Storytelling With Strings Attached

By Brandy Rixey

The Roswell Cultural Arts Center has announced its lineup of shows for the 2019 Roswell Summer Puppet Series. The series includes three Roswell premieres and one world premiere show—Rucker, Go Home!. Set in Roswell and based on the children’s book Rucker The Lost Country Dog by Elaine DeNiro and the Roswell Historical Society, this show follows the adventures of a real dog who lived in Roswell at the turn of the twentieth century. The Roswell Cultural Arts Center received a $7,000 grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts and $7,000 in matching funds from the City of Roswell to create the Roswell-specific show. “We were fortunate to assemble an outstanding team of talented artists to collaborate on Rucker,” said center coordinator Donna Clayton. “The show features an original script and musical score and a set that includes animation and projection of scenes from Historic Roswell. We hope kids and families will be inspired to learn more about the historical treasures found in our city after seeing the show.”

With the CAC being less than a mile away, it’s nice to just hop in the car and be able to see live theater shows without worrying about traffic! There are always familiar show titles on the list and sometimes they have twists from the original stories. In many of the shows the puppeteers talk to the audience, and the kids love that interaction. It really gets their imaginations going. My oldest daughter said she liked the shows because “they were funny and they were great stories.” When I asked my youngest about the puppet shows, she got all excited and with a big smile on her face started telling me about how fun they are and a funny part she remembered from one of the shows. As an added bonus, adults can enjoy the talent too. After the performances, some of the puppeteers talk about the puppets. They hold them up, show how they work, and enjoy answering questions.

Two of the puppeteers are local, both with over 20 years experience. From Atlanta, Lee Bryan “That Puppet Guy” combines live vocal characterizations and songs with innovative puppet designs for an enjoyable show. He will be putting on two shows this summer—Rucker, Go Home! and The Giant, The Beanstalk & Jack. David Stephens, founder of All Hands Productions in Decatur, is another one-man show you don’t want to miss! He puts on an entertaining presentation for all with his handmade puppets, incorporating his talents as a songwriter and banjo musician. Be sure to see his Roswell premiere, The Pied Picker, the first week in July.

New for 2019, King of Pops will sell popsicles at the CAC bridge from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays from June 5 through July 19. Also, the CAC will offer puppet-making workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays immediately following select performances. Workshops will take place on June 18, 20, 25, and 27, and July 18 and 20, and each week will feature a different style of puppet. Workshop tickets cost $5 per participant and can be purchased online at RoswellCAC.com or by calling 770-594-6232. Accompanying adults do not need a ticket but must stay for the workshop. For young people ages 6 to 8 who want an even more in-depth exploration of the many styles of puppetry, the CAC is offering a week-long puppetry camp July 8-12. Call 770-594-6232 for more information, and visit roswellgov.com to register.

Each week the puppet shows will take place Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. with matinee performances Wednesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. They will be closed on July 4. The box office and theater open a half hour prior to show time, and shows run approximately 45 minutes. General admission tickets are on sale now for $5 per person. A ticket is required for everyone ages 2 and up. Summer passes are also available for $30 and include 7 admissions for the price of 6. Tickets and summer passes may be purchased online at RoswellCAC.com, by calling 770-594-6232, or in person at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center located at 950 Forrest Street, Roswell.

So come out and enjoy a variety of professional, live puppet shows in a nice, cool theater with a laid back atmosphere for only $5 a ticket all summer long. These live theater shows are sure to spark imaginations! Wish the Roswell library renovations were finished so we could go after the show but King of Pops will do!