Barefoot Puppet Theatre Workshop and Performance

In a press release, The Highland County Arts Council announced it will present the award-winning Barefoot Puppets Theatre in Monterey for two special events on Saturday, July 29.  A 10 am free workshop will be at the Highland County Library.  Heidi Ruggs, puppeteer and puppet builder will present Meet the Puppets.  At 2 pm, the Barefoot Puppets Theatre will perform Trickster Tales at the Highland Center.

The Barefoot Puppets Theatre began in the basement of the Ruggs’s home in Richmond in 1997.  The first puppet show was designed to fit in the back of a VW Golf.  Since then, Barefoot Puppets have performed throughout the United States, including Boston’s Puppet Showplace Theatre, the Smithsonian Discover Center and Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts.  In 2005, the group was awarded the UNIMA Citation for Excellence, the highest distinction in American puppetry.

The 10 am workshop at the Highland County Library is designed for children.  Meet the Puppets will be a backstage look at what makes a puppet theatre. Ms.  Ruggs will tell how she became a puppeteer, and the audience will learn how a wide variety of puppets work and how they are built.  The audience will be able to get up close to a unique collection of remarkable puppet creations.

The 2 pm performance at the Highland Center troupe will present Trickster Tales.  The 45- minute show will star Anansi the Spider in two traditional folktales of the Beluba and Ashanti peoples of Africa.  In addition to Anansi, the audience will meet Elephant, Hippo, Namibi the Python, Osebo the Leopard, a swarm of angry hornets and an even angrier Sky-God.  The production is noted for its colorful scenery, original music, and its eleven-foot stage that creates the perfect backdrop for the antics of the expressive rod and hand puppetsTrickster Tales is described as “a high energy show with fun for all ages!”

A small admission fee is charged for the 2 pm production at the Highland Center to cover some of the cost of bringing the Barefoot Puppet theatre to Highland.

The workshop and the performance of Trickster Tales are also supported in part by grants from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and by members of the Highland County Arts Council.

For more information visit the Arts Council website

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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