Puppets Offer a Summer Treat

Monday, June 15, 2009

For children who dream of working with one of America’s most celebrated puppeteers, the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts will host Inspiration Station, a three-day workshop showcasing the artistry and teaching skills of Hobey Ford, one of America’s premier puppeteers.

For children who dream of working with one of America’s most celebrated puppeteers, the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts will host Inspiration Station, a three-day workshop showcasing the artistry and teaching skills of Hobey Ford, one of America’s premier puppeteers.Registration is now open for the event that will run Wednesday through Friday, July 29-31, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The mission of Inspiration Station is to inspire children to pursue their artistic dreams by working side by side with the nation’s foremost artists. Winner of puppetry's highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, Ford is renowned on stages around the globe, from Calgary to Singapore.

Inspiration Station is made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of West Georgia. Teachers are welcome to participate.

Ford will be teaching his magical workshop “Telling Folktales With Shadow Puppetry” at the Townsend Center each morning and then spend the afternoons at KidsPeace in Bowdon teaching the workshop to children in residence.

As a recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, Ford is known for excellence in puppetry performance and craft, especially for his intricate shadow puppetry and original rod puppets, the “Foamies.” Ford uses his own voice to create characters and sound effects, tell stories, and sing.

Developed in conjunction with the Kennedy Center Partnership in Education program, “Telling Folktales With Shadow Puppetry” combines storytelling with shadow puppetry to bring a variety of cultures to life.  Participants will learn shadow puppetry performance techniques and construct their own shadow puppets. In addition, the children will construct a shadow puppet theater, script a folktale into a play and rehearse their own performance in small groups.

Workshop participants will keep the shadow puppets and stages they have built. As a special treat, participants will be the opening act for the Friday, July 31 performance of “Rainbow Bridge and Other Tales” at 7:30 p.m. This shadow puppetry production brings to life three folktales from the traditions of the Native American Chumash tribe of coastal California, the rain forests of Puerto Rico and Norway.  The finale includes Ford’s Peepers Puppet and his famous beautifully carved foam animal creatures, the “Foamies.”

The cost for the three-day workshop is $45 per child and all materials are included. A limited number of financial needs-based scholarships are available as well as sibling discounts for families with multiple children attending.

 The workshop is designed for children in grades 2 – 6 and class size is limited so all children will receive personal instruction. To register for the workshop, call 678-839-4722. Contact Renét Jones at the Townsend Center for a scholarship application.

Tickets for the Friday night show, “Rainbow Bridge and other Tales,” are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and military, and $5 for children. For ticket purchases, call the Townsend Center Box Office at 678-839-4722. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.townsendcenter.org.