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The Wind Bloweth

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    United States (Probably, printed)

  • Date:

    ca.1973 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Whelan, Bill (designer)
    Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (printer)
    Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed ink on board

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr. John Casson

  • Museum number:

    S.16-2015

  • 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.

This poster was produced in honour of one of the company's puppeteers who died ca.1973. It features a qotation from the King James version of the Bible New [John:3 verse 8] in which Jesus teaches Nicodemus the importance of spiritual rebirth. The image is of the hill overlooking Cate Farm with banners flying. The donor John Casson, a volunteer member of the company at the time, recalled the hippy-style funeral on the hilltop where the circus played Hellelulia I'm a Bum.

Physical description

Poster printed with a biblical quotation and an image of the hill overlooking Cate Farm, Vermont, with trees and flags blowing in the wind. The poster reads, 'The wind bloweth whence it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: So is everyone that is born of the spirit'.

Place of Origin

United States (Probably, printed)

Date

ca.1973 (printed)

Artist/maker

Whelan, Bill (designer)
Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (printer)
Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (designers)

Materials and Techniques

Printed ink on board

Dimensions

Height: 59 cm, Width: 90 cm

Object history note

Poster printed in memory of a Bread and Puppet Theatre puppeteer who died.

Descriptive line

Poster produced by the Bread and Puppet Theatre Company in honour of a puppeteer who died, featuring a passage from the bible The wind bloweth whence it listeth [John 3:8] and an image of Cate Farm, Vermont. Screen print by Bill Whelan, ca.1973.

Materials

Ink; Board

Techniques

Printing

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre; Puppetry; Posters

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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