Mission: The PuppeTree’s mission is to promote an appreciation of the performing arts, with an emphasis on children’s theater and puppets, among diverse audiences. These audiences include-but are not limited to-school age children, special needs children, at-risk youth, senior citizens and intergenerational groups, other adults and underserved communities. Through Artist-in-Residence programs, The PuppeTree, which is registered as a Juried Artist with the Vermont Arts Council, creates the opportunity for these groups to become active participants in all aspects of theater arts. The PuppeTree enlists members of the audience to become performers and puppeteers. They are also involved in script development, building the scenery and puppets. We refer to this unique method of enlisting audiences in the dynamics of a production by saying “YOUR GROUP IS THE TROUPE “™.
History: The Puppetree has grow out of Ann Legunn’s diverse background in professional theater-including her work as a Puppeteer, Performer, Artistic Designer, Director, Teacher, Recreation Leader, and Summer Camp Theater Director. Her extensive experience teaching puppetry and children’s theater workshops at community theaters, senior centers (intergenerational programs), parks departments, and public schools (NYC Bd. of Ed), gave her the impetus to form a hands-on theater workshop and puppetry company when she relocated to Vermont in 1999.
This goal was furthered when Ann purchased a building that once housed the Parrish Players of Thetford, VT. Having bought the property that was the start theatre space of the Parrish Players. The Puppetree has already renovated a 290 sq. feet workshops with enough room for 7 students to be instructed. The larger 800 square feet open theatre is now in the process of becoming the Company’s rehearsal and performance space.
What’s unique about Puppetree: Rather than start a traditional puppet or theater company that just performs theater pieces before an audience, Ann created a “touchable” theater-one in which members of various community groups from elementary schools to senior centers could become active participants in all aspects of theater arts. The Puppetree is unique in that the participants not only build puppets, but are encouraged to handle those made by Ann-something usually forbidden by most puppet companies-the way they would handle other props, costumes, and scenery.
Active Repertoire of Past Two Years
- Sock Puppet Workshop-Cabin Fever University, Stratford, VT (one day)
- Creative Dramatics after school classes-Thetford Elementary School, Thetford, VT (10 wks)
- Puppet Workshop-Dalton School, Hartford Recreational Department Hartford VT (one day)
- Hand Puppet Workshops-Hay Days Summer Camp Hanover NH (one day)
- River Days-Wrote and conducted environmentally oriented classes for K-5 (one-hour class repeated with four different groups per location), Strafford and Norwich, VT; Cornish and Plainfield, NH
- Building Marionettes Classes-Norwich Recreational Department Norwich VT (10 weeks)
- Intergenerational Program under a grant from Caring Connections-White River Junction Elementary School and Bugbee Senior Center WRJ, VT (1 month)
- Funny Business-Wrote and directed this play at Clearwater Camp, Minocqua, WI (summer program)
- Elemental II-Built props and stage managed this performance for Carol Langstaff’s FLOCK Dance company (8 weeks)
- Dirty Works At The River-Co-Wrote and conducted first readings of an ORIGINAL environmental melodrama for grades 7 and above. This script can also be mounted as a full production. Performed at Connecticut River Day, Plainfield NH and Charlestown NH
- Joy-Dancer in Carol Langstaff’s production (3 months)
- Peer Gynt-designed and built life size puppets for production at SUNY Oneonta, NY
- Halloween Bash and Family Dance-created background props and organized activities for Thetford Elementary School
- The Big Splash 2000 and 2001-designed a new River Spirit, created ART and ideas, etc.