The University of Chicago has a major hand in the inaugural Chicago International Puppet Festival, which begins Jan. 14 and includes performances by alumni artists, events at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and a University-sponsored symposium at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The citywide festival, led by Chicago-based puppet theater Blair Thomas & Co., features an eclectic mix of puppetry from groups around the world in some 50 performances presented by more than a dozen puppet theaters. According to its organizers, the festival aims to establish Chicago as a prominent center for the art of puppetry.
In partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry will present a symposium on contemporary puppetry. The discussion will bring together puppet artists and scholars from UChicago, Northwestern University and Brown University.
Shadow puppetry company Manual Cinema—which features Drew Dir, AB’07, lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies, Sarah Fornace, AB’07, and Ben Kauffman, AB’09—will present Mementos Mori, a new piece commissioned by the MCA. With overhead projectors and a combination of live-action performance and handmade shadow puppets, the group creates cinematic animated pieces in real time. Mementos Mori was developed with support from the Theater and Performance Studies’ summer residency program, the Chicago Performance Lab (formerly Summer Inc.).