Puppets & Poets
Puppets & Poets is an annual festival and workshop series produced by Alphabet Arts at The Bushwick Starr to explore and celebrate puppetry and poetry, two of the world’s oldest and most diversely practiced art forms. Please join us for our 4th annual festival, Thursday-Sunday, December 4-7, 2014!
Featured Artists include: Jessica Abrego, Teresa Bayer, Ren Carrillo, Ugo Chukwu, John Dyer, Zach Dorn, Jonathan Ellers, Cassidy Elms, John Foti, Charlotte Gaspard, Matthew Groff, Kevin Hale, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Matt Leabo, Lindsay MacNaughton, Brett Macias, Christine Malvasi, Jamie Moore, Megan Murtha, Tyler Rivenbark, Lavinia Roberts, Maggie Robinson, Sarah Sala, Rachel Schapira, Lake Simons, Shayna Strype, Storm Thomas, BooLynn Walsh, Zeb West, Christina Quintana, Alex Young
Production Team: Dr. Amber West, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Neelam Vaswani, Carmen Torres
If you’d like to learn more about past Puppets & Poets festivals, please scroll down and read on. And for the hardcore, there’s even more archival info about the origins of P&P on our Past Projects page…
The 3rd annual Puppets & Poets festival was held at The Bushwick Starr, December 6-8, 2013, and included two eclectic programs blending poetry, puppetry, and other arts. Our 3rd annual festival features poets, puppeteers, musicians, actors, dancers, and other artists from NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Austin in an evening cabaret for mature audiences (8pm Fri-Sat, 7pm Sun) and a family-friendly matinee program (3pm Sat-Sun).
Thanks to the support of donors to our indiegogo campaign, as well as our institutional Allies, the 2013 festival was our biggest and best yet! Matinees were FREE, interactive, appropriate for all ages, and followed by poetry-writing and puppet-making workshops. Evening cabarets were big fun for grown-ups and worth every penny ($15 tickets here or $18 at the door).
A few highlights of the 2013 festival included The Folk Opera by San Francisco poet/musician Annie Bacon and her band with puppetry by Alphabet Arts; a David Bowie-inspired puppet rocket adventure called Spacetansmananagasm by Austin actor/puppeteer Zeb West; and Blown Away by Poetry, an interactive puppet musical by NYC’s Urban Stages.
For more flavor of the show, check out this fun preview article published in Poets & Writers a few days before the festival.
P&P 2013 Participating Artists included…
Alphabet Arts, Brooklyn Gypsy, Urban Stages, Annie Bacon, Danya Bergy, Chris Borchardt, Daniel Broadhurst, Ren Carrillo, Jonah Eller-Isaacs, Rima Fand, Randy Ginsburg, Elizabeth Greenblatt, Modesto “Flako” Jimenez, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Lindsay MacNaughton, Jamie Moore, Takahiro Morooka, Jeremy Mulder, Liz Parker, Grace Rectra, Gwen Rooker, Mark Sitko, Rachel Sullivan, Carmen Torres, Renee Torres, Neelam Vaswani, Amber West, Sam T. West, Zeb West, Kathryn Wilkening
P&P 2013 Production Team: Artistic Director: Dr. Amber West; Production Manager: Neelam Vaswani; Lead Builders: Kirsten Kammermeyer, Ren Carrillo; Technical Consultant: Mark Sitko; Production Assistants: Carmen Torres, Nora Robertson Brooks; PS 123 Teaching Artists: Chris Borchardt, Modesto “Flako” Jimenez
More about Puppets & Poets…
Alphabet Arts launched Puppets & Poets (P&P) in 2011 to create opportunities for diverse artists, youth, and audiences to collaboratively explore the relationship between puppetry and poetry. Participants in our inaugural hands-on workshops created original “puppet poems” and performed to sold-out audiences at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Creative Arts Studio. Thanks to this success, The Bushwick Starr invited Alphabet Arts to produce a larger festival in 2012. P&P creates opportunities for diverse professional artists to collaborate and innovate by supporting the development and presentation of new work that crosses boundaries between artistic disciplines. Through free programs and bilingual outreach efforts, P&P also provides diverse families with access to the arts. For our 3rd annual festival in 2013, we have expanded P&P to include a donation of arts education programs to PS 123, a Title 1 elementary school in Bushwick. 100+ third graders will take a field trip to the Starr for two exclusive P&P performances, and fifth graders will receive a month of after school poetry and puppetry workshops. P&P 2013 is made possible in part by grant and in-kind support from the Greater NY Arts Development Fund of the NYC DCA, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council; Citizens Committee of New York City; Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the NYC DCA, in partnership with the City Council; and The Bushwick Starr.
Even more background on Puppets & Poets…
Alphabet Arts created this unique program in 2011. Founding collective members (puppeteer Kirsten Kammermeyer, poet Amber West, and musician Chris Borchardt) offered a series of workshops in Brooklyn, NY for artists, youth and community members interested in collaboratively exploring the relationship between puppetry and poetry. Each workshop culminated into a showcase performance in which participants’ “puppet poems” made their debut. Participants in our inaugural workshops performed to sold-out audiences at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Creative Arts Studio. Due to this success, we were invited to produce a larger festival at the Obie award-winning Bushwick Starr, an off-off Broadway theater that The Columbia Journalist describes as “a cornerstone of one of NY’s fastest growing art scenes.”
HerCircle magazine featured an article about Alphabet Arts Co-Founder Amber West and Puppets & Poets in January 2012. Read it here.
For more details and photos of our 2011 Creative Arts Studio workshops for youth, our 2012 BAX workshops for adults, and our 2nd annual festival in December 2012 at the Starr, visit Past Projects.
Participating artists in our debut Puppets & Poets festival at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in February 2012 included:
Lydia Andrien, Davis Berry, Anna Bradfield, Chris Borchardt, Lawrence Carrillo, Shane Chapman, TM De Vos, Doll Parts, Renee Dumouchel, Chris Giarmo, Ariel Greenberg, Michael Feld, Alaina Ferris, Pia Garber, TS Hawkins, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Vani Kannan, Matthew Leabo, Kate Marvin, Kyla McHale, Brendan McMahon, Renata Melillo, Claire Moodey, Mandy Moore, Baker Overstreet, The People’s Puppets of OWS, Katie Issel Pitre, Maggie Robinson, Amye Rubinschneider, Julia Sirna-Frest, Joseph Therrien, Anna Umansky, Jono Waldman, Boo Lynn Walsh, Monica Wendel, Amber West, Kathryn Wilkening
Participating artists in our 2nd annual Puppets & Poets festival at The Bushwick Starr in December 2012 included:
Todd Anderson, Ryan Andes, Chris Borchardt, Susan Brennan, Jessica Browne-White, Lawrence “Ren” Carillo, Bronwen Densmore, Zach Dorn, Sarah Engelman, Michael Feld, Miriam Grill, Modesto “Flako” Jimenez, Johanna Hamm, TS Hawkins, Richard Hinojosa, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Betty T. Kao, Maia Karo, Matt Leabo, Claire Lebowitz, Robin Lee, Virginia Logan, Christine Malvasi, Kyla McHale, Sarah McSherry, Mandi Molnar, Claire Moodey, Jamie Moore, Jeff Nash, Jamie Neumann, Siobhan O’Loughlin, Eva Proum, Magda Rachwal, Grace Rectra, Martin Rock, Jonah Rosenberg, Katie Sasso, Adeeba Talukder, Joe “The Puppeteer” Therrien, Marina Tsaplina, Neelam Vaswani, Sonia Villani, Monica Wendel, Amber West
Young Adult Repertory
About our Young Adult Repertory
Students ages 15 and up who are interested in receiving hands-on training in the arts are invited to participate in Alphabet Arts’ Young Adult Repertory in Morgan Hill, California, directed by NYC-based theater artist and Alphabet Arts collective member Mark Sitko. Students in our 2011 conservatory had the opportunity to create and perform a full length live-band rock operetta adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Our 2011 Summer Conservatory served 23 students, providing three full scholarships and seven partial. In 2012, 20 participants performed three cutting-edge plays about growing up in modern America: punkplay by Gregory S. Moss, The Aliens by Annie Baker, and Football/In The Pony Palace by Tina Satter and Half Straddle. 2012 participants also received training from professional artists in poetry, puppetry, and mask/movement, attended field trips, performed in a cabaret, and raised funds for the search for Sierra LaMar.
View a television interview with the 2012 YAR program directors here. View a video created by 2012 program participant, Jon Michael Villagomez here. You can also view photos from the summer 2011 program here, and from summer 2012 here.
Alphabet Arts will continue to provide an annual summer arts conservatory in California, striving to increase our program offerings in summer 2013, bringing in additional professional guest artists to provide youth with cutting edge artistic training and performance opportunities. Check our website in the spring for registration info for our 2013 Young Adult Repertory. For more details on our 2011 and 2012 performances, visit Past Projects.
Puppets Got Talent
A colorful array of hopeful stars– puppets from near and far– strut their stuff in a talent competition like no other. All-new contestants battle the reigning champ, Sweatshirt Man. Singers, dancers, contortionists, comedians, and more! With the help of some special celebrity judges, the audience decides the winners.
Puppets Got Talent is a fun, funny and interactive puppet show for all ages. The show utilizes bunraku and found object puppetry, as well as interactive performance, to teach children the importance of imagination, creativity and collaboration as keys to success.
Upcoming Performances of Puppets Got Talent
Past Performances of Puppets Got Talent
Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 1pm
at the Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza.
Free! Arrive early, seating is first-come first-served!
View event invitation here. This performance is part of BPL’s Saturday Family Programs series supported by The Hearst Foundation, Inc.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
5th Annual Hawthorne Street Block Party, between Flatbush & Bedford, Brooklyn, NY
For the third year in a row, Alphabet Arts’ volunteer artists created and donated a new puppet show to Brooklyn’s Flatbush/Lefferts Gardens community. Two different free performances of Puppets Got Talent were presented 9/10/11 at 12pm & 3pm on the front porch of 99 Hawthorne St. during the 5th Annual Hawthorne Street Block Party. View photos here.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th St., NY, NY
Alphabet Arts was thrilled to take part in Puppetry Arts Day, part of the Intrepid Museum’s Kids Week 2011!
Puppetry Arts Day took place from 10am-5pm on Monday, February 21, and included performances by Alphabet Arts and other puppetry companies, appearances by Star Wars characters, Gordon from Sesame Street, as well as puppet-making, arts and crafts, and face painting. At Alphabet Arts’ booth, visitors had a chance to make their own “big mouth” puppet. Alphabet Arts performed Puppets Got Talent on the Intrepid’s main stage as part of the day’s events. Showtimes were 11am & 4:15pm. More details on our Facebook event page!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Puppets Got Talent first debuted on the front porch of 99 Hawthorne St. during the 4th Annual Hawthorne Street Block Party with free outdoor performances at 12pm, 2pm and 5pm. Pictures & video here. Click here to hear the audio interview of Alphabet Arts by Alexander Mallis of www.alexmallis.com.
City Of Hamburgers
Jeffrey is tired of the same old fairy tales and wants to hear about Grandma’s life growing up in the old country. Imagination, as well as ketchup and mustard, flow through this delightfully quirky story. A mouthwatering puppet play for children of all ages performed with live music, dancing hamburgers, and great relish!
Upcoming Performances of City of Hamburgers
Past Performances of City of Hamburgers
***Kings Bay Branch, Brooklyn Public Library***
3650 Nostrand Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11229
on Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 2pm
Free performance, seating first-come first-served. Event details here!
***Flatbush Branch, Brooklyn Public Library***
22 Linden Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11226
on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 2pm
Free performance, seating first-come first-served. Event details here!
Alphabet Arts’ 2011 City of Hamburgers Brooklyn Public Library tour was sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC)
For info and photos of even more past performances of City of Hamburgers, visit our Past Projects page.
More about this project…
Alphabet Arts’ puppet play is based on City of Hamburgers (Inkwater Press, 2008), a children’s book by author Mike Reiss (The Simpsons, Ice Age) and illustrator Xeth Feinberg (Mishmash Media). In City of Hamburgers, a German-born grandmother tells her US-born grandson a story about growing up as a “Hamburger,” marrying a Frankfurter, and later becoming an American. This short (approx. 30 minutes), funny and entertaining play makes timely social issues such as acceptance of differences, multicultural diversity, immigration and “becoming American” accessible to young audiences, while also modeling the importance of oral history and intergenerational storytelling. Inkwater Press interviewed Alphabet Arts about our adaptation. Read the interview here, and Inkwater’s press release from our debut here.