One of our longtime members, Gail Kearns, passed away unexpectedly in March. Gail was a member of our guild since 1989, and despite not being a full-time puppeteer (she was primarily an educator), she was one of our most active and supportive members.
She served on our board for many years in different positions, including Vice President and Recording Secretary. She rarely missed a guild meeting, driving in from Concord, MA, usually with a homemade cake in hand. She also hosted many of our summer meetings on her big screened-in porch, and welcomed us all like family.
Gail was also a prolific writer for our newsletter, and took copious notes at workshops and festivals she attended. She also volunteered at countless guild events and Day of Puppetry activities. Back in 2009, she organized a puppet-making project to benefit Peace Through Puppets, an organization that collects puppets for American soldiers overseas to give to children in war-torn countries. Gail cut and sewed 35 cloth hand puppets that we could all decorate. In more recent years, she started a legacy lecture series at our meetings, where longtime puppeteers could share their life experiences with others.
Gail was a generous and caring presence in our guild, and she will be greatly missed. We will share more memories of Gail at our guild meeting on Sunday May 16th. Details have been sent to all our members. If you are interested in joining, contact John Lechner – john (at) fablevision.com.
The March meeting of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will be on Sunday March 21st, which is also World Puppetry Day! Our featured activity will be a presentation of ScreenPLAY by Bonnie Duncan of The Gottabees.
ScreenPLAY is non-stop interactive FUN, where the whole family becomes part of the story over Zoom, exploring movement, puppetry, theater, and the irresistible power of being ridiculous. Come join the fun!
We will start our meeting at 5:30, and ScreenPLAY will begin promptly at 5:45. After the show, Bonnie will answer questions about how this unique show was created. After that, there will be time for Show and Tell — bring a puppet friend, or just share what you’ve been up to.
A Zoom link will be sent to all members of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry. If you’re not a member, but are interested in puppetry and would like to attend our virtual meeting, contact our president John Lechner for details – JMLechner (at) aol.com.
January is when we usually have a party and cabaret, and this year it will be online! We will play fun Puppet Trivia games (bring a trivia question!) We will have an extended Show and Tell, so bring your latest project to share. If anyone wants to do a 5-minute performance for the group, please contact John Lechner. It will be a time to catch up with friends and toast the new year. Bring a puppet friend, or a human one!
The Zoom link will be sent to all members of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry. Not a member yet? Our membership year starts in January, so this is the perfect time to join! Visit this page or contact John Lechner – john (at) fablevision.com – for more information.
This fall the Northeast Region is hosting Virtual Puppet Con: Northeast Edition, October 2-11. Organized by our Regional Director Sharon Murphy Boski and a team of volunteers, the weeklong virtual conference will feature performances and workshops online, along with panel discussions, films, and more.
The Northeast Region of Puppeteers of America consists of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, upstate New York, and Eastern Canada. Virtual Puppet Con: Northeast Edition is a celebration of the Puppetry of the Region. The proceeds from this event will support the Northeast Region of Puppeteers of America, so we can continue to fund collective projects, like Regional Festivals and this virtual event.
There will be performances, workshops, panels, films, a special section for youth and families, historical documentaries, a puppet slam, shopping, an open mic night, and more unique content!
The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will have a virtual meeting Sunday Sept. 13th, 4:30-6:30 PM. It’s earlier this time because we have a very special guest lined up, puppeteer Art Gruenberger of Puppet Art Theater Co. Art will talk about how to jumpstart your entertainment business in the era of COVID. Art has spent the spring and summer shifting his live puppetry business online, and has become an expert in live-streaming puppetry. He’ll talk about some of the lessons he’s learned, and also answer your questions, so bring them!
We’ll gather at 4:30, and have a bit of Show and Tell before the program starts at 5:00. Then we’ll have more Show and Tell after if anyone else has something else to share.
The Zoom link has been sent out to all our members. If you didn’t receive the link and would like to join us, contact John Lechner, JMLechner (at) aol.com.
Our summer guild meeting will be virtual once again, on a special day this time, Monday July 27th, 5:30 PM. Our special guest will be none other than Steve Whitmire, veteran Muppet performer with over forty years of experience in puppetry for television and film.
The Zoom login information has been sent out to all guild members. If you didn’t receive it, or are interested in joining our guild, contact our president John Lechner through this website.
Our next virtual meeting will be in September, check back for details!
In other news, the Northeast Region of Puppeteers of America is currently planning a virtual festival in October. Check their Facebook page for the latest updates!
Our next meeting will be online via Zoom, on Sunday May 3rd, 5:30 – 7:00 PM. All members have been sent the link. If you are a puppeteer interested in joining us, contact John Lechner for details: john at fablevision.com .
Special Program: “Puppetry Techniques for the Big and Small Screen” presented by Sarah Nolen, Harry LaCoste, and Jonathan Little
Tune in for a special online meeting and workshop! Sarah Nolen, Harry LaCoste and Jonathan Little all have extensive experience with puppets on video, and they host the monthly Gym Jam sessions at Puppet Showplace Theater. They will talk about doing puppets for video, something that many of us are learning by necessity these days. What works and what doesn’t? How do you make puppets engaging on screen? It should be a fun and informative session!
We will also have a short business meeting, guild elections, and Show and Tell, if you would like to bring something to share. Contact John Lechner if you need additional details.
Due to virus concerns, our guild meeting this month will be online using Skype. Everyone is welcome to share what they’re working on, and we will have a big group Show and Tell. How are you coping with the current situation? This is a tough time for artists and performers, and we will support each other as best we can.
So join us online, Sunday March 22nd at 5:30 PM. If you didn’t already receive the link by email, contact John Lechner to RSVP or for information on how to join the online group.
(Originally our meeting was going to feature special guests Z. Briggs and Chad Williams of WonderSpark Puppets, but since their trip has been canceled, we hope they can join us another time.)
This past year has been filled with puppetry happenings hosted by the Boson Area Guild of Puppetry, here are some highlights!
Our March guild meeting at Puppet Showplace Theater featured a workshop demonstration on making giant parade puppets, by our own Kurt Staven. Kurt used PVC pipes and a backpack to create a huge walking puppet, with foam pool noodles for arms and a paper mache head (see below).
Also in March we celebrated the World Day of Puppetry with a special workshop. Sarah Nolen presented the Paper Shaper Workshop, sharing how to make simple puppet heads with a sheet of paper.
Our summer guild meeting was a field trip to visit Behind the Mask Studio and Workshop in Somerville, MA. Eric Bornstein gave us a tour of his studio, and talked about the many amazing masks he’s created over the years.
Over the summer, our guild members participated in the annual Wakefield Independence Day Parade, with giant puppets designed by Leslie MacWeeney and Honey Goodenough. It was lots of fun and we hope to do it again!
In September we took another trip to visit the Fantastical Puppetarium, the studio of artists Natalie Lessard, Ken Beauchemin, and Rob Luger in New Hampshire. They have an amazing creative space where they host workshops and events, and we hope to go back soon!
In November, we hosted a talk by author, psychologist, and ventriloquist Susan Linn, who has had an amazing career working with puppets and children in educational and therapeutic settings.
We’re looking forward to more exciting events in the coming year! If you’re not yet a member of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry, visit this page to learn more!