Terrapin Puppet Theatre's LOVE Plays COCA This Weekend

Terrapin Puppet Theatre's LOVE Plays COCA This Weekend

COCA presents Terrapin Puppet Theatre's Love, this weekend, May 3-4, 2014, in COCA's Founders' Theatre. With a big storm brewing, Oslo's mum says he can only take a few things, or "love luggage," to safety. So, Oslo sets out to help his neighbors find their "love luggage," too! This heartfelt and entertaining story is brought to life by Australia's Terrapin Puppet Theatre, with traditional and digital puppets, live action and moving music. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

COCA presents Terrapin Puppet Theatre's Love, written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and directed by Frank Newman. Featuring Mel King and Jeff Michel. Runs at the Founders' Theatre at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63130 WHEN: Saturday, May 3, 2:00pm and 5:00pm and Sunday, May 4, 1:00pm and 4:00pm. Tickets ($16-20) are available for purchase online at www.cocastl.org, by phone at 314.561.4877 or in person at COCA during Box Office hours.

COCA Presents is COCA's new performance series. It includes the quality family theatre for which COCA is known, but now also includes offerings for older children, teens and adults. Comprised of shows created and produced by COCA, as well as the best touring productions from around the world, COCA Presents offers bold, cross-disciplinary performances for all ages. COCA Presents 2013-2014 is presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, with additional support provided by Edward Jones, Mary Strauss, The Cheshire and St. Louis Public Radio.

ABOUT TERRAPIN PUPPET THEATRE: Established for over 32 years, Terrapin Puppet Theatre is Australia's premier contemporary puppet theatre, creating world-class performances for young people and their families. Telling sophisticated stories of humor and pathos, the company embraces new technologies while remaining true to the wonder and illusion resident in the age-old craft of puppetry. In its productions, the company aims to inspire families by encouraging them to express the power of their collective imagination through inventive play with the objects and devices that surround them. Terrapin injects skills and programs into the Tasmanian community, supporting and developing artists and touring nationally and internationally. In 2012, Terrapin's production Boats won the Helpmann Award for Best Presentation for Children.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Finegan Kruckemeyer has had 57 commissioned plays performed on five continents, and was an inaugural recipient of the $160,000 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship. This year, 13 works (including eight

premieres) perform worldwide, with seasons in five Australian states, and in China, England, Germany, Indonesia and the United States. In Germany, he is represented by Rowohlt Agency. To date, Kruckemeyer's plays have had seasons in 50 Australian and international festivals, five consecutive IPAY North American invited showcases, seven Australian states, five UK national tours and at Australia's Sydney Opera House (five works), Ireland's Dublin Theatre Festival (two works, one at the Abbey Theatre), Scotland's Imaginate Festival (two works), Shanghai's Malan Flower Theatre, New York's New Victory Theater (two works) and New York University, and Washington DC's Kennedy Center for the Arts (in the prestigious New Visions New Voices program).

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Frank Newman was Terrapin Puppet Theatre's Artistic Director from 2007-2012. He has directed, produced and performed for over 18 years. Newman holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts with a major in Theatre Technology from Wollongong University. His shows have played in festivals and venues in New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, the USA, China and around Australia, including the Sydney Opera House, the Arts Centre Melbourne and the Adelaide Festival Centre. Newman has worked with artists such as the Dell 'Arte Players in California, Nigel Jamieson, Nick Enright, Gary Stewart and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He directed Explosion Therapy, Helena and the Journey of the Hello, The Falling Room and the Flying Room, When the Pictures Came, The Gatekeeper, The Waltzing Tree, Love, Sleeping Horses Lie, Shadow Dreams and Boats for Terrapin.

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:

Mel King graduated from Theatre Nepean in 1991 and has worked in theatre, film and TV. She has performed with Riverina Theatre Company, Canberra Theatre, Siren Theatre Co, REM and Tas Performs. Since joining Terrapin Puppet Theatre in 1994, King has toured nationally and internationally in the productions Freedom of the Heart, Little Red, Yolla, Heroes, Unearthed, The BFG, Frankenstein, Explosion Therapy, Helena and the Journey of the Hello and most recently Love. In 2003, she joined Big Monkey and has been seen in productions of Treasure Island, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland and Once a Jolly Swagman. King appeared in the Tasmanian Theatre Company's inaugural production of Bombshells and the 2011 co-production of Poxed with Ten Days on the Island. Most recently, she performed with her own company Extended Play Projects in an adult puppetry work Hungry For You. King's short film credits include Our Man in Tasmania, Knit One, The Promising and Sound Blocks Pain. Her feature credits include First Fagin and Arctic Blast. King's TV credits include Farscape, The Wiggles, The Wiggles Movie, G.P., Fallen Angels and Home and Away.

Jeff Michel trained in Cleveland with James Thornton and later in New York at The Michael Howard Studios and the School of Russian Art Theatre Summer School at Columbia University. In New York, he appeared in the Sydney Theatre Company production of The White Devil. Since moving to Tasmania in 2005, Michel has performed in various family and adult shows. With Terrapin Puppet Theatre, he has toured the mainland and been to Ireland, New Zealand and the USA with Boats. Other Terrapin credits include Love, The Gatekeeper and The Falling Room and the Flying Room. In 2010, Michel co-founded Blue Cow Theatre and appeared in their first production, Art, which toured the mainland in 2013. In 2012, he appeared in Mark O'Rowe's Terminus for Blue Cow. Other family and adult credits include: Cabaret, Pinocchio, Wind in the Willows and The Mikado. Michel is also an educator and has taught English and Drama for grades 11 and 12, and recently directed his first college musical, All Shook Up. He is a member of Actor's Equity in the USA and in Australia.

COCA-Center of Creative Arts is a non-profit community arts center with a mission to enrich lives and build community through the arts. COCA connects our community to the arts through programs that emphasize social and artistic diversity, economic and cultural accessibility, hands-on experience of the artistic process, and the highest quality in our faculty. Founded in 1986, COCA is a national leader in innovative community arts education. COCA annually serves more than 50,000 area residents of all ages through multidisciplinary, multi-cultural arts programs that include educational classes, camps and workshops, both on-site and in community venues; COCAbiz; COCAedu; COCA Presents; and exhibitions of contemporary art in the Millstone Gallery.

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