Puppet Day in the ‘Burgh’ – March 21st!

Mayor Peduto proclaims Pittsburgh Day of Puppetry on March 21 as the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh celebrates World Day of Puppetry

March 9, 2018–It’s not every day that Mayor Peduto proclaims that it’s Puppet Day in Pittsburgh, in fact, it’s only one day: Wednesday, March 21. For the first time the City of Pittsburgh will celebrate World Day of Puppetry with an official proclamation and plenty of puppet events sponsored by the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh.

“You’ll see puppets in city hall.

You’ll see puppets up on Polish Hill.

Puppets on the North side, South Side, West End.

Puppets in Lawrenceville.

It’s a day to raise puppets all over Pittsburgh.

Puppet paupers and puppet kings.

From the puppets who patch our potholes-

To Puppets who pull the strings!”

                                –  Dave English, President, Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh

Guild members have all kinds of events planned to celebrate the day. Our celebration begins with an official proclamation from Mayor Peduto at 11:00 am where the Giant Puppet Dance Club from Falk Lab School will perform. Here is a list of some of the events:

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Shadow Puppetry by Felicia Cooper

Do you have a little one? Puppetry Day activities will be happening at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Big Mouth Puppets with Light Bright Beautiful Puppetry will take place from 10:30 am to 11:30 am (details here). Guild Member Felicia Cooper will perform her show Porto Domo in the Make Shop at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum at 2 pm. **She will also perform an outdoor show at Friendship Park at 5:30 pm. FRIENDSHIP PARK SHOW CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW STORM!**

Ready to get fit puppet-style? California Cyclepath, a fitness studio located in Brighton Heights, will host a puppet-themed spin class featuring the giant puppets made by studio regular Cheryl Capezzuti.

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Image courtesy of Alison Babusci of Light Bright Beautiful Puppetry.

Interested in Shadows? The Sharpsburg Community Library will host shadow puppet demonstrations in the library lobby and a drop-in hands-on puppetmaking activity for all ages at 6:00 pm featuring guild member and Library STEAM program coordinator Alison Babusci.

Living a little north of the city? Drums and More, a music store in Natrona Heights, will exhibit a pirate puppet made by Guild member Darlene Fedele Thompson.

Want to make your OWN celebration of World Puppetry Day? Using just a library card YOU can check a giant puppet out of the Braddock Carnegie Library and go celebrate as you see fit. Don’t forget to tag your puppet fun with #puppets4pgh.

There will also be a number of puppetry experiences happening at local schools. Guild Member Siggi Erlingsson will be performing his show “Alphabet X Peditions” at St. Thomas Moor School and Guild Member Gwen Bowman will be teaching about a variety of Eastern Puppetry traditions at Propel Montour.

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Image courtesy of Davey T Steinman

The Grand Finale to Pittsburgh Day of Puppetry will be a puppet happy hour at Brillobox.  This event will open with puppet fun and games hosted by guild members Dave English and Tom Sarver, with music by Unfinished Symphonies. Warm-up shenanigans will be followed by a featured presentation by Davey T Steinman. Steinman is a theater artist, puppeteer, and educator working at the crossroads of art, technology, and performance. For Pittsburgh Puppetry Day, he will share a unique solo puppetry performance and behind-the-scenes presentation featuring his recent shadow puppetry and video projection work as co-founder of Paradox Teatro. The performance will draw upon the repertoire of puppetry work “Migraciones” created recently while on tour in Europe and Mexico. After the performance segment, the public will be invited to participate in a hands-on demo of the suitcase shadow theater, and have a Q&A conversation with the artist. This 21 and over event is free and open to the public in the Brillobox upstairs space (6:30 pm – 9:00 pm). The Brillobox is located at 4104 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

What is World Day of Puppetry? Here is a little information from our national organization, Puppeteers of America: Puppetry in America is older than the country itself, but until the beginning of the 20th century, puppet shows were rare. Puppeteers kept their art a closely guarded secret, certainly not shared with the public. In the first half of the 20th century, some puppeteers (most notably Tony Sarg) helped to lift the veil of secrecy, sharing information about their work, which led to the formation of the Puppeteers of America in 1937. In an effort to strengthen recognition of puppetry as a global art form and to align activities with UNIMA-USA, Puppeteers of America has officially merged the National Day of Puppetry with the World Day of Puppetry, each March 21. Today, almost three quarters of a century onward, puppets hold a place in the public’s heart that is rivaled by few other arts. They appear on stage, in movies, on television, and now, on the Internet. The Puppeteers of America is proud to present this National Day of Puppetry taking place all over North America and brought to you by the local Puppeteers of America guild in your area.

The Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh unites puppeteers, puppet makers and people that love puppets by supporting and celebrating the art of puppetry in the greater Pittsburgh region. This organization formed in the fall of 2015 and is working to produce more puppetry-related events in the region. The Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh is a program of New Sun Rising and is affiliated with the national organization Puppeteers of America. Anyone who loves and supports puppetry in the region is welcome to join the guild for an annual membership fee of $15.00.

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