Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Trip to Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover, VT

Bread & Puppet Theater is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. It’s produced by Peter Schumann, who, up until a couple of years ago, still danced around on his 10-foot-stilts. This summer he turned 80. Peter’s wife & partner-in-everything is Elka. She is the grandaughter of Scott Nearing, who stood at the forefront of the back-to-the-land movement.


I went to a Bread & Puppet production in September 2009 & have wanted to go back ever since. My favorite part is the museum: two levels of an old, old barn with thick wide planks and peek-holes on the floor. It is hung with masks and figurines and monsters from the Bread & Puppet Theater production collection of the past 50 years. The puppets range in size from large to giant to magnificently humungous. For me, the feeling of being surrounded by so many heavenly blank stares is otherworldly. I did not attempt to capture it on camera.


I did, however, capture a nice photo of disembodied heads rolling across the Gaza Strip.

(from Fire, Emergency Performance for Gaza)





Read more about Peter Schumann and Bread & Puppet Theater here:

Bread And Puppet’s Peter Schumann: ‘What Will Happen When I’m Not Around?’

Bread and Puppet Theater Founder Peter Schumann on 50 Years of Art and Resistance

‘Peter Schumann: The Shatterer’ at the Queens Museum

Peter Schumann on 50 years of the Bread and Puppet Theater




2 Responses

  1. JJ says:

    I love puppets Jess. I unfortunately gave away or discarded a couple over the years but I still have 3 marionettes from childhood and one Wayang Golek puppet that I bought to go with the Tarot Wayang and my books on Hindu mythology.

    Funny you should mention this, I was looking for sewing patterns for puppets last week. I would like to make something really special–not a child’s toy but a costume-y puppet for an adult, like a Renaissance woman or something. Something with a lot of detail.

    • Jessica says:

      The Bread&Puppet puppets are huge. They are meant to be worn: larger than life. I love traditional/ ethnic dolls. Puppets fall into this category, in the case of Wayang Golek, which I had to look up. Now I realize I think I have one. I have it because I was visiting Syracuse one time when I lived in Hawaii, and a friend of mine said, “Bring me something from Syracuse.” Syracuse is not famous for its tourist economy, so I wasn’t sure what on earth I was going to get him, but my mother happened to manifest a little Syracuse China teapot. He thought I had outdone myself with such a gift, which happened to be perfect for his wife’s teapot collection. So when they went to Bali, I said “Bring me something from Bali.” He asked what I would like and I said, “A doll.” His initial look was confusion, but he really took the search to heart and brought me back such an absolutely beautiful woman. I thought I got the better gift, but then, so did he.

      I imagine you a doll puppet with a quilted face and body. She has little scraps of lace and satin sewn into her gown. The backside of her is rather plain, like a quilt’s. Her arms move on rods. Her eyes close when you pull a wire that activates a spring. Not that I’ve ever seen such a doll, but I am imagining it for you. That part is easy. (If you want vintage midcentury Americana puppets, ask my mom. She has a few bags full in the magic attic…)

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