Sandglass summer training returns with hybrid approach

PUTNEY — After more than a year of mostly online events, the creative professionals at Sandglass Theater are “eager to get back to teaching and to sharing the experiences of training and creating new work with people who are interested in the unique art form of puppet theater.”

In a news release, Sandglass says its Summer Intensive Training “has historically been a meeting place among people from different countries, different ages, and different experiences in life and in art.”

This summer, the company will expand that further than ever by combining in-person and virtual participation in a new hybrid workshop form.

According to a news release, this approach “integrates Zoomers and roomers in a shared space where live training and collaboration can happen for all participants, whether co-located or entering the room through a computer.”

Built on over 40 years of teaching all over the world, this training offers a fundamental introduction to Sandglass Theater's approach to puppet theater. Daily classes include breath training, puppet technique and performance classes, and composition classes.

No previous experience is required - only “curiosity and willingness to play,” program organizers write.

Two full scholarships are available for BIPoC students.

Sandglass Theater believes that the puppet, as a theatrical medium, “evokes the worlds of our dreams and memories, as well as many of the metaphorical possibilities of theater. It is also a remarkable medium for addressing social change and personal transformation.”

Sandglass founders and master puppeteers Ines Zeller Bass and Eric Bass will teach daily performance and composition classes, and breath development.

Sandglass Co-artistic Director Shoshana Bass will teach body alignment and ensemble awareness necessary for puppeteers, while Associate Artist Jana Zeller will mentor puppet building and painting specific to puppet expression.

Classes, scheduled for 5{1/2} days per week, will address individual development and collaborative process. The parallel tracks of performance and composition will provide a strong foundation for participants to apply to their own work.

Guided improvisations will lead to the development of works that stress ensemble creation and will touch on directing techniques for puppet theater. Participants will also receive open workshop time for puppet building.

The Sandglass Summer Intensive will take place from Sunday, July 11 to Saturday, July 24 at Sandglass Theater on Kimball Hill. In-person students are required to have proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 prior to gathering on site in Putney.

The 60-seat theater, housed in a restored barn from the early part of the 20th century, includes a fully accessible lobby with a ramp for wheelchair access.

Puppets over Zoom

Remote participants will participate via Zoom on the same schedule as those who attend in person. An assistant teacher will always be positioned next to the computer to field questions and offer feedback.

For solo exercises by remote participants, the Zoom window will be projected onto a screen for the Putney-based class and teacher to engage with. Materials will be mailed to remote participants.

Remote students will not be able to engage directly in ensemble training and three-person puppets (approximately three 90-minute classes), but they will be able to watch the class and ask questions.

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