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Taiyuan puppet theatre company to present lecture, workshops, performances at cc

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For Immediate Release Contact:
Leslie Weddell

(719) 389-6038


No need to pull strings for these puppet events; all are free and open to the public

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – April 26, 2012 – The renowned Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company will be hosting a variety of lectures, workshops and performances at Colorado College over the next few weeks. Events include a lecture by the artistic director of the Puppet Theatre Company, a puppet workshop for children, two performances of the family-friendly “A Sea of Puppets” and five performances of a new play, “Taipei by Night.” All events are free and open to the public, however, tickets are required and are available at the Worner Information Desk, 902 N. Cascade Ave.

The Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company also led a Block-long puppetry class for CC students (a three-and-a-half-week course) and hosted an exhibit in the I.D.E.A. Space at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center on the college’s campus. The exhibition presented puppet theater as both an art form and a window on the social and political developments in Taiwan and China in the 20th century, and featured a variety of antique puppets, stages, artifacts and photographs.
Clinton Turner Davis, the CC adjunct associate drama professor who is bringing the puppet theater company to Colorado Springs, says this is the longest the company has been in residence at an American college. The only other time the company has had an extended residency was more than 10 years ago at Waseda University in Tokyo.
Events kick off at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, when Robin Ruizendaal, artistic director of the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company and director and curator of the Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum discusses “Asian Puppet Theatre: Ancient Traditions and New Worlds” at the Richard F. Celeste Theatre in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. The lecture is free, but tickets are required and are available at the Worner Information Desk, 902 N. Cascade Ave.
In this lecture, Ruizendaal will chart the development of puppet theater in Asia, from its ancient roots to a symbol of national identity and the way companies are trying to create modern theater productions while also preserving its rich and fascinating heritage. In addition to serving as the artistic director of the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, Ruizendaal also is the cultural advisor to the Taipei and Tainan City governments in Taiwan, the author of children’s books and the author and director of more than 20 plays that have been performed in over 30 countries.
The shadow puppet workshop will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, also in the Richard F. Celeste Theatre, located in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. This free workshop will last approximately 2 hours and is designed for children 4 years and older (parents may help their children), and is limited to 20 participants.

The shadow puppet workshop includes an interactive shadow puppet experience; the telling of a Taiwanese aborigine myth that will be the subject of a small performance; an introduction to shadow puppets; hands-on experience making shadow puppets; demonstration of the workshop participants shadow puppets that the workshop participants have made; and the performance of the story. All materials for the workshop (paper, scissors, dowels, etc.) will be provided and students may take their puppets home at the end of the workshop.

The puppet theater also will perform “A Sea of Puppets,” a traditional Taiwanese glove puppet show performed on an intricately carved wooden stage. The show, which is without words and suitable for all ages, will be performed at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, also in the Richard F. Celeste Theatre.

“A Sea of Puppets” is a romantic tale in which a young man saves a girl from the hands of a villain. The show highlights all the characters of traditional Taiwanese puppet theater: the young lady, the scholar, clowns, the villain and an old man smoking a real pipe. The show, which has been performed in more than 30 countries, exhibits the virtuosity of the Taiwanese puppet performance and is accompanied by traditional music.

For many, the highlight of Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company visit may be “Taipei by Night,” a new play that weaves an intricate web of encounters and conflicts in the lives of seven central characters. Inspired by classic American film noir murder mysteries and crime dramas, “Taipei by Night” excavates the underbellies of business, politics and the media that often make strange bedfellows in a city that welcomes everyone.
There will be five performances of the play, which employs an innovative style of puppetry, a contemporary jazz score and several types of movement. The four evening productions will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 through Saturday, May 12, and a matinee performance will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13. “Taipei by Night” will be performed in the Richard F. Celeste Theatre, located in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. As with all the other events, the performance is free, but tickets are required and are available at the Worner Information Desk, 902 N. Cascade Ave.

The Taiyuan Company performs innovative visual music theater with puppets, actors, video and musicians, and involves artists from many different backgrounds and nationalities. The company’s initial inspiration derived from the Taiwanese glove puppet theater that has a rich and varied tradition in which music, carving, embroidery and a delicate performance technique all come together. The company was founded 12 years ago by Paul Lin and Ruizendaal to continue this tradition, while at the same time creating new modern theater performances within a distinct Taiwanese context.

This model of conserving tradition and creating new plays has proved to be successful. The company's shows have been performed at venues such as the Purcell Room and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the rainforests of Central America, the Traditional Opera Theatre in Hanoi, Union Square in San Francisco, Casa Mila in Barcelona, the countryside of Cambodia and, of course, the squares and theaters of old Taipei.
The company is based at the Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum in Dadaocheng, the old center of Taipei.
For information, directions or disability accommodation at the events, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.
About Colorado College

Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit .

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