The Vancouver International Puppet Festival strives to encourage and promote the growth and appreciation of puppetry in Vancouver and Canada by providing people of all ages the opportunity to participate in the creativity, positivity and ingenuity of the craft.
Through performances, events, workshops and dialogue, our goal is to create a space to showcase the unique work and talents of the Vancouver puppet community and to bring the talent of international puppeteers to our city.
Along side our endeavors of the Festival itself we have another smaller festival know as the Home Grown series which gives the opportunity for local productions to workshop, develop and showcase thier new works in a full theatre run.
Without the call to action from Barbara Chirinos from the then Granville Island Cultural Society this festival would not exist. It was Barbara who assembled the cofounders and gave generous support to make everything possible for our team to bring the amazing talents to Vancouver’s stages.
Here are the the co-founders and festival team members that make this festival happen who are all are volunteers.
Tara Travis is a voice artist-actor-writer-puppeteer known about town for her work with Monster Theatre with whom she has co-created and performed the multi-Jessie nominated Who Killed Gertrude Crump?, Til Death: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Houdini’s Last Escape, Lavinia: A Modern Fairy Tale of Gigantic Proportions, The Shakespeare Show, 12 original adaptations of Classics of Literature with Mini Masterpieces, and the Jessie-award winning adaptation of The Little Prince. Other select stage credits include The Wizard of Oz (Gateway Theatre), Rip! A Winkle In Time (Axis Theatre), and Leading Ladies (Gateway Theatre). Projects as a solo creator/performer include The Unfortunate Ruth (PTC New Play Prize recipient), Searching for Dick: A Paranormal Comedy, and Fluffy 10th Street to name a few. She co-produces and performs in Phantom Signal, a monthly live horror-comedy radio show at Little Mountain Gallery, soon to be a real live theatrical podcast. She lives in Vancouver with her wonderful husband Jim, and their ridiculous meatloaf of a rescue dog, Pita.
Taratravis.com | phantomsignalradio.com | monstertheatre.com
Involved with puppetry since age 19, Jeny’s puppet education began while working with a children’s touring puppetry group, where she learned the basics along side her students. While doing her BFA in acting at University of Victoria, she became the go-to person for puppetry where she found herself creating and inventing puppets, performing with, and even directing a number of productions. From stage to television- her first TV production landed her in the company of the best film and television puppeteers in Canada, and the 6 month shooting schedule became like an apprenticeship for her. Many film and television productions in the decades since have allowed her to build skills in many puppet formats; hand & rod, shadow, Bunraku, animatronics, suit puppets, marionette, as well as unique combinations of all of these styles. Film and TV highlights include Muppet's Wizard of Oz, Falling Skies, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary, Haunting Hour, Eureka, Twilight: New Moon, and Henson’s Turkey Hollow, Imaginary Mary, the Arts Club Theatre's Avenue-Q.
Creative Director and founder of Color Sound Lab Custom Puppet Makers, Dusty has been performing and designing in Puppetry for 17 years in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver working with the Red Smarteez, Carnival Sized Cinnamon Hearts Marionette Troupe, Moth Orbit Object Theater, Flying Pig Puppet Co., Skelemo Productions, The Odd-Lot Puppet Company, Axis Theatre, Monster Theatre, Anachronism Pictures, The Field Productions, Joi Productions, Blatant Studios, Serscha Studios/Oats Productions.
Dusty was a recipient of a 2009 Leo Award for Anachronism Pictures’ “The Anachronism” and 2015 Jessie Award with Tara Travis on Monster Theatre’s “The Little Prince”.
A graduate of the Illustration and Design program at Capillano University in North Vancouver, BC, Steve currently works as a graphic designer & Gallery facilitator for the West Vancouver Community Arts Council. While he works on illustrations as often as possible, his work is often found in editorial pieces and alongside magazine interviews.
His puppet building can be seen in many music videos and productions built by Color Sound Lab.
Sarah Aplas is a forever student who is always looking for new things, ideas, and people to spark her interest. In her most recent degree in education, puppetry became the focus. No longer just a long-time lover of puppetry in film and television, Sarah began turning her artistic talents to building and is excited to be starting her journey as a fabricator. Sarah is thrilled to be a part of the first Vancouver International Puppet Festival as the Assistant Festival Co-ordinator.
Filmmaker, painter and artist, Tracy Stewart is a tour-de-force of creativity and ingenuity. Her drive, involvement and commitment to creative works has trancended mediums and helped present some of the most resilient work in the western hemisphere has seen in the last 20 years.
A multi-award winning Television and Film Producer, Morris is best known for Van Helsing (2016), The Order (2018), and Wu Assassins (2018). Morris is also a Vancouver-based filmmaker, puppeteer, writer and sometimes television personality. He has produced He has directed over 12 short films to date, and has worked in front of the camera as a puppeteer and actor on several television productions including Falling Skies, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Smallville, The L Word, The Puppet Life, Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow, and feature films like AVP2, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Slither, The Hole and many more. He has also appeared as the Producer Mentor for OutTV’s Hot Pink Shorts program. Morris holds a BFA with distinction from The University of Alberta and is also a graduate of the Creative Producers Workshop from the prestigious Canadian Film Centre.
More than anything he is excited to be a founding member of the Vancouver International Puppet Festival.
Moth Orbit Object Theater (MOOT) was formed in 2010, and has since performed festivals and galleries throughout B.C. MOOT continues to explore the dramatic uses of performing objects: how anything and everything can be brought to life, from everyday found objects to the most deliberately designed puppets, masks, costumes and sets. Moth Orbit Object Theater is a moth-eaten monument built of found objects and rejected materials. Re-imagined and re-animated, trash becomes treasure and static materials become spirited. Each act of puppetry holds a mirror to the existential condition and suggests a solution: it is possible to remain enchanted despite an awareness of the mechanisms at play.
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Thank you to all of our sponsors for your generous support!
Thank you to all of the dreamers who dare to imagine
and the lovers of puppets.
It is definately magic!