppetry, shadow theatre, masks, video projections and live music composed by Michael Stanwood in a unique blend of ancient and contemporary performance techniques. Michael Gunst, Shana Cordon, Nathan Montgomery and Betsy Tobin perform the show.



Struggle for Justice
by Red String Wayang Theatre
Photo by Michael Richardson

Red String Wayang Theatre(Gulfport, MS)
The Struggle for Justice
The Struggle for Justiceis a shadow puppet play based on some of the events of the Civil Rights Era in Mississippi from about 1930-1955. The piece aims to fulfill Red String Wayang Theatre's ambition to create " An American Wayang ", mixing blues music , Southern culture , an nearly 50 original transparent leather puppet designs with inspirations from the traditional shadow theatres of Indonesia and India. With a script co-developed by Selma ,Alabama based playright Don Speed, and puppets carved from Red Strings' designs in Yogyakarta Indonesia by traditional Javanese wayang artists, this work marries disparate cultures into a new take on the artform."

Redmoon Theater (Chicago, IL)
The Tempest
The Tempest will be a collaborative work between Redmoon Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) that combines CST's skillful interpretation of Shakespeare's final work along with Redmoon's unique Spectacle aesthetic to result in a dynamic re-telling of this timeless tale of forgiveness and redemption that resonates with modern audiences. An intimate and distilled production, The Tempest will find balance as a performance skillfully and creatively explored through the relationship between diverse puppetry (such as shadow, Bunraku, and toy theater), mechanized objects, live performers, and complex text. Redmoon will transform an ordinary object, the table around which the characters gather for dinner, into the center for all the action in The Tempest. Opening and unfolding to reveal scenes and worlds in miniature, the table's transformative possibilities will be animated by three live performers who will control the various characters and actions through mechanized objects, puppetry, and gadgetry.


by Sinking Ship Productions
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Rogue Artists Ensemble(Signal Hill, CA)
Rogue Artists Ensemble's Pinocchio focuses on the great struggle between free spirit and morality, duty and more selfish pursuits. With Pinocchio the Rogues will explore the original intentions of Collodi's work, while updating it's telling in bold and daring ways creating a highly modern and relevant piece of theater. This adult piece of entertainment is being written by Jon Ludwig in collaboration with Rogue Artists Ensemble and will premiere in Fall 2011 in celebration of the Rogue's 10th Anniversary of producing Hyper-theatrical new works.

Sinking Ship Productions(Brooklyn, NY)
Powerhouse uses live action and puppetry, swing dancing and physical comedy to tell the story of a brilliant man who wrote music that nearly every American has heard but almost no one can identify. Inspired by swing music, animated cartoons and futuristic machines, Powerhouse takes the audience inside the mind of Raymond Scott, composer and electronic music pioneer. He wrote fast-paced, tightly orchestrated compositions, attempting to reinvent swing in the 1940s. Wildly successful in his own time, his music would be completely forgotten were it not for its use in countless Looney Tunes cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s -- but Scott never watched a cartoon in his life.


The Narrative of Victor Karloch
by Spirit Cabinet Productions
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Skysaver Productions(New York, NY)
Lysistrata is an original adaptation of the ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes featuring life-size puppets and giant puppets, live music, and multi-media. The character of Lysistrata is an ordinary woman who becomes a hero by persuading the other women to withhold sexual priveleges from their men as a means of forcing them to end the interminable Peloponnesian War. This story is intercut with accounts of real-life sex strikes that have occured throughout the world in recent years, such as in Turkey, Columbia, Kenya, and Liberia.

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.


by Stefano Brancato and Michael Bush
Photo by Matt Linn
The Monkey King
by Visual Expressions
Photo by Matt Hicks

Stefano Brancato & Michael Bush(New York, NY)
Icarus is a full-length puppet production created by Stefano Brancato and Michael Bush that adapts the ancient Greek myth of the boy that flew too close to the sun. It explores the kings, queens, monsters, mazes, old men, giant birds, and angry gods that lead to this fateful flight. In this full stage production, thirteen ensemble members tell their tale through puppetry, poetry, drama, acrobatics, and song.

Visual Expressions(Boothwyn, PA)
The Monkey King
The Monkey King is probably the most famous character in Chinese literature. The character is featured in Journey to the West, one of China's Four Great Classical Novels and its most popular. Now this "super-hero" comes to delight American audiences in a new production that utilizes a spectacular synthesis of contemporary American shadow puppetry and traditional Chinese visual designs, all filtered through the sensibilities of artistic co-directors Hua Hua Zhang and David Regan.

SEED GRANTS ($2,000)



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by Actors Theatre of Louisville
Photo by Jason Hines

The Collector
by Animal Cracker Conspiracry
Photo by Iain Gunn

Actors Theatre of Louisville(Louisville, KY)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Center for Puppetry Arts will workshop a new theatrical adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea using puppetry to bring the sprawling, imaginative world of Jules Verne to life. From sea monster attacks on ocean liners, to underwater fights with sharks, these monstrous almost mythical characters and feats of heroism are fertile ground for a puppet-infused production.

Animal Cracker Conspiracy(San Diego, CA)
The Collector
The Collector is a mysterious tale, set in an alternate reality, about a lowly debt collector, who, under the management of a mechanical, tyrannical overseer, undergoes a radical transformation of spirit in the process of collecting outstanding debts. A story looking at the human inclination and desire to collect objects- how they permeate the self, giving it identity or a sequence of identities. Questioning what possessions we hold most dear, what can we live without, and what is the price of our obsession with stuff.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre(Minneapolis, MN)
What If?!
What If? (working title) ---Sandy Spieler of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre will lead the research and invention of puppets for a piece to cheer forth local and global initiatives of transitioning from oil dependency and ecological depletion to local resilient sustainability. We'll experiment with the idea of several stages within a stage, such as the layers of a traditional "Vertep" stage, or the many doors of a "Cabinet of Curiosities" to allow for the emerging of 5 or 6 short interrelated stories that exemplify common sense transitional steps that mount into glorious change. This joyful performance will tour by bicycle when possible, and intends to serve as an antidote to the numbing layers of despair that many people speak of these days.


Idle Hands
by Jenny Campbell and Company
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Jenny Campbell & Company (Woodside, NY)
Idle Hands
Idle Hands by Jenny Campbell is a disquieting puppetry performance about memory, musical hallucination and haunted technology. A forceful and ghostly piano/reel-to-reel machine has hidden (dangerous?) music that demands to be played. The piece is inspired by ideas about memory and music in the book Musicophilia by neurologist Oliver Sacks and the classic horror film Carnival of Souls.This incarnation of the show will be focused on the development of the transforming piano puppet that is also a fully playable original musical instrument.

Kyle Loven(Seattle, WA)
Loss Machine
Everything is somewhere. Part installation, part image-driven theater, Loss Machine unearths a world of lost items, misplaced thoughts, and fractured journeys all housed within an intricately detailed set. In a tower filled with life’s debris, a collection of characters move through an ever-changing apparatus with their shared emotional journey driving the mechanical process forward. This intimate one-man show combines puppetry, objects, light, sound, and original music in a visual exploration of loss and discovery.


The Collector of Lies
by Laurie O'Brien
Photo by Richard Termine

Laurie O'Brien(New York, NY)
The Collector of Lies
The Collector of Lies is haunting tale about a reclusive woman who spends her days organizing and cataloging mysterious objects that arrive in the mail. Next door, a shady pilot struggles with his own deceit and tries to hide the evidence that later links him with his neighbor. Their past lives between the walls of their rooms in the form of an elephant family and reveals itself from time to time providing clues to the history of these trapped souls.

Open Ink Productions(Brooklyn, NY)
Early industrialized New York haunts Triangle, a play for table-top and shadow puppets, dramatic text, and live musicians. Rose (actress Amy Carrigan), a survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, ruthlessly retells her story from the side of the stage to her workers. Puppets act as silent, spiritual incarnations of the story's characters, searching for their more fragile origins in Patrick Keppel's tragic play. Live music is quietly improvised around a score by Bradley Kemp, weaving the text and puppetry together.


by Janaki Ranpura
Photo by: Janaki Ranpura

Janaki Ranpura(Minneapolis, MN)
After the crash of civilization, in the black box is a small horse. It is the kit from which two religious men of the past -- St Francis and the Sultan of Egypt -- must create the future. Using paper cut-outs, optics, and large-as-landscape puppets, Grace invites its audience to partner up and figure out how to re-make an unmade world starting with one simple idea: horse.

Lake Simons (Brooklyn, NY)
Wind Set-Up: a composition for materials and elements
Daily life set into motion by the wind and what it carries your way- a newspaper, a chair, a house? This describes a typical day in Wind Set-up, a composition for materials and elements a new visual theatre piece with object puppetry by Lake Simons and live music composed and performed by John Dyer.

Hanne Tierney(New York, NY)
Strange Tales of Liaozhai
Strange Tales of Liaozhai is an experiment with Gerturde Stein's idea of Theater as Landscape. Hundreds of feet of fabric, a landscape of patterns and color, are strewn on the stage, and as the narrative unfolds, certain fabrics begin to move and are manipulated into characters that act out a scene. When they exit, they simply become part of the landscape again, and other fabrics evolve into other characters and act out another scene. In the end, as with a landscape after a storm, all is calm again.


Bag Lady
by Urban Research Theater
Photo courtesy of the artist

Light Keepers
by Amanda Villalobos
Photo courtesy of the artist

Urban Research Theater(New York, NY)
Bag Lady
...She is that Lady who gives the breath...to the happy and sad, to the white plastic bags...
...Bag Puppets born from the darkness, transforming with her body in small characters...without words, with silence and music, they show us little pieces of their own life and step by step illuminate the dark stage...Ladies and Gentlemen...from her hands...with her foot and her body...with the simplest object... Bag Lady

Amanda Villalobos(Brooklyn, NY)
Light Keepers
An old desk, a fading lighthouse, a tiny model town, and books with waterlogged spines open to tell the story of Jordan, an androgynous orphan taken in by the mysterious and impossibly ancient lighthouse keeper Isaac Small. The daily work of keeping the light brings these two outcasts purpose beyond the practical. There are stories that must be kept as well. And things still to be discovered out in the waves.


Bart Buch(Minneapolis, MN)
Nature Boy
Nature Boy is an original puppetry-poetry performance that follows the epic journey of a mysterious boy from a distant star who lands on a planet where a quiet war wages against the planet's inherent nature. Evoking a children's fantasy for all ages, nature boy will be a poetic meditation on connections between biodiversity and imagination, using bunraku-style puppets, hand puppets, rod puppets, toy theatre, large puppet projections and stylistic influences of street art, anime, comic books, and skateboarding. nature boy will use no spoken word and be accompanied by originally composed electroacoustic live music by Martin Dosh and Patrick Harison.

Penny Jones & Co. Puppets(New York, NY)
Four Seasons Puppet Show
A series of 4 classroom, puppet shows each performed in the appropriate season as enrichment of school curriculum in collaboration with the teacher: a pop-up book about squirrel family life in the Fall; shadow puppets and lights in Winter, butterfly metamorphosis in Spring; a tabletop dinosaur family drama in Summer. Simple craft making and walk on parts for children accompany each show.


Four Seasons Puppet Show
by Penny Jones & Co. Puppets
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

David & Jennifer Skelly (Los Angeles, CA)
David and the Phoenix
David and the Phoenix is a stage adaptation of the classic children's book by Edward Ormondroyd. It's a charming, funny, and heartwarming story about a young boy's friendship with the mythical Phoenix, and the dangerous adventure they embark upon to stop a predatory scientist. The cast includes both human actors and a host of other mythological characters that will be realized with full-scale puppets of all kinds. Written, directed, and produced by David Skelly & Jennifer Skelly.

Tears of Joy Theatre(Portland, OR)
The Ugliest Duckling
The Ugliest Duckling is a retelling of the famous story by Hans Christian Anderson, set in Australia. Rather than a swan egg hatching in the nest of a duck family, our egg becomes little Yuckay, a platypus. Since a platypus won't grow into anything but a larger platypus, The Ugliest Duckling is a story which shows us that everyone is different and unique for their own reasons, even though we may not become "swans." The show will feature many other colorful characters unique to Australia, is written and designed by Marc Dunworth, and will be directed by Nancy Aldrich.

Teatro SEA(New York, NY)
Legends of the Enchanted Treasure
Four kids discover an old enchanted chest full of magical tales from the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Then the stories come to life before their eyes, transporting them (and the audience) to Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and Puerto Rico, where they learn lessons of courage and pride and, of course, have tons of fun.


Terran's Aquarium
by Whorls of Wonder Puppet Theater
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Whorls of Wonder Puppet Theater(Oranje, NJ)
Terran's Aquarium
Terran's Aquarium is designed for a family and elementary school audience. The goal of the production is to educate the coming generation of the global fresh water crisis. Through puppetry, live action, audience participation and projections, the audience members will discover what a closed system is, how water works in us (our bodies), the community (through the water treatment system) and in the world (through the water cycle). They will learn how all these systems are intricately connected and thus need to be protected and well managed. Practical suggestions on how to be part of the solution and not part of the problem concludes the performance in a spirit of hope for the future.


HERE Arts Center
Dream Music Puppetry 2011 $5,000

Flushing Town Hall
Puppet Theater 2011 Season $10,000

Dixon Place
Puppet Blok 2010 $5,000

The Nightingale & Other Short Fables $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Labapalooza 2011 $5,000

The Public Theater
Under the Radar Festival 2011 $10,000

69 Degrees South $5,000

HERE Arts Center
Sonnambula and Brquage (Stick Up!) $5,000

La MaMa E.T.C.
Golem, Urban Odyssey, The Picture of Health $10,000

The New Victory Theater
The Little Prince, Miss Ophelia, Hands Up! $10,000

Theater for the New City
Voice 4 Vision 2011 $10,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Puppet Lab 2011-2012 $5,000