Free Theater Workshop to Offer Kids a Circus Escape

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Photo courtesy of Erik McGregor/Bread and Puppet Theater

Did you ever think of joining the circus as a child? If you missed that chance, your kids can live your dream at least for a few hours when Bread and Puppet Theater comes to Carrboro Sunday, May 1, 2-5 p.m.

A renowned nontraditional theater troupe founded in 1963, Bread and Puppet Theater will host a free circus workshop at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, one stop on its national tour. The workshop — appropriate for all ages — will teach participants how to make a variety of circus acts featuring giant puppets, horses, flags, a brass band and Santa Claus. At the end of the workshop, a mini-circus production will be performed. Although it is a free workshop, registration is required at artscenterlive.org/events/cantastoria-workshop-by-bread-puppet-theater.

Bread and Puppet Theater shows feature a live brass band, improvisational dance and giant papier-mâché puppets, and they incorporate powerful imagery and political commentary into their productions, says Jeri Lynn Schulke, The ArtsCenter stage director. “The shows are made up of short skits and sketches that are often very funny, in a slapstick variety. They believe their brand of social awareness is best done with a big dose of humor. The performers are the band, the dancers, the puppeteers and more all rolled up into one.”

Photo courtesy of Bread and Puppet Theater

Schulke says the troupe rounds out each show with free bread in the lobby and cheap art/banners for sale, and children can chat with the entertainers, as well as inspect the masks and puppets.

Photo courtesy of Bread and Puppet Theater

When Peter Schumann founded the troupe 50-plus years ago on New York City’s Lower East Side, its first productions consisted of rod-puppet and hand-puppet shows for children, according to the theater’s website. The early shows covered rents, rats, police and problems of the neighborhood. Over time, Bread and Puppet Theater shows evolved to include sculpture, music, dance and the puppets grew bigger and bigger. The troupe has inspired many similar companies, including the Triangle’s own Paperhand Puppet Intervention, Schulke says.

Photo courtesy of Bread and Puppet Theater

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