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Poster - Cuttings relating to Bread and Puppet Theatre Company
  • Cuttings relating to Bread and Puppet Theatre Company
    Casson, John
  • Enlarge image

Cuttings relating to Bread and Puppet Theatre Company

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    United States (Clippings originally printed in the United States, printed)

  • Date:

    1977 (printed)
    1978 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Casson, John (Dr), born 1951 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed ink on paper mounted on board

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr. John Casson

  • Museum number:

    S.13-2015

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Bread and Puppet is one of the longest-running non-profit making, self-supporting theatre companies in the USA, remarkable for its large-scale work produced with volunteers. It grew from the weekly puppet shows given in the early 1960s in a loft in New York’s Lower East Side, by the recent emigrants from Germany Peter Schumann and his wife Elka. Born in Silesia in 1934, Shumann became a refugee in Schleswig-Holstein with his family, where their life involved making sourdough rye bread baked in a communal bakery. As a child Schumann and his brothers and sisters also created puppet shows for any occasion.

Originally called the Moosach Puppet Theatre and People Puppet Theatre, the Schumanns took their show on the road in a trailer converted as a mobile puppet theatre, staging impromptu performances in New England. Back in New York City in 1963 the Schumanns converted the Delancey Street loft into a theatre and puppet museum where Bread and Puppet Theatre gained its name, referencing Schumann’s custom of sharing with his audience members sourdough bread baked by him. The company’s early work in New York City ranged from children’s puppet shows to the large-scale outdoor pageants and street shows of 1964, 1965 and 1966 in the poorest areas of the city addressing urban, political and social issues, and protesting about the war in Vietnam, using massive moving sculptures or twenty-foot tall puppets. Their 1968 anti-Vietnam war show Fire led to performances abroad, at a festival in France in 1968, and in June 1969 at London’s Royal Court Theatre.

The Schumanns moved to Plainfield, Vermont in 1970 where Goddard College offered them a theatre residency. They started performing in a field at Cate Farm on the Goddard campus where their first summer show Our Domestic Resurrection Circus: ‘like a history of America, ending in Vietnam’ - embraced carnival and circus and featured the enormous puppets that characterised their work. In 1975 they moved to Glover, Vermont, where the landscape provided them with a natural amphitheatre in an old gravel pit allowing them to perform large scale outdoor productions without amplification.

Their vast and moving spectacles resulted in huge crowds gathering annually, but after 1998 the Circus was succeeded by a summer programme and touring productions addressing issues of the day, still featuring their astonishing and moving sculptural creations.

Physical description

Display poster of newspaper cuttings of reviews relating to the Bread and Puppet Theatre Company's productions of Masaniello and Joan of Arc. The review on the left is by Michael Feingold and was printed in the Village Voice in 1977. The review in the middle was written by Tish Dace and was printed in The Soho Weekly News on September 15th, 1977. The review on the right is an article by John W. Casson from unidentified publication. All three articles also feature photographs of the company in performance.

Place of Origin

United States (Clippings originally printed in the United States, printed)

Date

1977 (printed)
1978 (made)

Artist/maker

Casson, John (Dr), born 1951 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Printed ink on paper mounted on board

Dimensions

Width: 51 cm, Height: 31 cm

Descriptive line

Display poster of newspaper cuttings relating to productions by the Bread and Puppet Theatre Company of Masaniello, New York 1977, and Joan of Arc, Holland Festival 1978

Materials

Ink; Paper; Tape; Glue; Poster board

Techniques

Printing; Gluing; Mounting

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Puppetry; Theatre

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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