The Pollinators Parade took place at Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park, Downtown Kansas City, Missouri as part of 2022 Art in the Loop Project: Sustainable. The participatory performance centered honeybees and native pollinators in the Kansas City area. Pollinating animals are threatened due to loss of habitat, chemical misuse, introduced and invasive plant and animal species, and diseases and parasites. The U.S. has lost over 50% of its managed honeybee colonies over the past 10 years.
Special thanks to Brett Creason and MO Hives KC for joining us to discuss how to support local pollinators. MO Hives KC puts bee hives on vacant urban lots, creating bee farms that pollinate nearby food gardens, while invigorating the community with a wide range of experiential learning opportunities.
Flight was an interactive shadow puppetry exhibition that took place at Artspace 304 in the Neil and Mary Ellen Dillard Media and Performance Gallery in Carbondale, IL. During the pandemic, as I was home more, I became increasingly attached to the birds who shared my garden. I found comfort in the companionship of these avain compagions. The work of American poet Emily Dickinson spoke to me. Dickinson shared my love of solitude and birds. During her lifetime, she produced some 1,800 poems. 222 of those poems made reference to birds. Apart from her 150 uses of the word “bird,” she names the robin (38 times), the bobolink (12), the sparrow (9), the jay (7), the hummingbird (5), the crow and oriole (4), the wren (3), the blackbird (2) and the bluebird, the phoebe, the owl, and the nightingale. For me, each of these birds was a meditation; on Dickinson’s text, on the exquisite beauty of each bird, and the singular and fleeting nature of our interactions. Creating this piece was an opportunity for me to reflect on and bask in the beauty around me. Crafting each piece came from a place of stillness, of being present and attuned to these ephemeral meetings. I hope this installation speaks to visitors of the wild and wondrous winged creatures with whom they share brief and beautiful moments.
Here are some of the bird shadow puppets from the exhibition.
All Species Virtual Puppet Parade on Earth Day
I created a spirit of the prairie nature spirit puppet for Earth Day to be part of the All Species Virtual Puppet Parade.
Live Aloha: Puppets 4 Peace!
I had a really magical time in Hilo, Hawaii with the community-oriented artists collective, The New Alchemists, in partnership with Full Life Hawaii and the East Hawaii Cultural Center. The Live Aloha Festival brought art, joy, celebration, and social justice to the community of Hilo from January 11-12. I facilitated puppet building workshops at the East Hawaii Cultural Center and the Hilo Public Library. Local artist Lee Michael Walczuk and I facilitated community members in creating giant parade puppets for a Puppets 4 Peace parade in partnership with Full Life Hawaii.
Here is a Toto puppet I created for the Lawrence Art Center’s production of The Wizard of Oz, in Lawrence, KS.
Click here to see a video of the Toto puppet in action!
Here are production photos:
Trinity Institute Water Justice Puppets
March 25, 2017
Cecilia Roberts and I created a giant Mother Earth Puppet and Lady Liberty Puppet for Water Family Day, an activity-filled exploration of water and climate change issues for kids of all ages, at Saint Pauls Chapel in New York City.
Mother Earth Puppeteer: Chrissie O’Heron
Lady Liberty Puppeteer: Krystal Sobaskie
Special Thanks: Wendy Claire Barrie
Dec 24th 2016
Cecilia Roberts and I designed and constructed 18 parade puppets for the family Christmas Eve Service at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City.
Special Thanks to Wendy Barrie, Charis J. Carmichael Braun, Rebecca Gray Davis, Sarah Elise Hall, Thanasis Konstantinidis, Chrissie O’Heron.
Here is video footage of the service.
The puppets also appeared on the nightly news: NY1, WABC, and WNYW.
Here are the puppets in the Daily News!
Here is video footage of the Epiphany service where they used the camel, star, and Magi puppets.
Here are the puppets at Saint Paul’s Chapel, NYC, Christmas Eve, 2018.
The Enchanted Realm of René Magritte
August 6-August 20th 2016
Inspired by the work of surrealist painter, Rene Magritte, The Enchanted Realm of Rene Magritte featured performance and installation set in an 8 room mansion on Governors Island. Eight playwrights came together to create a beautifully surreal story of love and memory; moving audiences in and out of the various rooms. Magritte’s three panel mural The Enchanted Realm served as the source material for this immersive production created by Exquisite Corpse Company.
Created shadow puppetry, masks, and a giant fish head.
Artist Assistant: Thanasis Konstantinidis
Part of the 4th Annual Puppet and Poet Lab
Presented by Alphabet Arts
Using masks, shadow puppetry, and book pieces, “Nobodies,” is a devised physical theatre piece inspired from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I am Nobody, Who are you?”
Built and Directed by Lavinia Roberts
Costumes by Tamara Leacock
Sound Design Composed by Nicole Carroll
Performed by: Rebecca Gray Davis, Janice Gerlach, Tess Howsam, Jamie Law, and Melissa Puello.
I Am Nobody
The Sheen Center, “We Live by Revelation: The Struggle of Art and Faith,” NYC, NY (2015)
Directed and Built by: Lavinia Roberts
Music by: Nicole Carroll
A shadow puppet piece, part of an evening of live performance exploring the intersections of art, ritual, and religion.
I created found object puppetry.
Featuring book and lyrics by Bryony Lavery, music by Gary Yershon, and direction by Tony Graham
Provincetown Playhouse, Manhattan, NY