PUPPETS TAKE LONG ISLAND Festival Opens Today at Children's Museum, Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre

Look up, look down, look all around, and you'll find puppets in Long Island neighborhoods this summer! Audiences across Long Island will see innovative and exciting performances celebrating all puppetry genres as the "Puppets Take Long Island" Festival launches at the Garden City-based Long Island Children's Museum and Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre in Sag Harbor. The Festival offers a variety of performances, events, exhibitions and workshops from today, July 8-August 31.

"Puppets Take Long Island" is made possible with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (Full performance schedule available at puppetstakelongisland.com)

Puppets Take Long Island was developed in response to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council's call to enhance Long Island's sense of place as a key to attract increased tourism to the region. The Festival will assist in increasing awareness of Long Island as a destination offering high-quality performing arts for families.

The "Puppets Take Long Island" festival features the talents of 13 international, national, and local artists showcasing the range of puppet styles including: glove, rod, string, shadow and ventriloquism productions. The lineup for the Festival includes: A Couple of Puppets (Sag Harbor, NY); All Hands Productions (Atlanta, GA); Barefoot Puppets (Richmond, VA); Bonnie Duncan (Boston, MA); Long Island Puppet Theatre (Hicksville, NY); Nappy's Puppets (North Haven, CT); PetraPuppets (Lindenhurst, NY); Puppeteers Cooperative (Boston, MA/Brooklyn, NY); Puppetkabob (Georgia , VT); Puppets in Prague (Prague, Czech Republic); The Puppet Company (Huntington, NY); Wonderspark Puppets (Astoria, NY) and Z Puppets Rosenschnoz (Minneapolis, MN).

The Puppets Take Long Island Festival schedule will have companies moving across Long Island each week. Performances will be held Monday-Wednesday (11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) at LICM, then head east to Sag Harbor for morning performances (11 a.m.) at Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre on Thursday-Saturday. Public performances will also be held Friday evenings at 5:30 p.m. in Amagansett Square. Throughout the summer, performances will be held at additional venues across Long Island including: Southampton Center (Southhampton), Planting Fields Arboretum (Oyster Bay), Long Island Puppet Theatre (Hicksville), Suffolk Theater (Riverhead) and Floyd Memorial Library (Greenport) during the eight-week festival run.

Following their performances, each company will present workshops at LICM and Goat on a Boat to introduce children to the artistry inherent in puppet design and presentation. Workshops will cover all phases of the puppetry process - from building puppets to the performance techniques (voice, movement, character) that bring them to life. Children will learn skills directly from practicing artists in small group settings.

An exhibit of puppets from the extensive collection of Roman and Eliza Valdes, founders of the Long Island Puppet Theatre, will be on display at the Long Island Children's Museum throughout the summer. Puppets have been selected to reflect cultural and geographic styles, as well as the range of puppet genres. In addition, the exhibit will feature a representation of Roman Valdes' studio where he designs and restores puppets, allowing them an insider's view of the tools, sketches and materials used to bring wood, cloth and strings to "life."

In addition to funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Festival's performances at LICM are supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 Museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

For more information, visit: puppetstakelongisland.com.

Pictured: Bonnie Duncan in Squirrel Stole My Underpants.



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