The Festival

Puppets in the Green Mountains:
Walking to the Borders

September 11-20, 2015

Sandglass Theater is presenting its 9th international Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival: Walking to the Borders from September 11th to 20th, 2015, with a tidal wave of puppet experiences in and around Putney and Brattleboro, Vermont.

The 2015 festival will have an encompassing theme for the first time: Walking to the Borders. The performances, while vastly diverse in artistry and content, all focus on the experiences of displacement, otherness, togetherness, play and commitment to a more livable world. Discussions and workshops will complement the performances and permit audiences to interact and make connection with the issues raised by the artists. Nationally known activists concerned with immigration, race, and human rights will engage in public dialogues with the performers. Among these voices are Shura Wallin, who works with Green Valley Samaritans to rescue migrants from the Arizona deserts, Christal Brown, formally of Urban Bush Women, now on the dance faculty of Middlebury College, and Julie Lichtenberg, director of The Performance Project in Springfield, MA.

In the spirit of Walking to the Borders, Sandglass is excited to have the opportunity to host a company from Cuba for the first time ever: Teatro de las Estaciones will present El Patico Feo (The Ugly Duckling), a show for children about being different, told with colorful, two-dimensional puppets, song and dance. The festival is also bringing Theater Waidspeicher from Germany with their elegant rendition of Romeo and Juliet, the most classic story of difference, conflict and transformation told completely without words. American found-object puppeteer Paul Zaloom will be opening the festival with his famously funny White Like Me, a one-man satire depicting a society where whites are rapidly becoming the minority. Zaloom will also be present for a weeklong residency during the festival.

On top of an incredible roster of performances, this festival will include a variety of workshops, including a toy theater workshop for middle school students with Trudi Cohen and John Bell of Great Small Works. There will be a festival gala, fringe events and meals giving the audience, local community, and artists an opportunity for intimate connections and personal interactions. Discussions and workshops will complement the performances and permit audiences to interact and make connection with the issues raised by the artists. The festival will continue to incorporate bursts of artistry throughout all events including Quebec performance artist, Magali Chouinard, who will appear spontaneously throughout the town during the days of the festival as the mysterious woman in white.

The festival will officially begin on September 12th with a keynote address by Erik Ehn, Chair of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. Ehn will set the tone for the festival theme of exploring issues of difference and “otherness” through performance and puppetry. This will be a festival for everyone, and there is a point of entry from many fields of interest. There is balanced programming for both family and adult audiences, virtuosity for the theatrical enthusiast, dialogue and engagement for the social activist.

Puppets in the Green Mountains brings stories that can speak to everyone’s experiences and a world of infinite creative possibility. By integrating the festival performances with community-based discussions, Sandglass Theater underscores the relevance and importance of art in addressing and inspiring engagement with national and international issues here in our community. Eric Bass, Co-Artistic Director of Sandglass Theater, adds, “One of our aims with this Festival is to interconnect arts and issues. This is not to say that all art is necessarily political, but we feel that our programming needs to resonate with relevance in our communities, local and wide.”

This festival is the signature event of Sandglass Theater in Southern Vermont. Sandglass reaches out into the local community by offering programming and workshops to local schools, partnerships with local organizations, and by bringing artists and community together through housing, meals, and other celebrations. Audiences have the opportunity to weave their own adventure in this 10-day festival by choosing from many exciting events and performances, mingling with the artists and presenters, and engaging with other audience members.

This festival is supported by the Clowes Fund, the Vermont Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fresh Sound Foundation, the Vermont Community Fund, the National Performance Network, the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center, Next Stage Arts Project, Landmark College, ArtPlace America, Chroma Technology Corp. and local supporters and sponsors.

Find out more about how you can get involved and help support this year’s festival here.