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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Fifty Years Bread and Puppet: Cheap Art and Political Theater

a symposium with performance

Boston College Theatre Department presents a day-long celebration of the
Bread and Puppet Theater and their five decades of changing the world
one puppet and one performance at a time.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Events include panel discussions, scholarly presentations, archival film screening,
a Bread and Puppet performance of The 50 Years Cabaret, and a fiddle lecture
and public interview with founder Peter Schumann.

Registration for this special event is required.  Only those who register are
guaranteed a seat for the evening performance of The 50 Years Cabaret.

[Update: 9/11/13 11:34am]



Any unclaimed tickets to the 7pm performance
of the "50 Years Cabaret" will be distributed
on a first come-first served basis, 5 minutes before curtain.



Schedule of Events (subject to change)

8:15am-9:00am (Stokes 195S)

Gathering; registration; coffee and doughnuts

9:00am-9:10am (Stokes 195S)


9:10am-10:20am (Stokes 195S)

Session 1 -- "Art and Activism: Bread & Puppet in Other Contexts"

moderated by Scott T. Cummings, Boston College

      Anna Aizman, Harvard University

            "Sustenance in the Puppet Medium"

      Kate Bredeson, Reed College

            "Bread and Puppet in France, 1968"

      Dassia N. Posner, Northwestern University

            "Images that Speak: Bread and Puppet and the Visual Dramaturgies of Puppetry"

      Nenagh Watson, Central School of Speech and Drama

            "From the rubbish bin to eternity"

10:30am-11:50am (Stokes 195S)

Session 2 --"Sculpture/Music/Dance: Elements of a Poltical Puppet Theatre"

moderated by John Emigh, Brown University (emeritus)

      Michael Bodel, independent scholar

            "Post-secular Movements of Bread and Bodies: Peter Schumann's Pageantry"

      Erik Ehn, Brown University

            "Mass and Mass: Spectacle, Silence and the Sacred"

      Cathleen Muller, Marist College

            "The Relation of Puppet to Character"

      Otto Muller, Goddard College

            "Utterances of Self in Peter Schumann’s 'Fiddle Sermons'"

12:00pm-1:00pm (Stokes Lounge)


1:00pm-2:20pm (Stokes 195S)

Session 3: "Reverberations: Give and Take with Bread & Puppet"

moderated by John Bell, University of Connecticut

      George Bartenieff, actor

      DeeDee Halleck, media activist

      Kiki Smith, visual artist

      Amy Trompetter, puppeteer

      Paul Zaloom, puppeteer, political satirist, solo performer

2:30pm-3:20pm (Stokes 195S)

Film Screening: From the Bread & Puppet Archives

      Curated by Adam Schutzman

3:30pm-4:50pm (Stokes 195S)

Session 4: "Dynamics: Collective Creation at Bread & Puppet Theater"

moderated by John Bell, University of Connecticut

      Trudi Cohen, founding member of Great Small Works

      Gregory Corbino, artist and performer

      Clare Dolan, artist/nurse/chief operating philosopher, Museum of Everyday Life

      Katherine Nook, Bread & Puppet resident company member

      Michael Romanyshyn, Director, Temple Stream Theater

5:00pm-5:30pm (Stokes 195S)

Keynote Address: A Fiddle Lecture by Peter Schumann

5:30pm-6:50pm (Robsham Theater Arts Center Lawn)

Dinner on the Lawn

      Catered by Maryann Colella and Gregory Corbino

6:30pm-7:00pm (Robsham Theatre Arts Center Lawn)

Performance: The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band

7:00pm-8:15pm (Robsham Theater Arts Center - Bonn Studio Theater)

Performance: Bread & Puppet's 50th Anniversary Cabaret

      The Foot

      King Story

      President and Chair

      A Man Says Goodbye To His Mother


8:15pm-9:00pm (Robsham Theater Arts Center - Bonn Studio Theater)

Talkback: John Bell in conversation with Peter Schumann

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BP 50 Map

For an interactive map of the campus, please click here.

Bread and Puppet Performance Picture

About Bread and Puppet:

The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 on New York City’s Lower East Side. It gets its name from the fact that Shumann himself would bake dozens of loaves of sourdough bread, giving them away to audiences and artists to share with one-another. Beginning productions included rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, focused on rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood. More complex theater pieces followed, in which sculpture, music, dance and language were implemented more, and the puppets grew larger. “Annual presentations for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day often included children and adults from the community as participants. Many performances were done in the street. During the Vietnam War, Bread and Puppet staged block-long processions and pageants involving hundreds of people.”

Bread and Puppet moved to a farm in Glover, Vermont, in 1974, where a 140-year old hay barn was actually transformed into a museum for “veteran puppets.” There the company held an annual two-day outdoor festival of puppetry shows called the Domestic Resurrection Circus. While the circus was discontinued in 1998, today, the company is still offering nightly performances and community-wide parades throughout the town of Glover, while also touring all around the globe.

Peter Schumann trained as a sculptor, puppeteer, and baker in Germany. He moved to the U.S. in 1961, taught puppetry at the Putney School, and founded the Bread & Puppet Theater in New York City. Bread & Puppet moved to Glover, VT, in 1974 where it makes its home to this day. The theater has performed extensively both throughout the U.S. and internationally. Bread & Puppet was awarded the 2009 New England Art Award and declared the critic’s choice for Best Performance or Spectacle in New England for that year. Schumann’s personal awards include an Obie, Erasmus, Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, and a Puppeteers of America Award. Reviews have been written in The New York Times, The London Times, Le Monde, Theater Heute, and The Boston Globe. Born in Poland, Schumann lives and works in Vermont. You can read more about his work on the Bread & Puppet website.

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Cost for this event is $25 and includes the following:

-- access to all scheduled symposium sessions including keynote
address by Peter Schumann
-- guaranteed seating to the evening performance of The 50 Years Cabaret
-- boxed lunch

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Any unclaimed tickets to the 7pm performance to the "50 Years Cabaret"will be distributed on a
first come-first served basis,
5 minutes before curtain.