Bread & Puppet Theater brings puppet workshops, performance to SFU Woodward's

October 15, 2018

Theatre artist, and puppeteer Ian McFarlane, a master’s candidate in SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, says he has been deeply influenced by the Bread & Puppet Theater, which is bringing its latest work, The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus, to SFU on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m., as a guest of the SCA.

McFarlane worked with Bread & Puppet for three years, including a tour across New England in 2016, and says their “Why Cheap Art Manifesto” inspired him “to create work in public spaces, to expand my ideas of collaboration, and to consider community engagement as a central focus to theatre-making.”

Established in 1963 by Peter Schumann in New York City, Bread & Puppet is one of the oldest non-profit theatrical companies in the U.S.

In 1974 the company relocated to a farm in northeastern Vermont, now serving as its home base for national and international tours, as well as a location for events and performances.

Bread & Puppet also maintains a free museum dedicated to collecting puppets (many of them huge), costumes, props, posters and other ephemera from its long history of activities. True to its name, it shares bread at every show, made from Schumann’s mother’s recipe.

Informed by a commitment to progressive politics, The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus is described as “a celebration of 6,000 years of human revolution against human management.”

Taking over the atrium of Vancouver’s Woodward’s complex, the show will feature a panoply of large and small puppets, plus the joyously raucous music of the Bread and Puppet Circus Band.

An essential part of Bread & Puppet’s way of working is public participation, so McFarlane is co-organizing two workshops on October 16 and 17 at 2 p.m. for anyone interested in joining The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus.

Interested? You can sign up for a workshop here.

“We are the Bread & Puppet Theater because we offer good old sourdough rye bread togethewith a great variety of puppetshows, some good, some not so good, but all for the good and against the bad. The art of puppetry helps women, men and children alike to overcome the established order and the obsessive submission to its politics and consequent brutalities.”

– Peter Schumann, founder

This story originally appeared in SFU News.