A creative opportunity abounds at Fort Worth, TX’ Hip Pocket Theatre’s Third Annual Cowtown Puppetry Festival Sept. 3-16.
The event, dubbed “The Lost Garden Party,” is held evenings on the Silver Creek grounds at 1950 Silver Creek Road.
Participation is free and open to all members of the community of all ages.
One of the instructors, Erin Orr is a professional puppeteer and storyteller with an experimental theater and dance background who designs, builds, directs, and sometimes performs her own puppet shows. She incorporates shadow puppetry, marionettes, rod, and Bunraku style puppets, animation, and toy theater.
Chris Green, another teacher, began his puppetry work in Austin after co-founding the Kambing Na Isang Pa-a Shadow Play Theater in 1996.
At last year’s event a giant coyote was created by some festival members among other inventions.
You can sign up for the event by calling 817-246-9775 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-show performances are taking place Sept. 14-16.
John Dyer is one puppetmaster who lent his talent to the festival in 2004, parnering with Lake Simons, the Hip Pocket co-founder Johnny Simons’ daughter.
A multitude of unusual productions have consistently been part of the theatre’s mix. Known for its innovative and original works, the theatre performs a vast range of productions of musicals, comedies, and spoofs.
Hip Pocket just celebrated 31 years in business. Johnny and his wife Diane founded the business in 1976 along with Douglas Balentine though its beginnings go back much farther.
The festival, an outdoor pageantry of larger-than-life puppets, has ingenious scenic devices and other earthly pleasures.
Ticket prices for regular shows are $131 for a season pass, Thurs.-Sat. nights, $15, Sunday nights $10, and opening nights $5.00.
The theatre is sponsored by the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Ann L. Rhodes.
Some puppetry festivals are presented, organized, and financially supported as gifts to other puppeteers such as the one in Trenton, Missouri that was held in July.
“As Noreen Young, the guiding light behind the Second Annual Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival, once told me the residents of Almonte (Canada) are ‘highly sensitized to puppetry’ so the town is a logical choice for hosting a puppetry festival,” said James Ashby, an actor graduate student .
National puppetry festivals are intensive one-week conferences held every other year in different regions of the U.S.