In 2008, I was the recipient of an Interdisciplinary Grant from the California Institute of Arts for a workshop of Growing Up Linda and the premiere at Venue 13 in Edinburgh.
Growing Up Linda was an ensemble actor-puppetry performance in which a woman who believes she’s the daughter of a famous ice cream mogul must come to terms with her troubled past.
Funds went a long way. After Growing Up Linda’s premiere in Edinburgh, I presented segments of the performance at Calgary’s International Animated Objects Festival, the Transmodern Festival in Baltimore, The Park Theatre in Winnipeg, Links Hall in Chicago, The Great Small Works Toy Theatre Festival at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, REDCAT in Los Angeles, the Orlando Fringe and Gallery at Avalon Island in Orlando.
The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and Arts was an American teaching laboratory for contemporary puppetry and performing objects, a Center within the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, [CA]. The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was founded in 1998. In 2012, the Center’s courses and focus on puppetry were folded into the overall curriculum of the CalArts School of Theater, where puppet and object theatre remain an important focus and a critical interdisciplinary presence within the Institute.
CalArts, situated 30 miles.. from Los Angeles, was founded as an art school generously supported by Walt and Roy O. Disney in 1961. By 1971, the school offered degrees in art, dance, film (animation), and theatre. Housed in the School of Theater, the puppetry program was established in 1998 with the goal of making the most creative developments in contemporary puppetry available to the students across the Institute’s six schools.
The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was created to offer a framework for practical training, artistic innovation, aesthetic inquiry and interdisciplinary investigation. In keeping with the evolution of puppetry through the integration of different art forms, CalArts strives to combine puppet theatre with the use of new technologies and emerging forms and practices that cut across traditional boundaries. These principles continue in the newly integrated puppetry courses, which are open to all students from across the Institute. Students can take a single course as an elective, or a series of courses, creating a focus in puppetry, which includes opportunities to create and produce original work.