May 2017 Newsletter

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Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh

May 2017 Newsletter 


Greetings, puppeteers and friends! Ah, spring! A time of warm weather, flowers, and thoughts of puppet performances, slams, and workshops. We’re excited about this, our second year of the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh. Bonds are being formed, collaborations forged, and plans made. Our members have been busy improving our guild.

At our upcoming May 21 meeting at the Cultural Trust Education Center, we will hear updates on the progress towards the guild’s non profit status, information on our second annual puppet slam, and discuss planned puppetryworkshops for the future. Dues will also be collected on this day, so if you haven’t paid your membership dues for 2017, now is the time! 
All this, and many of us will attend a performance of the puppet play Simple Gifts at Pittsburgh Arts Education Center after the meeting. It should be fun!
We hope you can join us in May to help promote the art of puppetry in Pittsburgh!
Keep your hands up,

Darlene Fedele Thompson
Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh

photo above of cast members and puppets from Penelope’s Dragon


Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh

May Membership Meeting
Sunday, May 21, 2017
1:30-2:30 PM

Trust Education Center
805-807 Liberty Ave.
Downtown Pittsburgh


Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh

May Membership Meeting




(Bob Rumba with a puppet head by artist Bill Nelson)



While at the Scott Land School of Puppetry Arts & Design in Las Vegas, Bob Rumba found a ventriloquist figure head created by artist Bill Nelson (see photo). Not only did Nelson create art with Pointillism, but his art also graced the covers of Newsweek, Time and TV Guide. When he began making figures for ventriloquists, they were so lifelike some were bought just for display. When Bill realized he didn’t have to create the mechanics of a puppet, he began making figurines. Nelson created figurines of famous people like Clint Eastwood and Boris Karloff and also of characters like Frankenstein. He also created specific figurines for stars like Demi Moore.

During the next scheduled class at the school, Scott Land will be teaching the art of making ventriloquist figures. Instructor Ronn Lucas will teach ventriloquism classes on May 12, 13 and 14, 2017 at Scott Land School of Puppetry.

On May 14, 2017, visit Bob Rumba and other entertainers at the 25th annual Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh Race for the Cure® at Schenley Park in Oakland. Bob says, “It’s the only day a guy can wear a pink suit and people think it’s normal. Otherwise, they think I’m an advertisement for Pepto-Bismol or a faded lawn flamingo”.

May 21, 2017:  20th Annual Write On  PBS  Kids Writer’s Contest. Winners will have their stories performed in puppet form at Mister Roger’s original studio at WQED TV, by “Pittsburgh PuppetWorks”: Gwen Bowman, Sigurdur Erlingsson, Carla Simmons, Bob Rumba and team.

Bob Rumba and Gwen Bowman from Pittsburgh Puppet Works

July 12-15, 2017 is the Vent Haven conVENTion @ the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, 20 minutes from the Vent Haven Museum. Vent Haven will feature ventriloquists and puppets of all kinds, including ventriloquist Dennis Bowman with Chester Drawers. Bob Rumba will host the Late Nite Open Mic, which is open to all performers, not just ventriloquists. “I always have fun hosting those shows,” says Bob. “The first night I perform as Bob Rumba and the second night, I perform as somebody else. If you think of somebody I could or should do, impression- wise, let me know.”

See Ya Soon

Bob Rummmmba


Darlene Fedele and Scott K. Hall with puppets from The Refrigerator.

Darlene Fedele, Director of Puppets in Performance, has been busy during the past several months. During March-April 2017, Darlene constructed a Sorting Hat puppetfor the murder mystery production of Mischief Managed, at the Little Dinner Theater Players in Lynchburg, Virginia.

On March 5, 2017,  Thompson teamed up with guild member Scott K. Hall to perform The Refrigerator,  for the Pittsburgh 10-Minute Play Festival at the Glitter Box Theater. The Refrigerator is a new puppet play about an elderly man whose refrigerator breaks; he contemplates whether it’s worthwhile to invest in a new appliance at his age. The play contained an original song and was well-received by the audience of over 100 people.

Thompson also directed Penelope’s Dragon, a musical comedy for puppets at the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival in March and April, 2017. Penelope’s Dragon is a fairy tale with a twist: a young woman falls in love with a dragon. Unfortunately, dragons have been banned in the kingdom, and a knight is out to kill him. Penelope must decide how to deal with intolerance in the small village. Thompson, who has an MFA in Playwriting from Hollins University, created all aspects of Penelope’s Dragon, including the script, music, puppets and sets. Thompson, performed the role of Lester the Jester and was joined the following cast: Elena Egusquiza as Penelope, Chris Cattell as Sir Dirk the Knight, Joe Milliren as Drake the Dragon, and Nupur Charyalu as Queen Ellie. Penelope’s Dragon was performed three times during Fringe (once at Artists’ Image Resource, and twice at Alphabet City) and won the Pittsburgh Fringe 2017 Award for Best Children’s Show. The play also received positive audience response and positive reviews from Pittsburgh in the Round. Pittsburgh Fringe 2017 marked the first time Penelope’s Dragon was performed in Pittsburgh, having first been produced in Roanoke Virginia in 2013.



Puppets on Broadview are currently rehearsing some well-known fables to be presented at St. Sergius church school in Ohio this summer. (Pics of alligator and lobster above)Guild member Felicia Cooper performed I Went for a Walk in the Forest on April 29th at 11:30 am at Alphabet City, City of Asylum, and will perform Elpis on June 30th  in residency with Pearl Arts Studio at 201 N Braddock Ave. Elpis is an allegorical exploration of the myth of Pandora as an extrapolation of our cultural myths surrounding evil and hope. Elpis will include hand carved marionette, shadow puppets, a crankie, and live music.




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