Nashville’s Got The World on a String at the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival
You’re going to want to mark your calendars for one of the biggest, eclectic and creative events of the year. Nashville will awaken in a lively display with marionettes in parades and shows around town as part of the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival June 21-23 hosted by the Nashville Public Library.Free and open to the public, the library and surrounding area will transform into a vibrant, family-friendly carnival with live music, a street fair and lots of puppet performances. The Puppet Festival Parade is new this year and will feature performers on unicycles, stilts, floats, vintage cars and, of course, puppets. The parade will snake its way down Church Street and through the Arts District.
Puppet troupes from France, Germany, Argentina, Japan and China will come to Nashville to share their talents in shows and events. Kawasemi-Za, the troupe from Japan, will perform “Silent Poems,” a show with no words that animates the puppets in such a way they almost seem alive as they convey various emotions and timeless, meaningful messages. The German troupe, Dresdner Figurentheater, will present the classic “Peter and the Wolf” for adult and children audiences. Sombras Chinas, the Argentinian troupe, will perform “No Toquen Mis Manos” (“Don’t Touch My Hands”) through Chinese hand puppetry that combines music and hand movements instead of words to tell a story. Vélo Theatre troupe from France uses “object theatre” as a way to interact with the audience. By definition, object theatre uses everyday objects rather than constructing theatrical puppets; for example, a box of spoons could become a village. They will perform “And Then He Ate Me” and “There’s a rabbit in the moon.” Dragon Art Studio from China will present “Images of China” which is a series of short scenes based on traditional and not-so-traditional Chinese tales.
Other performers include Phillip Huber, who is best known for his marionette work in “Being John Malkovich” and Disney’s “Oz, The Great And Powerful;” Wild Goose Chase Theater which introduces eclectic puppetry through the use of cardboard and everyday objects; Puppets to Go which will perform “The Frog Prince” with rod and hand puppets; Nationally-renowned and two-time grant recipient from the Jim Henson Foundation for his solo productions of “Suitcase Circus” and “Pinocchio, Lee Bryan;” and the Nashville Public Library’s own Wishing Chair Productions & The Puppet Truck, started in 1938 by Tom Tichenor, will perform “Ellingtown,” a show that takes the audience through old New York with Duke Ellington, the great master of jazz.
Nashville’s first international puppet festival was in 2008 which attracted more than 18,000 people. Tickets to the festival are free but limited. You can order tickets in advance for a $2.50 per ticket convenience fee.
In addition to the festival, the library will host two special events in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Wishing Chair Productions will present “String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry” June 20 at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Ford Theater. TPAC will host a performance by nationally-renowned Phillip Huber June 22.
Are you planning on attending the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!