By: Brian C. Fahey, Program and Marketing Coordinator
When a new teaching artist, volunteer, or community partner enters the Theatre Action Project offices on Austin’s eastside for the first time, they usually exclaim the same excited remarks – “Look at all those puppets!” Indeed, covering a space approximately 1600 square feet there are dozens of puppets – hanging from the ceiling, packed in our storage loft, peaking out the windows and decorating office spaces. Visit our shed and you’ll find dozens more. Dynamic TAP staff and their students have created the majority, in a mish mash of styles – Bunraku, large-scale pageant puppetry, stick puppets, shadow puppets, hand puppets, marionettes, even lunch paper bags. Collectively they serve as a sort of visual history of our 15-year organization.
TAP has a deep and impactful presence in the Austin community and this upcoming summer is the perfect example. This Saturday, June 18, is our annual Summer Pageant in the Park where our student partners from Winn, Wooten, Barrington, Wooldridge, Hart, Reilly, and Brown Elementary Schools will take to the SFC Farmer’s Market at Republic Square Park at 11am for a free parade of song and spectacle. Come see what wonderful things these youth can do with puppets!
Then on July 18 – 22, it’s our Crazy Creature Puppets Camp for youth ages 5 – 12, hosted at Paragon Prep. Out of our exciting and packed schedule of summer camps, this one might be my favorite. The camp combines theatre, filmmaking and art to introduce youth to the wonderful world of puppetry. On Friday the campers will share the performances and films they’ve created using puppets entirely designed and built during the camp. And then they get to take them home! What’s more the camp is instructed by two dynamic artists: Caroline Reck, from the award winning Trouble Puppet Theatre Company and Lillie Hollingsworth, who, when she isn’t teaching for TAP, designs and sells marionettes.
See you this summer! Keep your eyes pealed for our puppets; you can’t miss ‘em!