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Poster - Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Glover (possibly, printed)
    United States (possibly, printed)

  • Date:

    1977 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (printers)
    Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr. John Casson

  • Museum number:


  • 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, Schumann 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.

Joan of Arcwas first produced by the company in 1977 and taken on tour to Canada, New England, North Carolina, Italy, France and Spain, with White Horse Butcher. In June 1978 it ws performed at the Holland Festival, where its second part was the storyof her horse - a version of The White Horse Butcher. It told the legend of Joan and her horse in nine tableaux in Part 1, in which Joan only ever appeared as a hooded figure all in white - possibly the soul or spirit of Joan. Peter Schumann, who danced on stilts at the end of it as a masked figure also in white, said Joan of Arc was: 'For all who die, for all who suffer, for all who fight against insurmountable obstacles, for all women warriors.' In 1979 it appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

Physical description

Poster for a production of Joan of Arc performed by The Bread and Puppet Theatre Company, 1977. The poster features a childlike illustration of Joan of Arc on horseback raising her sword to the sun.

Place of Origin

Glover (possibly, printed)
United States (possibly, printed)


1977 (printed)


Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (printers)
Bread and Puppet Theatre Company (designers)

Materials and Techniques

Printed ink on paper


Height: 56 cm, Width: 43 cm

Descriptive line

Poster advertising a production of Joan of Arc by the Bread and Puppet Theatre Company, on tour in Canada and New England, 1977. Watercolour.


Ink; Paper




Entertainment & Leisure; Prints; Advertising; Theatre; Puppetry


Theatre and Performance Collection

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