Innovative Puppet Theater Offers Free Performance

Posted: March 2, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Department of Theater is hosting “Imminent Attack,” a performance by Bread and Puppet Theater, on Wednesday, March 3, at 8 p.m. in TheaterSpace. Bread and Puppet is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in the United States. Currently based on a farm in West Glover, Vt., the company tours its new and old productions–shows which range from tightly composed theater pieces to extensive outdoor pageants requiring the training and participation of many local people–throughout the year.

Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1962 by Peter Schumann, a German-born sculptor. Inspired by ancient folk traditions and classical artists, the group quickly began to illustrate everything from children’s fairy tales to the daily news. As the puppets grew larger, often approaching–and even exceeding–human scale, the theater pieces grew more complex and incorporated elements of sculpture, music, and dance.

In the early 1970s, the company relocated to its current facilities, a 100-year-old hay barn transformed into a nonprofit museum housing hundreds of puppets of all sizes. Other parts of the farm are used for stage- and puppet-building, workshops, printing, sewing, and rehearsals. The company’s tradition of social engagement lives on in the form of public productions held on a variety of social, political, and environmental themes.

Bread and Puppet Theater has appeared in North Africa, Venezuela, Australia, Italy, France, and Poland. The company has been recognized with an Obie Award, the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Puppeteers of America Award.

Wednesday’s performance will be followed by the distribution of bread baked fresh in a brick oven that the theater company will build on campus. Admission is free, although donations to the company are accepted. Tickets are available at the Center for the Arts box office. For more information, call 703-993-1120.

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