The Ballard Institute and UConn Puppet Arts Program to Present 100 BIRDS

The Ballard Institute and UConn Puppet Arts Program to Present 100 BIRDSThe Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut is pleased to host 100 Birds, a new production written, directed, and designed by UConn Puppet Arts Program undergraduate student John Cody '17 from April 7 to April 9 in the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry Theater located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center.

A magical and whimsical, if not slightly chaotic, group of birds have flocked to the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry! 100 Birds follows Jada Jones, captain of her middle school's basketball team, who finds out that her school doesn't have the money to get the team to their playoff game. The 100 Birds, an intergalactic troupe of feathered friends, come from outer space to help Jada after she wishes upon a shooting star for help. Using their skills as birds and their love of math, the avian crew bands together with Jada to host the biggest fundraiser ever and create the world's largest pizza! But the nefarious Dr. Allundrious Pepper, who hates birds, is dead set on foiling their plans. Will Jada and the birds make it out alive, giblets and all? Speaking to his creative process, Cody explains "this fantastical, silly dose of positive entertainment came about in the middle of the night, which sounds far more dramatic than it actually was. I came up with the title of 100 Birds, and the next day I came up with three sentence stories that could serve this title ... I have found this brainstorming method particularly effective, and it was through these short stories I wrote that the seed of the show's story was planted."

John Cody, along with fellow UConn Puppet Arts Program undergraduate student Katayoun Amir-Aslani '18 weave together rod puppets, hand puppets, string puppets, and more into an experience that both adults and children will love, with a focus on comedy and positivity. "I think children are far smarter than adults give them credit, and I have developed 100 Birds with that in mind. 100 Birds is not a show that I am making for children, but rather is something that I, as a young adult, would like to see, with audiences young and old taken into account when it comes to the exact vocabulary of the show," states Cody. This show is made possible by UConn's IDEA Grant, which provides funding for independent projects by undergraduate students.

John Cody is a New York-based puppeteer who will be graduating with a BFA in Puppet Arts this May. Deciding he wanted to be a puppeteer before the age of five, John has since worked on many projects of all different kinds, from marionettes to hand puppets to giant character costumes. He has had the tremendous opportunity to learn and work alongside some of the folks behind The Muppets, Sesame Street, and Bear in the Big Blue House.

Performances of 100 Birds will take place in the Ballard Institute Theater according to the following schedule: April 7 7:30 p.m.; April 8 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; and April 9 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free. Due to limited seating, tickets must be reserved at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, by calling 860-486-8580, or online at bimp.ticketleap.com. This show is recommended for ages 6 and up. Visitors can park in the Storrs Center Garage located at 33 Royce Circle. Parking in the Storrs Center Garage is free for the first two hours and $1 per hour thereafter, with a daily maximum charge of $8. For more information about this production, visit bimp.uconn.edu or call 860-486-8580.

Pictured: Papa Parmaseano, a character from 100 Birds by UConn Puppet Arts undergraduate student John Cody.


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