Sandglass presents 7th annual Crankie Celebration
Eric and Inez Zeller Bass host a week-long celebration of “crankies” at Sandglass Theater in Putney.

Sandglass presents 7th annual Crankie Celebration

PUTNEY — PUTNEY - This month, Sandglass Theater brings everyone a celebration of the art of the crankie.

This seventh annual Crankie Celebration includes performances on Dec. 7 at 4 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m., a special event with Katherine Fahey and The Lantern Sisters on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m., and a crankie building workshop on Dec. 13-15.

Crankies are rolling illustrations, wound inside a wooden box and then hand-cranked so that the images move across a viewing screen. Known in the 19th century as “moving panoramas,” crankies were as close as it got to movies in the days before the motion picture was invented, according to a news release.

This old storytelling art form has found new audiences and enthusiasts with performances and festivals across the country, appearing in circuses, music events, and puppet theaters.

The roster of artists at this year's annual Crankie Performance Weekend includes friends old and new: Eric and Ines Zeller Bass with Julia Slone, Clare Dolan, Justin Dupont, Molly Gawler, Delia Robinson and Julia Vallimont.

This dynamic collection of artists will share their work, poetry, song, and magical cranking devices in the celebration of the storytelling medium that has become so popular across New England.

This year, Sandglass is excited to add a special performance by The Lantern Sisters (Katherine Fahey and Dan Van Allen). These Baltimore puppeteers will share nearly 10 years of Fahey's work, featuring shadow puppet crankies based on stories and songs from their own streets of Baltimore to the swamps of Louisiana and the tundra of Northern Quebec.

Fahey is a renowned crankie artist known for her amazing detail as well as her storytelling skills. Visionary artist and parade puppet maker Dan Van Allen will be puppeteering and doing foley (sound effects).

With the serenade of ballads, stories, comic songs, and originally composed music, the artists will present an assortment of beautifully handcrafted crankies.

Reservations are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Tickets are $18 general, $16 for students/seniors. Reserve your tickets at [email protected] or by calling 802 387-4051. For the special event with Fahey and The Lantern Sisters, tickets are cash and check at the door only.

There will also be a crankie building workshop, “Telling Tales with Crankies,” taught by Ines Zeller Bass. Participants will build their own crankie, including the scrolling mechanism, and create and illustrate their own story.

The workshop is for people of all levels of experience, ages 18 and up at Sandglass Theater, on Friday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon

The workshop cost is $250, plus $25 for materials. Space is limited and registration in advance is recommended.

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