As I mentioned earlier today, the Staunton News Leader published a story and photo about our donation of a portable puppet theater to the Augusta County Library. We are so excited to have been able to do this for the children’s department at the ACL! A lot of folks have asked us how we got involved in the project. Here’s what happened:
Erin S. and I took Skippyjon Jones to visit the children’s department at the library back in May during Children’s Book Week. While we were there, library staffers Clare and Mary performed one of their famous Puppet Pandemonium shows to a packed house of kids and parents. As it turns out, along with their many in-library shows, Clare and Mary travel all around the Valley doing puppet shows to promote reading and library services. But, they told me, their portable puppet theater wasn’t really filling their needs. It was kind of on the small side (they had to kneel down behind it to perform), and it was heavy and clunky to travel with. Even though I don’t know a whole lot about professional puppet theaters, I figured Pufferbellies could help.
We looked all over the web for a theater to fit the library’s needs, and finally tracked down Open Door Designs, a puppet company in Canada. I called, and Joanne Bigham (the designer and creator of the company’s puppets and theaters) customized the ideal theater for Clare and Mary. It has an extra-wide stage so many puppets can perform at once, special bars to accommodate light and sound equipment, and it folds down to fit in a golf club bag. Perfect! Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
We are so happy that we could track down such a great theater for the puppet crew at the Augusta County Library. We know that hundreds of children this year alone will get the benefit of high-quality, funny, thoughtful entertainment courtesy of Clare and Mary, and we hope that this theater will help the library spread the word about books and reading for many years to come.