Manhattan Marionettes is a documentary project that seeks to investigate the history and current state of puppetry in the greater New York City area. We will be including ALL the boroughs and ALL types of puppetry, including marionettes, hand-and-rod, finger, animatronics, digital avatars, etc. Some of our tentative topics/subjects include, but in no way limited to, Native-American puppetry, vaudeville, Tony Sarg, Sue Hastings, Bil Baird, Frank Paris, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Sesame St., pupppet slams, Off-/Broadway, etc. Beyond these, there are a number of more contemporary artists and groups we will be highlighting as well.
While we will be focusing on the Big Apple, many of the themes that we will be exploring, such as puppetry for education and social justice, reach well beyond geographic boundaries. We also hope that this project becomes a jumping-off point for discussions regarding puppetry in other locations. For example, while puppetry was at a certain point during a particular era in NYC, what was it in another city in America? in Europe? It is our hope that we will inspire people in other areas to respond with their own exploration of the history of puppetry where they live.
We have been hard at work connecting with people and organizations across the country. We have partnered with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which has agreed to be one of our research supporters and we have offered to provide them with a copy of any raw footage that we hold the rights to. We have had a lot of people and organizations that have explicitly said that they are in support of this project and willing to help in any way they can (e.g. agreeing to be interviewed, inviting us to view their collections, etc.). Please see our On Board page to see a list of current artists and groups.
We have also had a lot of success raising money through various fundraising initiatives. For a list of our backers, see the Supporters page.