Spring 2002

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com For anyone young or old who is enthralled by the magic of puppets, the place to be on March 8 and 9 is Torrington in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills. The first annual Puppet Festival will feature a gala puppet parade, performances for children and adults, and a host of puppeteering workshops for adults and families. It will showcase Connecticut's exceptional roster of talented puppeteers. The University of Connecticut is the only school in the country offering a Masters degree in puppetry and the Connecticut Guild of Puppetry has over 30 members. The event will be held at the Warner Theater, a beautifully restored 1931 movie palace noted for its art deco designs, magnificent star shaped chandelier and murals of historic sites in Litchfield Hills. The theater is now Northwest Connecticut's regional center for the performing arts. Events begin on Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. with a performance of Perseus &Medusa by the Tanglewood Marionettes, taking children to an ancient world of gods, goddesses, prophecies and heroes as they accompany Perseus through his glorious quests. It is recommended for ages 4 to 12. Figures of Speech Theatre will present their hilarious new age adult musical version of Jack and the Beanstalk, "The Beanstalk Variations," at 6 p.m. in which Jack gives reality the Freudian slip and makes an empowering spiritual journey to the land of the giants. Saturday kicks off at 9:00 a.m. with a gala parade of puppets created by local schools and organizations. It will make its way through town along historic Main, East Pearl, Prospect, Water and Huntington Streets, beginning and ending in Coe Park. Workshops sessions at 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. offer a variety of topics, suitable for beginners as well as experienced puppeteers. Many are especially helpful for those who work with children. Participants in Masks and Movement will create two masks and explore characterization with them, learning techniques that are fun and easy to teach to others. Puppetry and the Language of Gesture will work with puppets made of tightly folded newspaper or cardboard, learning the basic principles of puppet animation. The Power of Puppets, conducted by two therapists, shows how to have fun with puppets while helping a child work through fears and anxieties. Activities for families include a workshop on making and using push puppets, miniatures made of wood and paper, and a performance with hand puppets of Jack in the Beanstalk by the award-wining Spring Valley Puppet Theater, with a chance to go behind the scenes to see how the puppeteers work. The Monster, the final performance on Saturday at 7 p.m. is an original story with music created and performed by Rick Lyon, who has been a puppeteer on Sesame Street for 15 seasons and for feature films including Men in Black and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is recommended for all ages, 2 to 92! Tickets for the full festival are $60. For information and prices of individual events, contact the Warner Theatre, 860-489-7180 or www.warnertheatre.org. For more information about Torrington and a free copy of UNWIND, a 40-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the area, write to the Litchfield Hills Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (860) 567-4506 or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com .