Inform Press


Out of the Shadows

The Henson International Festivals and Their Impact on Contemporary Puppet Theater

“Out of the Shadows is an absorbing and generous book, a reminder of the amazing range of artists and forms of puppet theater that the Henson festivals brought together during the decade of their existence. It shows the festivals’ bravery, their brilliance, their “taste,” their scope, their wonderful enlargement of the sense of what’s possible and serious (and seriously playful) in puppet theater.”

Kenneth Gross, Author of Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
Cover image: Mabou Mines, Peter and Wendy, adapted by Liza Lorwin, directed by Lee Breuer, with puppets by Julie Archer. Actress Karen Kandel is with Peter and the Lost Boys. Photo by Richard Termine

Out of the Shadows explores the Henson festivals’ role in building and growing the field of contemporary puppet theater for adults in the United States and, being located in the center of the theater world, in raising awareness about puppetry as a serious art form.

It provides a history of the environment into which the puppetry festivals were born, and the developments they inspired.

It is dedicated it to the spirit and genius of two giants–Jim Henson and Joe Papp–who both passed without seeing the festivals come to fruition, but without whom they never would have happened. And, it celebrates Jim Henson’s love of international puppetry and how his contributions forever changed that world. 

In order to acquaint Americans with the best puppetry worldwide and to foster the development of puppetry in our own country, Jim Henson envisioned an international puppetry festival. With the support of Joe Papp, the legendary founder of The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park, the first festival was hosted at The Public Theater at New York City’s Astor Place, as Puppetry at The Public.

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