Sep 29, 2021
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Oct 24, 2021

La MaMa Puppet Series in 2021

La MaMa presents the

9th La MaMa Puppet Festival Fall 2021

a black arrow pointing downward

Puppetry has been an integral part of La MaMa's programming since 1962, when our founder Ellen Stewart invited puppet artists from Korea to perform their production of Head Hunting by Pagoon Kang Wouk. Ellen recognized puppetry as an art form that exists across world cultures in many different forms. Despite the cultural specificity and variety of these forms, she saw a universal magic in bringing inanimate objects to life. By setting objects in motion, puppet artists can penetrate linguistic and cultural barriers to tell stories that are accessible to audiences around the world. Bringing international puppet arts together leads to innovation, experimentation, and increased awareness of puppetry and puppet theatre.

Throughout our history, La MaMa has presented many notable puppet artists, including: Ping Chong, Vit Horejs, Ralph Lee, Tom Lee, Mabou Mines, Federico Restrepo, Jane Catherine Shaw, Theodora Skipitares, and Julie Taymor. In 1996, 1998, and 2000, La MaMa hosted the Henson International Festivals of Puppet Theater, created by the Jim Henson Foundation, which have been instrumental in supporting puppet artists everywhere. In 2004, we introduced the La MaMa Puppet Series, a biannual festival showcasing new contemporary puppet theatre. Since then, La MaMa has produced nine puppet festivals, curated by Denise Greber.

Denise Greber, Director and Curator of La MaMa Puppet Series
Federico Restrepo, Producing Director of La MaMa Puppet Series

September 29 – October 10, 2021 | La Galleria
The Jim Henson Foundation presents
American Puppet Theater Today:
The Photography of Richard Termine

Sept 29, Wednesday at 5pm – Opening
Wednesday – Sunday from 1pm to 7pm

A puppeteer in a white shirt is holding two human figures. One is lying on top of the other. There are many white strings connected at various points on the figures and continuing out of the frame.
Photo by Richard Termine of Leila Ghaznavi, performing in Ronnie Burkett's CRAVE (2018)

September 29 – October 4, 2021 | Ellen Stewart Theatre
Lunch with Sonia

Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company

Wednesday and Friday at 8:30pm
Thursday and Saturday at 7pm
Sunday at 2pm

A performer with grey short hair and wearing a black shirt, pants, and shoes with a purple belt is lying on the floor with their hands on the floor, with their right leg bent on the floor and left leg in the air. They are looking up at a metal human figure being controlled by three puppeteers wearing black.
Photo by Richard Termine

September 30 – October 3, 2021 | The Downstairs
The Tall Keyaki Tree

Watoku Ueno

Thursday and Saturday at 8:30pm
Friday at 7pm
Sunday at 6pm

Two shadow puppets are in front of a blue background with a light in the center. Two hands are cradling the light, and the eyes of both shadow puppets are looking towards it.
Photo courtesy of the artist

October 7– 10, 2021 | The Downstairs
When I Put On Your Glove

Sandglass Theater | Performed and created by Shoshanna Bass | Creator of the original Autumn Portraits, Eric Bass

Thursday and Saturday at 7pm
Friday at 8:30pm
Sunday at 2pm

A puppeteer with brown curly hair is behind a large suitcase with a handle. In front is a paper cut-out of a sitting child with hands outstretched to a red bucket, both of which are being controlled by the puppeteer. The front of the suitcase has a big red sticker that reads “FRAGILE” in white letters, with the last few letters cut off.
Photo by Kiqe Bosch

October 7– 10, 2021 | Ellen Stewart Theatre
Body Concert

A Lone Wolf Production | Created by Kevin Augustine

Thursday and Saturday at 8:30pm
Friday at 7pm
Sunday at 4pm

A darkly lit human body in the background is looking at what appears to be an arm and leg without skin, only bones, muscle, and nerves.
Photo by Vane Terran

October 13 – 15, 2021 | The Downstairs
Puppet Slam

Curated by Jane Catherine Shaw

Wednesday at 7pm
Thursday and Friday at 8:30pm

Three white performers are on a blue stage. The performer on our left is sitting next to a turning stand with flat pieces on top in the shape of blue waves. The performer is holding the stand with their right hand and holding two larger flat pieces in the shape of blue waves with their left hand. The performer in the middle is standing on a wooden ladder, holding a flat piece shaped like a blue cloud with their left hand and spraying a spray bottle with their right hand. The performer on the right is holding a small blue, white, and red parasol over their head.
Photo of WAVE: An Incantation by Michelle Beshaw (La MaMa Puppet Slam 2019) by Theo Cote

October 14– 17, 2021 | Ellen Stewart Theatre
Dreaming

Story by Howard Craft
| Script by JaMeeka Holloway & Torry Bend | Directed and designed by Torry Bend

Thursday – Saturday at 7pm
Sunday at 2pm

A Black puppeteer wearing all black is holding a puppet with a brown face and dark hair wearing a light-colored shirt and vest and brown pants. The puppet is painting at an easel, surrounded by a chair, dresser, and couch. A set piece of brown windows is in the background.
Photo by Alex Boerner

October 21 – 24, 2021 | Ellen Stewart Theatre and the Downstairs
Jump Start
A Presentation of Works-In-Progress

Thursday – Saturday at 7pm
Sunday at 2pm

A performer with long hair wearing black is holding two legs made of cardboard and painted white with two white feet at the bottom. To the left is something covered in a white bag.
Photo of Leah Ogawa by Richard Termine

SPECIAL EVENT

October 3, 2021 | Ellen Stewart Theatre
Out of the Shadows
A panel discussion with Leslee Asch, Cheryl Henson, and Friends

Sunday at 4pm

A Black performer in a long dress is on stage next to a white set piece with three puppets. The puppet on the left is wearing a dress and has a white face and red hair, and the two other puppets on the right are small human figures made of brown wood. Behind the puppets are puppeteers with their faces covered. The text reads “Out of the Shadows,” “The Henson Festivals and Their Impact on Contemporary Puppet Theater” in italics, and “Leslie Asch, Foreward by Cheryl Henson.”
Cover design by Laura Case | Photo by Richard Termine from Mabou Mines' Peter and Wendy

FAMILY EVENT

September 30 – October 24, 2021 | The Downstairs
Nostalgia
A Toy Theatre Video Installation

Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre

The Downstairs Lobby
Thursday – Sunday one hour before regular curtain times | Free Event

Two paper cut-outs of a man and a girl holding hands are held by two human hands. The man on the right is wearing a hat, a blue long coat, a tie, and pants, and is holding a tan bag in his left hand. The girl has dark hair, a yellow shirt with a red collar, and green pants. Behind them is a backdrop with brick buildings drawn in pencil.
Photo of toy theatre by Margaret Yuen

FAMILY EVENT

October 16– 17, 2021 | The Downstairs
La MaMa Kids
Storytelling, music-making, puppet craft, mask-making, and more!

Saturday and Sunday at 2pm

The 9th La MaMa Puppet Festival Fall 2021 has been made possible with public support by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts, and support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jane Henson Foundation, the Jim Henson Foundation, Puppet Slam Network, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Shubert Foundation. Additional support from Cheryl Henson is gratefully acknowledged.

The show is produced under the following program(s):

La MaMa Puppet Festival

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The La MaMa Puppet Festival showcases new contemporary puppet theatre by artists from around the world. Curated by Denise Greber, focusing on diversifying the voices, stories, and perspectives shared onstage, with the goal of uplifting marginalized identities within the puppet community.

Special Event