Navy Pier & Chicago Puppet Fest present:
The Festival Neighborhood Tour fosters an appreciation for puppetry throughout the city by bringing free, family-friendly performances to locations outside of Chicago’s theaters, but areas in the city where people may not have the chance to see puppetry very often. The tour offers a range of high-quality puppetry styles in order to create moments of community enjoyment while expanding the base of puppet enthusiasts. This year, three nationally acclaimed puppet artists – Ty Defoe, Jerrell L. Henderson, and Joshua Holden – will tour to five locations around the city to present short works.
The Free Neighborhood Tour is supported by The Marshall Frankel Foundation.
Eagle Dance by Ty Defoe (Wisconsin and New York)
Inspired by the wisdom gained from eagles, this dance embraces the interconnectedness of all living things; the two legged, the four legged, the winged, the finned, and the rooted. Stemming from the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee teachings, this movement honors the past, celebrates the present, and provides inspiration for future generations. Grammy Award winner Ty Defoe is a writer, actor and interdisciplinary artist of the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations of Wisconsin. Defoe co-created with IBEX Puppetry the unforgettable 2019 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival opening production, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, an eco-focused, First Nation origin story and spectacle that featured giant animal puppets and performers of the Ojibwe, Lakota, and Cherokee Nations. tydefoe.com
I Am the Bear by Jerrell L. Henderson (Chicago)
A wintery morning. A walk to work. A curious encounter. A terrifying exchange. An allegory of what it means to be Black in America. Chicago’s Jerrell L. Henderson performs I Am the Bear, based on his experience being racially profiled by police on Chicago’s North Shore. Henderson is a director, puppeteer, and an assistant professor of performance studies. Directing credits include Mlima’s Tale with Griﬃn Theatre (Jeﬀ Award Nominations, Direction and Best Play, Thurgood with Walnut Street Theatre and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at Chicago Children’s Theatre. jerrell-henderson.com
The Joshua Show by Joshua Holden (New York)
With live music by Jeb Cowell
Joshua Holden debuted The Joshua Show at Nasty Brutish and Short in Chicago in 2012. He then took it to the Puppeteers of America’s National Festival, where it was awarded “Best Performance” and “Fan Favorite.” He has been touring the show internationally ever since. “An unabashed ambassador of joy” (New York Times), Holden also performed in the national tour of Avenue Q, was lead puppeteer in Peter Pan 360, and worked with Banksy on Sirens of the Lambs. He currently lives in Brooklyn and works for The Jim Henson Company as a puppet wrangler on Sesame Street. joshuashow.com
One of 40 organizations recently recognized for its contributions to the history, culture, vibrancy, and identity of communities of color in greater Chicago (see Chicago Cultural Treasures), Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) is the longest-standing Latinx cultural center in Chicago. Established in 1971, it was named in honor of Segundo Ruiz Belvis, a Puerto Rican patriot and member of a secret abolitionist society that freed slave children under Spanish rule. In that spirit, SRBCC realizes its mission to preserve and promote appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico and Latin America, with a focus on its African heritage. SRBCC realizes its program philosophy by developing multi-disciplinary programs, with a strong focus on the youth, that highlight the presence of African cultures in Puerto Rico and Latin America, celebrating these cultural traditions through dance, music, theater, and visual arts. segundoruizbelvis.org