2013 Grants


The Elephant and the Whale
by Chicago Children's Theatre
by Concrete Temple Theatre
Photo by Stefan Hagen

Blair Thomas & Company (Chicago, IL)
With Love from Edgar Allen Poe
Blair Thomas & Company’s new Halloween performance, The Tell-Tale Heart, debuted October 23-30, 2012 in various locations in Chicago. The production, including original music by Mark Messing and Bunraku puppets by Shoshanna Utchenik, is the 30 minute long first installment to the planned evening length piece, With Love from Edgar Allan Poe, set to debut in its entirety in Fall 2013. Three chamber musicians and five actor/puppeteers appeared in this new interpretation of one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous short stories, a psychological portrait of a mad murderer who is tormented by the sound of his victim’s relentless heartbeat. 

Chicago Children's Theatre (Chicago, IL)
The Elephant and the Whale
The Elephant and The Whale is an original theatrical fable for all ages that features hand-painted images, shadow puppetry, transforming mechanical objects and innovative sound design. A sophisticated team of collaborators will work together to tell this romantic and humorously surreal story of an unlikely friendship between a blue whale and a gray elephant. Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) has engaged Redmoon to develop this project for Chicago audiences. CCT is the only professional theatre company in Chicago dedicated to producing work exclusively for children and families and has a rich history of collaborating on the development of new work.

Concrete Temple Theatre (New York, NY)
Geppetto meshes two of our favorite stories, Pinocchio and The Old Man and The Sea, to tell a tale of prosthetics and aging. It contemplates the inevitability of change and coming to terms with loss. Geppetto, aka “G”, and his companions Omino and Donina (his puppets) are the main characters of our tale. 

Love Me Knot
by Melissa Creighton
Photo by Jeffery Price

Melissa Creighton (Brooklyn, NY)
Love Me Knot
Discover what is behind the veil and under the crinoline in this tragicomic musical puppet show about love and truth. The story of an engaged woman trying to get a grip on her own sense of self (sometimes warily) amidst the conventions that surround the act of getting hitched. 

Double Image Theater Lab (Brooklyn, NY)
A Chance Shadow
A Chance Shadow is inspired by the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo (1897~1931) and the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca (1898~1936). Xu was one of the first Chinese writers to successfully naturalize Western romantic forms into modern Chinese poetry and Lorca was a social activist who changed the world around him though his unique style of surrealism and theatricality. With their passion for literature, social reform and true love, they changed society. By using the elements of pop-up arts, shadow theater, toy theater and flamenco art, the show brings the audience into the poets’ romantic and historical worlds.  

A Chance Shadow
by Double Image Theater Lab
Photo by Spica Wobbe

Lone Wolf Tribe (Brooklyn, NY)
The God Projekt
Inspired by Lone Wolf Tribe's award-winning opus, BRIDE and Samuel Becket's Krapp's Last Tape, The God Projekt is a raucous, darkly humorous investigation into the mysteries of the universe. Written and co-directed by LWT artistic director Kevin Augustine and Edward Einhorn of Untitled Theater Company #61, The God Projekt features bloody puppetry, Catskill-style stand-up comedy, and a tour-de-force solo performance by Augustine as the Man Upstairs himself. Uncovering ancient history while dissecting contemporary events, LWT's latest trailblazer is a minimalist extravaganza, daringly taking on the two subjects we’re not supposed to talk about in polite company: Religion and Politics.

Mabou Mines (New York, NY)
La Divina Caricatura/Part II Ecco Porco
La Divina Caricatura is a trilogy of plays premiering in December 2013 at La MaMa; due for publication by Seagull Press (distributed by the University of Chicago Press) in the fall of 2013. The trilogy is in free verse with musical and video accompaniment throughout, written for rod puppets in the style of the Japanese Bunraku. The subject is the human spiritual condition in the context of today’s media inundation. The conceit used is that of the Hindu/Buddhist concept of reincarnation, where a soul can be reborn on the wheel of life as an animal, a demon, a human being or a God relative to its Karma. The story follows a “love affair” through two generations of incarnations. At the onset, the heroine, Rose, is a dog. At close, she is a Warrior Ant.

Eye of the Storm
by Spybird Theater
Photo by Deb Lazar

Christine Marie (San Francisco, CA)
Signaling Arcana
Director and inventor Christine Marie creates an immersive large-scale cinematic shadow theater production. Set in the American wilderness as 19th century industrialization looms, this expressionist story explores the theme of the railroad as it relates to the destruction of the environment and the imagination. This production will innovate modern shadow theater by its use of theatrical space, stereoscopic 3D effects, a projected video character and in revealing the mechanism of the techniques to the audience.

Zvi Sahar (South Orange, NJ)
Salt of the Earth
960 pounds of salt, 113 black chalk sketches, and one 1967 combat bag bring the newest PuppetCinema alive, telling the story of a novelist fleeing a military coup in his country, and his escape to the last free place standing. Based on The Road to Ein Harod, a novel by Amos Kenan, Salt of the Earth is the story of a land that never rests from fighting, and the sober acceptance of the tragic cycle of of war.

Kori & Alo
by Luis Tentindo
Photo by Bob Morrison

P.S. Jones and the Frozen City
by terraNOVA Theatre Collective, Inc.
Photo by Jill Steinberg

Spybird Theater (Brattleboro, VT)
Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm takes place on a small island inhabited by an elegant woman and an grotesque couple with a baby. The two parties do not get along but their relations change when they all face the impact of a big storm. As our characters struggle to cling to their dreams on a disintegrating island, we begin to wonder what is actually eroding out from underneath them.

Luis Tentindo (Los Angeles, CA)
Kori & Alo
Kori and Alo is a one-hour puppet theater piece that tells the story of a brother and sister and a young girl who possesses the ability to heal a community which has experienced a natural disaster. The main character, Kori, possesses an uncanny ability to scavenge for recyclable materials with which she builds ingenious new homes for members of her community. The pieces utilizes Bunraku-style puppetry, dance and shadows as well as unique sets and props. The piece includes live performance and soundscore by acclaimed composer Miguel Frasconi.

terraNOVA Theatre Collective, Inc. (New York, NY)
P.S. Jones and the Frozen City
P.S. Jones & The Frozen City is an epic comic book style adventure that follows our hero, Pig Shit, and his two companions, the ghost of a Gunslinger and a giant Green Hand, as they travel across the Burning Waste in search of revenge and the promise that awaits them just beyond the glass of The Frozen City. An ensemble of 7 actors and 3 puppeteers create the world via the Greek Chorus-style of storytelling. With this in mind, puppet designer Eric Wright embraces a "New American Style" of puppetry, blending cultural and visual styles. 

Rite of Spring
by Basil Twist
Photo by Daniel Brodie

Basil Twist (New York, NY)
Rite of Spring
This production is a full-length orchestral program to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the premiere of the Ballet Russes of Rite of Spring. The evening will be a further exploration of abstract puppetry and music that Twist began exploring with his Symphonie Fantastique. Accompanied by Orchestra of St. Lukes in Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, NC, Twist will stage this world-premiere work, Rite of Spring, that transforms traditional puppetry into kinetic fabric and smoke sculptures into what he calls “a ballet without dancers.” Twist will also stage his new versions of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Fireworks on the same evening.

Wakka Wakka Productions, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)
Inspired by a 1240AD Icelandic tale, over 30 puppets ranging from 6 inches to 10 feet will tell the story of Egil Skallagrimsson, one of the most famous anti-heroes in Viking history: an unstoppable warrior and Skald (poet) unmatched in physical strength, combat skill and eloquence of verse. Through the retelling of Egla, as Egil’s saga is known, SAGA will investigate the troubled state of modern Iceland and how it exemplifies the financial crisis that continues to deeply affect the world.


SEED GRANTS ($2,000)

Torry Bend (Durham, NC)
If My Feet Have Left the Ground am I Closer to Heaven?
If My Feet Have Left the Ground am I Closer to Heaven? Is a toy theater play about reaching for the unknown, reflection and loss. The story follows a couple struggling to come together while living an ocean and continent apart. The play dissects their moments of flight: suspended anticipation, areal perspective, and time for limitless reflection in confined physical space. The video and puppetry in this project will utilize documentation of aerial photography and digital medical imaging to create a dream-like inflight experience of visual depth and heart aching beauty. 

Aaron Cromie & Mary Tuomanen (Philadelphia, PA)
The Body Lautrec
The Body Lautrec is a meditation on the life, work and maladies of French painter, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The iconic artist suffered from from the rare genetic disease of pycnodysostosis, discovered in his youth as well as syphilis, contracted later in his life, forever influencing his unique perspective on the world. Performed in English and French, this workshop presentation explores the intersection of 19th Century art and medicine featuring skeletal puppets inspired by Philadelphia's Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities and will be performed in one of the Mutter's salons.

Julian Crouch (Brooklyn, NY)
Bird Heart
Theatre maker Julian Crouch and composer/musician Saskia Lane join forces to unfold a story provoked by the startling images that Chris Jordan captured on the Midway Atoll of young albatross bodies filled with the throwaway detritus of mass human consumption. Together they will capture both the beauty and the tragedy of how one thing leads to another, and how the smallest thing can have the greatest of impact. They will dramatize their story through a series of animated images created in front of the audiences' eyes from bits and pieces of plastic and feathers pulled out of the sand.

Of Little Matter
by Dead Puppet Society
Photo by David Morton

Dead Puppet Society (Long Island City, NY)
Of Little Matter
Making use of nothing but household objects and the performers’ hands, Of Little Matter transcends from the simple to the sublime by exploring the fragile attempts of these objects to engage in a world that views them as nothing more than things. Through the transformation of the theatre into an inventive wonderland where tabletops grow grass, and water bottles become the depths of the ocean; the work expands the imaginations of adults and children alike. Working on principles of found objects and transformation, this quietly touching piece illustrates the beautiful and evocative reactions of these overlooked beings in their existential struggle to claim an impossible life; one that is full of playfulness, joy and laughter.

Emily DeCola (New York, NY)
Mapping Up
A major US satellite intelligence program — codenamed Hexagon — was declassified in 2011 after 35 years of total secrecy. More than a thousand scientists went home for dinner, ready to talk about their work, and found that their children had long since grown up. The family meals, games and bedtime stories had unfolded over the decades, entirely outside the fathers' Cold War Neverland. Inspired by true stories of spy satellites, deep space telescopy, and J.M Barrie’s Peter PanMapping Up follows a father and daughter through layers of secrets towards a shared understanding of their world.

Andy Gaukel (Louisville, KY)
Schweinehund, named after a German insult that literally translates to "pig-dog," combines live puppetry and projected animations to explore the persecution, torture and murder of persons suspected of homosexuality by the Nazis during World War II. The central story of Schweinehund is a meditation on Holocaust survivor Pierre Seel’s true story of love found and lost during this dark time. 

Moon Show 143
by Kyle Loven
Photo by Tim Summers

Kyle Loven (Seattle, WA)
Moon Show 143
Moon Show 143 combines cultural moon myths from around the world to tell a story of inevitability. Following the moon on his cyclical journey with Earth, the piece portrays four fateful encounters between children and the moon, and the moon's subsequent unraveling. This show blends puppetry, recorded sound, and dance. 

Jeanine Padgett and James Sheehan (Baltimore, MD)
Soul of Wood
Soul of Wood, based on the Jakov Lind novella, is a beautiful, dark tale about two individuals surviving madness and miracle in WWII-era Austria, retold through marionettes, rod puppets, and shadow puppets.

Skysaver Produtions (New York, NY)
The Ionesco Project
The Chairs is a radical re-imagining of the classic 1952 absurdist play by Ionesco. In our version (a rewritten text), each chair is a uniquely designed performing object, operated either by a performer inside the chair or by a puppeteer outside the chair. 35 chairs come to life and speak or sing. A live music score is composed and performed by Sxip Shirey.

Trouble Puppet Theater Company (Austin, TX)
The Head
The stage is a giant human head which cracks open to reveal the interior, where the Mechanic and the Personal Demons — Czech marionettes, rod puppets, and puppets that are built into the set and operated by means of cranks and levers from backstage — do battle. Through the eyeholes, the audience can see a point-of-view film of a day in the life of the human being within whom the Mechanic works. As the human interacts with the world, the Mechanic is forced to rush from Speaking Pump to Walking Gears to Cognitive Spring. All the while, as obstacles arise in the human’s life or his choices incapacitate him further, cages in the back of the head break open, releasing Personal Demons of various shapes and purposes. An epic struggle ensues: the struggle that takes place inside each of us every day.

by Christopher Williams
Photo by Andrew Jordan

Christopher Williams (Brooklyn, NY)
Inspired by ancient themes of the "mythic hero’s journey" found in medieval Welsh literature, Wolf-in-Skins is an evening-length "dance-opera" choreographed and directed by Christopher Williams and composed by Gregory Spears. Driven by choreographed operatic sequences supported by supertitles, the work combines live music, dance, puppetry, and visual design to re-imagine lost mythology as a staged ritual.



Max R. Daily (San Diego, CA)
Peter and the Wolf (revisited)
This retelling of Peter and the Wolf takes place in an old run down workshop where Peter a now young man rediscovers the day he as a young boy captured a wolf. The story will come to life on stage as the puppeteer discovers items in the shop which become the characters from his past. A variety of puppet styles including table top and shadows along with live narration and reworking musical score of the traditional composition. 

Cindy Derby (Los Angeles, CA)
Mr. Kyoto's Aquarium Shop
Mr. Kyoto’s Aquarium Shop is an original story that follows the journey of an orphan girl, Maddy, who comes across a strange aquarium shop and its shop owner beneath the streets of an ominous city. Evoking a children’s fantasy for all ages, Mr. Kyoto’s Aquarium Shop will be a visually striking puppetry performance about creating connections with the elderly, and learning about someone through loss. This piece will use visually poetic elements, including rod style puppets, underwater shadow puppetry, live projections, and live musical components.

Dramatic Adventure Theatre / Puppet Kitchen (New York, NY)
A Girl Without Wings
Wicked hummingbirds dart through the air, vivid threads of prayer reach for the gods, and shoes rain from the sky in this Andean myth meets indie love story. Born out of Dramatic Adventure Theatre’s ongoing service work in Ecuador, Jason Williamson’s A Girl without Wings tells the story of a lonely Condor who falls in love with a free-spirited shepherd girl named Chaska. Working with the esteemed Puppet Kitchen, DAT offers a unique vision of this cherished cultural treasure — the Quechuan story of the condor — for a new community and a new generation of audiences.

Squirrel Stole My Underpants
by Bonnie Duncan

Bonnie Duncan (Boston, MA)
Squirrel Stole My Underpants
Sylvie is sent to the backyard to hang up the laundry. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous, bow-tied squirrel steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. In this poignantly silly adventure tale, told through a blend of puppetry, dance and physical theater, Bonnie Duncan brings the unordinary world of one lonely girl to life from a laundry basket. Squirrel Stole My Underpants features original music by Brendan Burns and Tony Leva, and premiered at Brookline’s Puppet Showplace Theater in early 2013.

Liz Joyce & a Couple of Puppets (Sag Harbor, NY)
The Doubtful Sprout and the Secret World of Soil
The Doubtful Sprout is an underground odyssey that takes young audiences into the microscopic environment of soil and its tiny inhabitants. We meet the Doubtful Seed who is impatient and unsure about her future. Once tucked into the ground, she meets a crew of subterranean creatures who conspire to make a rich, fertile world perfect for growing.  Playing with scale and a multi-level puppet stage, tabletop and shadow puppets will take us on a journey to an often un-seen environment and into the amazing, living world of soil. Along the way, we will meet the bacterium ballerinas, a wandering worm and the Mooks the Mole among many others. This 40-minute puppet show, targeted to children ages 7 and under, will be full of original songs and lots to learn along the way.

Madcap Puppet Theatre (Cincinnati, OH)
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors is a heartwarming chamber opera by Gian Carlo Menotti which tells the tale of the crippled Amahl and his life-changing encounter with Three Wise Men seeking the Christ Child. Amahl and his widowed mother are poor, without a home or any hope: puppets, dancers and song bring this tale to life with amazing results.

by Mettawee River Theater Company

Mettawee River Theater Company (New York, NY)
During the summer of 2013, we will present Taliesin on our tour of outdoor performances in upstate New York, New England and New York City. The story of Taliesin comes from the medieval Welsh epic, The Mabinogion, in which the power of inspiration is accidentally bestowed on an unlikely kid, who can suddenly see beyond everyday reality, becoming the guiding light for all poets in the Welsh bardic tradition. Our production will incorporate a quirky array of giant figures, puppets and masks in this celebration of transformation and imagination.


by Spellbound Theatre
Photo by Lauren Jost

Spellbound Theatre (Brooklyn, NY)
Wink is Spellbound Theatre's premier original production for young audiences. Loosely based on the classic Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, this captivating performance blends shadow puppetry, projection, and physical theatre to entrance very young audiences (ages 0-5) and adults alike. Originally developed by Spellbound Theatre in 2011, we are presenting a fully-produced run of performances for family audiences in Brooklyn in May, 2013.  


Dixon Place
Puppet Blok 2013 $5,000

Flushing Town Hall
The Queen of Colors $5,000

HERE Dream Music Puppetry
2013 Season $10,000

Great Small Works
2013 Toy Theater Festival & Temporary Toy Theater Museum $10,000

The Public
Under the Radar 2013 $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Labapalooza 2013 $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
Opus No. 7 $5,000

The Tank
Loss Machine & Close to Decline $5,000