Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fox Folk Marionette Christmas Shows

The Fox Folk Marionettes have had a busy couple weeks performing their Christmas show entitled "The Gift of the Princess."  It is a retelling of a Russian folktale focused on the visit of the Three Wisemen to Bethlehem to find the new-born King of Peace.

Two shows were offered Dec. 7th at the Apple Creek YMCA on Appleton's northside.  On Wednesday, the show was performed at the Thompson Community Center in downtown Appleton for the Memory Cafe program.  On Saturday, Dec. 14th the puppets perform at St. Paul Lutheran Church/School in their Christmas for Kids program.

This year's troupe is made up of 10 high school students from Fox Valley Lutheran High School. Congrats to them for braving the cold temps and performing well under challenging conditions. Below is a photo of this year's talented crew.

Directors Dave and Cassie Payne have enjoyed the opportunity to visit new venues and update this show which first debuted two years ago.  A new show will debut in January entitled "A Sight to See" and will feature a Biblical Easter theme.  Dave has also been putting the finishing touches on a book detailing the history of these unique puppets which first performed in December of 1965 and have performed for over 50,000 from across the U.S. over the years. Currently the book covers 150 pages and details the background of the puppets from the late 1940's to about 2005 when the puppets were donated to Fox Valley Lutheran High School.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Warhorse" in Appleton


If you haven't got tickets to "Warhorse" in Appleton's Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, I don't think it's too late. I just looked online and there seem to be tickets left.
A few guild members will be attending the 1 p.m. show on Sunday, June 30. Afterwards (about 3:30-4 p.m.) we will be meeting up with Dave and Cassie Payne at Fox Valley Lutheran H.S. for a tour of their marionette theater. (See his previous post on this site.)
The high school is at 5300 Meade St.
 The bunch of us will have supper out, too, and talk guild talk.  Dave and Cassie have tickets for the 6:30 performance that day and the rest of us will head for home.
Questions? Email

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fox Folk Marionettes perform

Enjoyed the Puppet Guild meeting in Wild Rose and the show at the library.  Fun day!  Here's a couple photos of the Fox Folk Marionette Show we recently gave to an audience of about 200 kindergartners and 60 parents at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton.

The show is entitled "I Can Do All Things..."  Here Jack and Jill are encountering a big rock that no one can figure out how to move.

The prince and princess are not happy about the rock blocking their way.

Jack and Jill prove that "little people can do big things" by moving the rock and are rewarded by the king with a cart full of gold.

The Fox Folk Marionette Troupe takes a bow after the show.

If you'd like a close look at these puppets -- which were built in the 1960's and have performed for over 30,000 people through the years - come visit us for our Puppetry Guild outing in Appleton at the end of June.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April Guild Meeting Report

The Wisconsin Puppetry Guild met Saturday, April 13, 2013, at the Patterson Memorial Library in lovely little Wild Rose.
Our host was librarian Kent Barnhard. Also attending were his girlfriend, Erin, who also is a librarian, as well as Zona Platzek, Pam Corcoran, Dave and Cassie Payne, Chuck and Sandye Voight -- and Pam's 3-year-old grandson, Henry!

Chuck and Sandye (as the Fever River Puppeteers) performed their hand, rod and shadow show, "River Critters" to an audience that included about 35 Wild Rosians.
Kent had lunch fixings brought in for us, so after the show, we stayed in the community room for lunch and a meeting.

Concerned about continuing low attendance numbers, Pam, as acting president, noted that the Great Plains Guild of Iowa/Nebraska has remained dormant for several years. Younger guild members have not taken up the mantle when longtime members are ready to hand it over. This could be us soon.

We discussed offering puppet workshops for Wisconsin school and library conferences.
The Wis. Library Assn. meets in Green Bay in the fall. The Wis. Assn. of Public Libraries meets in May.  A "Getting Started with Puppets" workshop would be ideal.

We also discussed somehow getting the attention of state colleges and universities, where the students who are in education, library science and theater likely include the next generation of puppeteers. Kent has contacts with UW-Milwaukee.

Zona, as treasurer, reported that Tim Reed wanted to know if we wanted to keep the domain name connected with the website. The cost is $35 per year, $60 for 2 years and $120 for 5 years. Zona said she still gets contacted by potential members because of the website and on her recommendation, so we will keep it. She said she will contact Tim, who will maintain the basic site for us.

Sandye reminded members about the Day of Puppetry event called Pup-a-Foo-Glee coming up Saturday, May 18, at the Hazel Green Opera House. Pam hopes to attend some interviews of potential P of A executive directors in the Twin Cities in mid-May.

Dave and Cassie said they already had tickets for the touring production of "War Horse" in Appleton at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30. We decided that guild members would also try to get tickets for that evening. We will meet in Appleton at about 3 p.m. that day at Fox Valley Lutheran High School, where Dave teaches and where he has the stage for the Fox Folk Marionettes. We will be able to hear the history of this historic collection that was given to the school. And we'll go out for supper before the show.

Tickets are available at $92, $82 and $62. We took the middle price.  Our seats are section GRAND1, row A, seats 303-304.

The June 30 gathering will include a planning session for the rest of 2013 and 2014. The formal election of officers was tabled. Zona said she has been treasurer for more than 20 years. She also is membership chairwoman. Besides being president, Pam is in charge of programming. And Sandye took these minutes, besides being newsletter editor.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cassie Payne (my daughter) & Mickey Stratil from Hands 2 Grow Puppet Productions presented at the UW-Whitewater conference and said it was a great forum with lots of awesome ideas!

On this Thursday (April 11), Cassie and I are doing a Fox Folk Marionette Show & Tell at the Memory Cafe event in Appleton.  We'll be showcasing the story of the marionettes inherited by Fox Valley Lutheran High School.  It's at the Atlas Cafe from about 2-4 p.m.  We are planning to offer a Memory Cafe Christmas show next November-December at Appleton's Thompson Center. 

On Friday, the Fox Folk Marionettes will be entertaining and audience of over 250 at Fox Valley Lutheran High School's Kinderfest 2013 for area kindergartners.  Our puppets give the opening devotion that emphasizes the message:  "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me!"

Appleton will be a hotbed of professional puppetry in the next couple month with Lion King and Warhorse coming to the Fox Cities PAC.  We have tickets for both and are excited to enjoy these awesome performances. Happy puppeting!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Library ideas

Kathy Luck of Sussex emailed to say that she  is going through things and has quite a few older puppetry books. She rescued them from her library's "weed out" shelf. She wonders if anyone might be interested in them and will compile a list.

Who knows? Maybe she has some old treasures. A Paul McPharlin or a Tony Sarg?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 13 meeting

Guild Gathering 
at Wild Rose
Saturday, April 13

Hosted by librarian Kent Barnhard
Patterson Memorial Library, 500 Division St., Wild Rose
  •  10:30 a.m. – “River Critters,” Fever River Puppeteers; a hand, rod and shadow puppet show about animals on the Mississippi River.  Buddy and Grandpa go fishing, unaware of the antics of a playful otter, a wily raccoon and assorted other critters.

This show will be open to the public. It runs about 50 minutes, plus Q&A after the show.
  • Noon-1 p.m. –  Lunch out. Possibly at The Chatter Box CafĂ©! (Do you suppose they serve Hot Dish?)
  •  1-1:15 p.m.: – Guild meeting – Short and sweet
  • 1:30 p.m. – Voice workshop by Jill Frederickson

Pup-a-Foo-Glee at Hazel Green
10 a.m.-3 p.m. (approx.)
Saturday, May 18

The Fever River Puppeteers will host the second annual Pup a Foo Glee, a day of puppets, food and fun
at the Hazel Green Opera House, 2130 Main St., Hazel Green

  • “Dragon Feathers,” by the Melikin Puppets, of Chicago
  • “Call of the Sea: A Mermaid’s Tale,” by Ginger Lozar, of Champaign, Ill.
  •  “Punch & Judy,” by the Fever River Puppeteers
  • Concessions by the Hazel Green Lions Club and the Southwestern High School Student Council. 
  • Street activities:  painting, chalk drawing and make-take puppet making
  • Theater games and puppet improv games.
  • It’s all free, but donations are appreciated.

Afterwards, puppeteers, helpers and guild members are invited to Chez Voight in nearby Benton (5 miles) for a brat feed.

For info, call Chuck at 608-732-6404. Details to come at