Sandglass Theater presents Winter Sunshine Series in February, with puppet shows for the whole family

Sandglass Theater presents its annual Winter Sunshine Series this February. All are invited to come celebrate the magic and warmth of puppetry for young audiences with four sensational puppet companies from Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont. Dedicated to serving children and families through the art of puppetry, Sandglass will host a different live performance every Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. throughout the month.

To join in the magic, 8- to 14-year-olds can attend Sandglass's own Puppet Camp taught by Jana Zeller during Windham County's winter break, Feb. 19–24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. This year's campers will create a version of The Three Little Pigs. Days will be filled with building marionettes, constructing set pieces and props, and rehearsing this old folktale.

The week will culminate in a show for family and friends on the final day. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch and snacks. The camp will take place in Sandglass Theater's own space, 17 Kimball Hill, in downtown Putney.

Winter Sunshine's featured artists of 2024 perform at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Saturday and include the following shows:

• Feb. 3 - The Amazing Story Machine, a co-production between Sandglass Theater and Doppelskope created by Ora Fruchter and Stoph Scheer. The Grimm family is on the verge of unveiling their amazing new Story Machine, which runs on steam and dreams and promises to revolutionize how stories are told and how people connect.

When their fabulous contraption malfunctions, they have to invent a new way of storytelling on the spot, using puppets and help from the audience. The Grimms explore some of their favorite fairy tales, including The Hare and the Hedgehog, Hansel and Gretel, and The Brave Little Tailor. Performed by Scheer, Shoshana Bass, and Mackenzie Doss. Length of show: 45 minutes. Recommended audience: 4 and up.

• Feb. 10 - The Legend of Banana Kid by the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers. Little Chucky heads to the Wild West to outwit outlaws in this cowboy adventure. With a fistful of bananas, Chucky rides into town on his trusty goat for a showdown with Big Bad Bart and his gang of bandits. The Legend of the Banana Kid features 20 handcrafted glove, mouth, and rod puppets, and a slew of flying and twirling styrofoam bananas. Length of show: about 45 minutes. Recommended audience: ages 4 and up.

• Feb. 17 - Sleeping Beauty by Tanglewood Marionettes. A classic tale that appeals to children of all ages, Sleeping Beauty begins in King Felix's great hall with the celebration of Princess Aurora's birth. The party goes awry when the wicked witch arrives and curses Princess Aurora. Will the curse come true? Will someone with a true heart appear? The audience will know when they see Tanglewood Marionettes's presentation of this best-loved tale.

In this retelling, a painted storybook opens to reveal each scene. Beautifully hand-crafted marionettes are animated by a master puppeteer as the dramatic events unfold. Length of show: approx. 40 minutes; includes a puppetry demonstration prior to the show, and a Q & A session following the performance. Recommended audience: ages 3 and up.

• Feb. 24 - Isidor's Cheek by Sandglass Theater. So begins the song, which begins the story, which begins the adventure: One day, something drives Isidor from his little gray existence. His cheek runs away, and Isidor must search around the world to find it again: a world of color and beauty, as well as loneliness and even danger.

Inspired by a German children's book, this show was created by Ines Zeller Bass and will be performed for the first time by Jana Zeller, in whose hands the piece will have another life. Length of show: 45 minutes. Recommended audience: ages 4 and up.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Tickets for all Winter Sunshine shows are $12 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, or $8 for Medicaid/EBT cardholders. Winter Puppet Camp is $350 for the full week, registration runs through Monday, Feb. 5, online.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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