April 21, 28: The Great Puppet Build

It’s the Great Puppet Build!

“Come one, come all to the great puppet build!”  The Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre/Fire Hall Theatre is calling on everyone in the community to help build the centerpiece for the inaugural World Peace Pageant. Individuals and families with children five-years and older are invited to join the fun as the theatre constructs a 2-story tall puppet made of recycled materials and paper mache throughout the month of April on weekends.

Executive Director Kathy Coudle-King said, “Many hands are needed in order to pull off what will be the largest theatrical event in Grand Forks’ history. We anticipate involving hundreds of people as puppet makers, musicians, and performers. This is one of the most involved undertakings the Community Theatre has ever produced, but as we ready to launch our 71st season in September it seemed like we needed to do something on a grand scale that involves as many community members as possible.”

The puppet pageant will be similar to those produced by Bread and Puppet in Vermont and Heart of the Beast in Minneapolis. Nothing like this has been produced in Grand Forks, though. Paul Robinson, formerly of East Grand Forks, is consulting on the project, as he worked at Heart of the Beast.

“Basically, we begin with a simple story called a cantastoria, which is like an 8’ by 10’ canvas book on ‘pages’,” said Coudle-King. “The story is told by a small chorus of performers while 60 or more actors with paper mache masks act out the story in front of the crowd on the Greenway.” Humor, music, and dancing will all play a role in telling the story, which “recognizes our diversity and celebrates our shared humanity. But first we have to build the giant puppet!”

The World Peace Pageant, Sept. 15, will be part of the 2nd annual Greenway Takeover. So far the Community Theatre has engaged 16 other partners: Myra Foundation, Community Foundation, Vets for Arts, Global Friends, the LISTEN Center, Archives Coffee Shop, North Valley Youth Orchestra, UND’s American Indian Association, Black Student Association, African Student Association, and English Language Learners, GF Park Board, Artwise, the Flint Group, Grand Cities Children’s Choir, as well as GF Boy Scouts. However, many more hands are needed to create the 2-story tall puppet for the World Peace Pageant.

If you can tear newspaper and apply paper mache, you can be part of the largest theatrical event in GF’s history. The Theatre is also looking for youth, church, and civic groups to champion a particular build day. GF Boy Scouts will build on April 14 and 15. Other dates are still open and can be claimed by emailing info@ggfct.com .

Dates: April 7, 14, 21, 28, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; April 8, 15, 22, 29 from 1 – 5 p.m.

Location: Exchange Club Warming House – 3702 6th Avenue North, next to Lake Aggasiz school.

Cost:  Free