Hello again everyone,
Before I go into the specifics let me tell you a little bit about what the National Puppetry Conference is.
The National Puppetry Conference is an annual puppetry conference held in June at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut.
Every summer they host week+ long intensive for all areas of theater including: play writing, acting, puppetry and more with a large site/campus to house all their participants, staff and teachers. In addition to housing, the conference provides food from their dining hall during your entire stay. The staff is extremely helpful and always around the corner.
All the shops are on site including the puppet building workshop, rehearsal halls, theaters and more. (Including the famous pub. Woot woot.)
The conference hosts both a pre-conference and a main conference. There are only a certain number of people allowed in per year, so in order to attend each year - you need to sign up and fill out an application on their website.
While signing up, you can select what you would like to be doing during the conference. Every year they provide a variety of different classes and teachers to choose. These are called tracks. Outside of tracks they also have resident company members where people can sign up to audition & work on a particular artist’s piece. This year was a whirlwind.
This year, I applied for the Marionette strand to be able to work more with Jim Rose as well as learn marionette technique.
There’s something I find very special about marionettes. Especially being surrounded by the energy and love of them from my fellow friends/mentors: David Herzog, Marc Dunworth and Fred Putz. It’s something that’s not very common that I really wanted to help contribute to and learn. I applied with this intention in addition to wanting to develop CPC‘s “Hands & Strings: A Puppet Variety show” to include marionettes.
This year, I was fortunate enough this year to be accepted into that exact strand and received a scholarship. (Thanks Gene M.)
This would be my first main conference, since the year prior I was only able to attend the pre-conference.
Unfortunately this year Jim Rose wasn’t able to attend, but chose two very special people to take his place.
Kurt Hunter and Ulysses Jones.
Before I go into the class, this for anyone who doesn’t know of the Rose family.
The Roses (Margo and Rufus Rose) were the world famous puppeteers who worked and created the Howdy Doody show amongst many more credits. One of their most uniques was using string for joints. The string was thread through the various body parts (arms/legs/etc) that joined them together and provided a very natural, smooth movement.
Kurt and Ulysses stepped up big time and worked wonderfully together to help each participant including myself take home completed marionettes in 5 days!
There’s so much more to say but I’ll leave that for another post.