The Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline is a non-profit 501(c)3 performing arts organization founded in June 1974 by educator and puppeteer Mary Churchill. As the first puppetry center in New England, PST strives to promote the magical world of puppet theatre to a broad community; to educate and enlighten audiences of all ages, abilities and backgrounds about this ancient, worldwide theatre; and to share their passion for puppetry as a vital, living art. PST welcomes over 20,000 patrons each year and reaches thousands more through touring performances and community outreach efforts.
The Puppet Free Lending Library, located in the basement of Emmanuel Church, lends puppets and banners to the Greater Boston area. The library is stocked with twelve-foot dancing cats, enormous flowers, puppet horses for children to ride, twenty-foot tall Mother Earth puppets, and a wide variety of dragons. Puppets can be borrowed to enliven school and community events, neighborhood parades, celebrations, and demonstrations. The Puppet Free Library is open Tuesdays 2-7 PM. For an appointment at another time, call 617 536-3355 ext. 26.
The Dwiggins Marionette Collection occupies two rooms on the third floor of the McKim Building in the Boston Public Library and is available for public viewing during normal library hours. William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) was a type designer, calligrapher, typographer, illustrator, marionette designer and performer, and writer from Hingham, Massachusetts. The collection includes holograph manuscripts, type designs, correspondence, photographs, paintings, woodcuts, stencil prints, woodcarvings, architectural sketches and diagrams, marionettes, a marionette theater, tools, furniture, and related material. A librarian is always in attendance in the reading room to provide assistance. For more information, call 617-859-2225.
The Boston Home, founded in 1881, serves adults with advanced Multiple Sclerosis and other progressive neurological diseases. On April 12, 2014, Puppet Showplace Theater helped to bring Reverse Cascade, a performance directed by UConn Puppet Arts MFA candidate Anna Fitzgerald, to The Boston Home. Reverse Cascade is a devised, found-object puppet production that uses juggling clubs, rings, scarves and clown noses to wordlessly tell a story based on the life of Judy Finelli, the renowned San Francisco-based ”new circus” performer and juggler whose body began to betray her. Eventually diagnosed with rapidly progressing Multiple Sclerosis, Finelli confronts the fact that she will lose the use of her body, and, it seems, her life’s work.