2017 - Current

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Cultural Event Documentation

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

“To establish Chicago as a cultural center for puppetry by presenting work of the highest quality as well as creating access to leaders and innovators in the art form through workshops and classes.”

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was founded to establish Chicago as a prominent center for the art of puppetry. This biennial Festival will present the highest quality local, national, and international puppet shows in venues across the city. Invited artists will lead workshops, public presentations and talks as an integral part of the Festival offerings. Additionally, the Festival will host the Volkenburg Puppetry Symposium devoted to the advancement of scholarship and research in the field of puppetry.

This theater performance was of Blair Thomas’s story of The Selfish Giant at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Blair Thomas and singer-songwriter Michael Smith collaborate on this staging of an Oscar Wilde classic. Running time 45 minutes. Original puppets and music tell the story of a grumpy old giant who forbids the children in his village from playing in his beautiful garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring.

The objective and goal of this project was to capture the performance with still photography for event documentation and to assist with event organizing at the Garfield Park Conservatory. We were also fortunate to work with them on other projects such as their Living Room Tour (An intimate fundraiser, taking place at a private residence), Festival Performances, The Catapult, and Neighborhood Festival Tour.

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Each of these unique puppet performances invited gifted and talented artists to Chicago from all over the world to learn, teach, and share skills with the Chicago community. We were able to provide imagery that captured the beauty of it all. The Chicago International Puppet Festival was able to use the photos for a variety of marketing and communication purposes, from their newsletter and website, to their social media channels.

Like many of our projects, our process began by determining the needs of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and learning what their story is and how we can contribute to how they can be more effective in telling it through documentation. Based on what we learned, we planned a shot list, and day-of-event schedule to keep organized.

The most inspiring part about working with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was meeting Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins who performed Just Another Lyching with puppets that he built himself. The story is about a black man being lynched in the South in 1921. The story addresses the racial injustices that this country was built on and continues to struggle with today. After the performance, he opens up a dialogue with the audience to discuss their feelings and thoughts about the performance and how it is relevant to today and in their lives.