The Festival

Sandglass Theater explores what is Just Around the Bend in next Puppets in the Green Mountains international festival

Sandglass Theater is thrilled to announce the 12th edition of the Puppets in the Green Mountains (PGM) international festival, September 7th-15th, 2024. Local and international artists and community leaders bring to life this year’s theme: Just Around the Bend. The festival celebrates the thriving art of Puppet Theater as a means of enhancing perspectives, generating compassion and celebrating the human spirit. Puppets in the Green Mountains: Just Around the Bend offers something for everyone with family shows, shows for adults, workshops and forum discussions, all in and around the Brattleboro area of Southern Vermont.

Over the last 28 years, the PGM festival has grown substantially. What began as a homegrown event to present unique and inspiring Puppet Theater from around the world, now welcomes thousands of participants. This year’s festival will include artists from Germany, Spain, Canada, Puerto Rico, and across the USA, and a world premiere of a new Sandglass production. PGM embraces its role as a meeting ground for international exchange, an educational platform, a space for connection and dialogue, and a celebration of Puppet Theater.

Puppet Theater is unique in its ability to give audiences a focused lens through which to reflect and explore what is Just Around the Bend as we navigate evolving technologies and strive to honor living/embodied knowledge.

The festival offers meaningful engagement for any theater lover, maker, educator, or those looking for art that examines our roles and responsibilities in this world. Renowned companies from around the world offer us glimpses into their relationships with objects, technologies, and memory through an expert sense of play and performance. Working closely with regional leaders, Sandglass Theater presents a program that goes beyond the stage and aims to foster meaningful conversation around these performances and the themes they address. Community-wide public forums, called Access Through the Arts, will underscore the powerful importance of the arts’ role in addressing and inspiring personal engagement with national and international conversations.

This year’s program includes the following performances:

    1. Feral – An new ensemble piece by Sandglass Theater will have its world premiere at PGM. This piece centers the frightening and humorous struggle between intuitive wildness and the domestication of women captured by an allegorical transformation into a werewolf.
    2. Marooned! A Space Comedy – Created by Alex and Olmsted Company from Baltimore, an innovative and whimsical sci-fi puppet show that takes place at the outer reaches of space and follows the survival of an astronaut on an uncharted planet.
    3. Bois (Woods) – A mystical children’s show created by Puzzle Theater from Quebec, Canada in which all of the puppets are made from tree roots and branches, awakening ways in which a forest can come alive.
    4. A Chance Shadow – Created by Double Image Theater Lab, a poetic play inspired by the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo and the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. By using beautifully crafted pop-up scenery, shadow theater, toy theater and poetry, the show brings the audience into the poets’ lyrical and historical worlds.
    5. Free as a Robot – Created by FAB-Theater from Germany investigates the relationship between robots and humans. The “Behavioral Research Department” invites audiences to become part of the exciting experiments involving robots, puppets and people.
    6. The Road of Useless Splendor – Presented by MaskHunt Motions and Deborah Hunt from Puerto Rico, this piece follows two Travelers, mad alchemists from another time. Their knitted meandering road leads them to the Book whose pages spring to life and are populated by strange characters, artifacts, and objects to tell its absurd and tender tale.
    7. Things Easily Forgotten – Created by Xavier Bobes, a show for just 5 people at a time about the history of Spain in the second half of the twentieth century. Around a small table, in an intimate, salon setting, a powerful sequence of close-up sensory experiences invokes a fascinating story exploring memory and identity. Like a magician, or medium at a séance, Xavier Bobés manipulates both past and future.

This year’s festival also offers an extraordinary educational opportunity to participate in a masterclass with theater-maker Xavi Bobés on his approach to Object Theater. Participants will explore objects that inspire us, which influence us in our daily routine, and which attract or repel us. Object performance can often feel enigmatic. This workshop does not seek to decode objects, but rather will seek out the potential and playful possibilities of object performance.

The Brattleboro area also offers unique shops of local crafts, thrift shops, bookstores (new and used), craft breweries, and every kind of outdoor gear! Southern Vermont is also home to many crafts people: potters, woodworkers, weavers, glassblowers, and more. If you come in September, it will be apple season, and local orchards offer exceptional pies and apple cider donuts.

All venues in the Puppets in the Green Mountains festival are wheelchair-accessible. Assistance can be provided for priority seating and parking. Two of the performances will be offered with ASL interpretation. Sandglass welcomes people of all abilities, and strives to provide programming that is inclusive and accessible to all.

The 2024 Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival is made possible with the generous support of Sandglass Theater’s funders, sponsors, board members, and volunteers. Funding for the upcoming festival is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Clowes Fund, the Wolf Kahn Foundation, the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts and The Quebec Delegation in Boston. Program Sponsors include Dead River Company, C & S Wholesale Grocers, M&T Bank, Vermont Humanities, and Oak Meadow.

Puppets in the Green Mountains 2018
Puppets in the Green Mountains 2022