Nashville’s International Puppet Festival!


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Nashville, Tenn.– Theater lovers of all ages, and fans of magical marionettes, won’t want to miss Nashville’s International Puppet Festival, June 20-22 at the downtown Main Library, 615 Church St. and Church Street Park.

The three-day festival presents world-class puppeteers from Italy, France, Germany and China as well as the library’s own Wishing Chair Productions, performing a variety of shows in the best European and international puppetry traditions, from traditional Punch and Judy to cabaret showcase and “object theater.”

Scheduled festival performers include:

  • Magdeburg Puppentheater (Germany): The puppeteers from Nashville’s sister city, who packed the house on a visit to the library in 2004, return with their special brand of puppet magic in Little Red Riding Hood.

  • Teatro dei Burattini San Carlino (Italy): Color and craft are the hallmarks of the San Carlino group, who perform Music Abducts Puppets, a free interpretation of the opera The Abduction of the Seraglio by W.A. Mozart accompanied by Orchestra Nashville, and the U.S. premiere of Pulcinella.

  • Le Vélo Théâtre (France): Formed by Charlot Lemoine and Tania Castaing in Angers, France in 1981, Vélo Théâtre creates performances based on images with few or no words, inviting the audience into a relationship called “le Théâtre d’Objet” or “Object Theater”. Vélo will perform There Is A Rabbit In The Moon and The Postman.

  • Dragon Art Studio (China): Yuqin Wang trained in classical Bejing opera and performed with the national Puppet Art Troupe of China for more than 30 years. Zhengli Xu graduated from the Beijing Puppetry Art School and spent many years studying under the great puppet masters of China, performing as a rod puppeteer for more than 40 years. The pair, now based in the U.S., blends puppetry and music with elegance, humor and special effects in Images of China, which presents a series of vignettes based on traditional—and sometimes not so traditional—Chinese tales.

  • Phillip Huber: This Emmy award-winning master puppeteer, best known for his marionette work for the film Being John Malkovich, creates sophisticated performances and incredible, complex puppets famed around the world. Huber will perform Suspended Animation at the festival.

  • Wood and Strings Theatre: Artistree, the creative team behind this national puppet theater, is known for bringing storybook illustrations to “life” in three-dimensional form. Using elegant reproductions of classic Bunraku puppets of Japan, the company will perform Out of the Mist…a Dragon, a romantic drama that reaches into the world of myth and legend to portray a young man’s exotic journey of self-discovery.

  • Wishing Chair Productions: Nashville Public Library’s resident puppet theater company will showcase their stunning adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream complete with dramatic sets, an original score and handmade puppets and costumes.

Street theater performers include juggler and magician Scott Tripp, Laura Wallace of Bread and Puppet Theatre Company, local kid’s band Adam and the Couch Potatoes, and Adrian Rose and Lon Chaney performing as Mechanical Animals.

Those bitten by the puppetry bug can participate in build-a-puppet craft sessions for all ages, or learn about puppet theater in professional workshops led by Wishing Chair Productions including Puppet Making for All Ages, Adapting Literature for Puppet Shows, and Acting with Puppets.

Showcased in magical sets, an exhibit of historic marionettes from the Tom Tichenor and Peeko Puppets collections at Nashville Public Library will be displayed in the Courtyard Gallery during the festival.

Nashville’s International Puppet Festival, June 20-22 at the downtown Main Library, 615 Church St. The entire event is free and open to the public.

Free shuttle service to the library from state parking lot 28 on Charlotte Ave. and 10th Circle North on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (limited parking available on Friday, June 20 in the attached 7th Ave. garage).

Tickets can be reserved online ($2.50 handling fee per ticket) at http://www.nashvillepuppetfestival.com, or available on first come, first served basis from the Tickets Nashville booth at Church Street Park (across from the downtown library) on festival days. For more information or a complete performance schedule, visit http://www.nashvillepuppetfestival.com or call 862-5800.

Related events:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Featuring a glorious set inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” voice talent by some of Nashville’s finest actors, custom marionettes and hand-and-rod puppets, and a sweeping original score by Dan Landes, this production brings Shakespeare’s comedy classic to new life (recommended for ages 6 and older; running time: 70 minutes). Fridays and Saturdays, June 13, 14, 27, 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the Children’s Theater at Main Library, 615 Church St. Special performances will be held during Nashville’s International Puppet Festival, June 20-22; visit http://www.nashvillepuppetfestival.com for schedule.

Let’s Make Puppets with Wood & Strings Theatre

Wood & Strings Theatre, a national puppet theater company featured in Nashville’s International Puppet Festival, conduct a two-hour puppet-making workshop with all materials provided (Ages 10 and up). Space is limited and registration is required; call 880-3957, ex. 3. Saturday, June 14 at 1:00 PM at Edmondson Pike Branch Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike, 880-3957.

Storytime with Wood and Strings Theatre

Wood and Strings Theatre, national theater company based in Tennessee, present a special storytime for preschoolers featuring a variety of skits and handmade puppets. Wednesday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Goodlettsville Branch Library, 106 Old Brick Church Pike, 862-5862.

Wood and Strings Puppetry Workshop

Learn about puppetry arts and make your own puppet to take home at this two-hour workshop with all materials provided for ages 8-12, hosted by Wood and Strings Theatre. Space is limited and registration is required; call 862-5862. Wednesday, June 18 at 12:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. (two workshops) at Goodlettsville Branch Library, 106 Old Brick Church Pike, 862-5862.

Make-a-Marionette with Wood and Strings Theatre

Wood and Strings Theatre, a national puppet theater company based in Tennessee, introduce the art of handmade marionettes and lead children in a make-a-marionette session with all materials provided (Grades 3 and up).

Space is limited and registration is required; call 880-3951, ex. 3. Thursday, June 19 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. at Hermitage Branch Library, 3700 James Kay Lane, 880-3951.

Music @ Main: The Hollow Trees

L.A. based ensemble The Hollow Trees, performing at the 2008 CMA Music Festival, specialize in high-energy acoustic Americana music played with passion, skill, and humor. Combining bluegrass, country, folk, blues and jazz, they put their stamp on both traditional folk songs and their own original songs, creating “folk music for families.” Saturday, June 7 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Children’s Division at Main Library, 615 Church St., 862-5800.

Summer Reading 2008

Children, teens and adults are invited to Summer Reading at Nashville Public Library. More than 200 programs are offered during Starship Adventure (preschoolers and school-age children) including author readings, storyhours, movies, magic shows, musical performances, craft sessions, and workshops by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. TSR 2008 (teens 12-18) offers computer game tournaments, trivia contests, crafts and board games, movies and anime. Have Books, Will Travel (adults 18+) includes lectures on local and international travel, travelogues on China and Peru, and photography, travel journal and scrapbook workshops. Children who register by June 23 receive a game night package from the Nashville Sounds. Prizes for kids and teens who complete their reading logs include free admission to Adventure Science Center, Grand Old Golf, The Hermitage, Cheekwood, Nashville Shores, Wave Country or Laser Quest. Adults receive a travel tote bag and entry into grand prize drawings for a vintage travel trunk filled with travel accessories. June 2-July 12 at all branches of Nashville Public Library. To register, visit your local branch or http://www.library.nashville.org. For more information, call 862-5800.

The Open Door: Libraries in the 21st Century

How will libraries meet the educational and recreational needs of modern communities? Stephen Abram, president of the Special Libraries Association, past-president of the Canadian and Ontario Library Associations, and chief strategist for the SirsiDynix Institute, was named one of the top 50 people influencing the future of libraries by Library Journal. Join Abram as he shares technologies that will be vital to libraries of the future, and explores ways that libraries can be more open to their communities and neighborhoods. This event is part of “A Strategic Conversation About Nashville Public Library,” a 2008 initiative using public feedback to help direct the future of the library. June 5 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Main Library, 615 Church St. For more information, call 862-5804, ex. 6047.

Authors at Main: Joe R. Lansdale

East Texas resident Joe R. Lansdale is the multi-award winning author of thirty novels and more than 200 short stories, articles and essays. He has received the Edgar Award, the Grinzani Prize for Literature, seven Bram Stoker Awards, and many others. His stories, Bubba Hotep, and Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, were both filmed. He has written screenplays, teleplays, comic book scripts, and teaches creative writing and screenplay writing at Stephen F. Austin State University. He is also the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan, and has been in the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame four times. Join Lansdale, fresh off his guest of honor stint at Hypericon 4 in Nashville, for a reading and signing on Sunday, June 29 at 3 p.m. at Main Library, 615 Church St., 862-5800.

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