Pageant With Puppets
They arrived on campus in a funky green school bus on Sept. 11, and for the next week, members of the award-winning Bread & Puppet Theater Company took Wittenberg students under their collective wing for a unique educational opportunity as part of the 2008-2009 Witt Series.
Co-sponsored by The Ruth B. and Thomas F. Mackey Charitable Trust, Gil Belles ’62 and the First-Year Experience program, the intensive weeklong theater residency culminated with an outdoor performance titled “Sourdough Philosophy Circus and Pageant” on the corner of West Ward Street and Woodlawn Avenue.
Founded in 1962 in New York City by German-born dancer, musician and sculptor Peter Schumann, Bread & Puppet became known for its presence during anti-war protests. In 1970, the group moved to Vermont, where today it has indoor and outdoor performance spaces, a print shop, a store and a large museum showcasing the company’s work on a communal farm. The Bread & Puppet Theater Company has received National Endowment for the Arts grants, and numerous awards from the Puppeteers of America and other organizations.
Until 1998 Bread & Puppet hosted its annual Pageant and Circus, a festival that regularly drew crowds numbering more than 10,000 which camped on nearby farmers’ land. In hopes of returning to the group’s roots, Schumann cancelled the festival, and the theater has instead offered smaller weekend performances each summer. In addition, Bread & Puppet Theater maintains a busy touring schedule in the United States and internationally.