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PuppetART co-founder and executive director Igor Gozman
By Donald V. Calamia
What is your theater's mission statement?
To explore a variety of cultures and to foster an appreciation of the wisdom of tradition, the beauty of the spirit and the art of diverse communities through puppet performances, exhibits and classes.
This year we will introduce a new show, Snow Queen to our repertoire. If you don't know, each year we maintain a repertoire of nine productions, so the addition of a new show that we have been working on behind the scenes is very exciting.
We are also continuing an important educational project as a collaboration with the bilingual department of Detroit Public Schools.
What are your theater's long-term goals and objectives?
Our vision is to be a center for puppetry activities in Southeast Michigan, a valuable member of the area's artistic community, an important part in the aesthetic education of area youth, and a significant influence upon cultural development in metropolitan Detroit.
We also want to promote and popularize puppetry as a performance genre and contribute to its future development.
What makes your theater different from any of the others in Michigan? What is it about you that is unique?
Puppetry is unique, I think.
What is your programming philosophy? What type(s) of shows does your theater produce on its main stage - and why?
We bring a culturally diverse repertoire to our audiences, focusing on folklore, and fairy tales. Puppetry is the most unique art form, you see, it brings together all arts and reflects the diversity of people with it's diversity of puppets.
What other types of programming, if any, does your theater offer - such as theater for young audiences, educational outreach, etc.?
I will separate this into three categories.
1. Theater: We take a few shows on tour, primarily touring Detroit schools and libraries. Programs on-site include field trips for school groups year-round and performances for the general public run every Saturday at 2 p.m. September through May.
2. Studio: Puppetry workshops, conducted after every performance, are developed for different levels of interest for children, teachers, caregivers and professionals. The priority of Studio projects, classes, workshops and residencies is to support state literacy curriculum, fulfill the guidelines of the Open Court Language Arts Program, provide teachers with the comprehensive tool of puppetry to create a rich literacy environment and help children learn through experience.
3. Museum: Provides support for theater and studio activities by offering tours through the puppet exhibits, gathering and archiving puppets and puppetry related books and videos, conducts and publishes research on puppetry.
Does your theater offer any classes or workshops - either to the general public or to industry professionals? If so, what are they?
The general public may stay after any Saturday performance for a puppet-making workshop.
Is your theater an Equity (union) company?
What is the philosophy you use to cast your shows? From what talent pool(s) do you draw from?
We don't cast or audition for each show. Our actors are more along the lines of company members.
How does an actor go about arranging an audition?
The philosophy of our casting is what you may call a "troupe" - a group of actors who work together and get to know each other and how each other works. The troupe or company environment is what we strive to keep. Actors come open with creativity, exploring how they fit into this community of artists.
Does your theater offer an apprenticeship or internship program? And if so, what is the criteria - and how does someone apply for such a position?
Call the theater!
Does your theater accept new play submissions? If so, how does a playwright go about submitting a script for your consideration?
Yes, we do accept submissions. All of our productions are based on original plays and playwrights.
What else should we know about your theater, the current season, etc.?
Our shows run each for one month. This season continues as so:
Stay tuned to Encore for more information on shows.
Theater name: PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater
Business & performance address (including zip code): 25 E. Grand River, Detroit, MI 48226
Web address: www.puppetart.org
Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/puppetart
Business & box office phone (including area code): 313-961-7777
Business & box office hours of operation: Tuesday-Saturday, noon - 3 p.m.
In what year was your theater established: 1998
Company's founders: Igor Gozman, Irina Baranovskaya, Luda Mikheyenko
Current leaders or management team: Igor Gozman, Irina Baranovskaya, Luda Mikheyenko, Nick Pobutsky, Ashlee Armstrong, Jackie Strez and Molly McMahon
Is your theater a non-profit, tax-exempt organization? Yes
Is your theater wheelchair accessible? Yes
During which months of the year does your season run? September-August
How many main stage productions do you offer each season? Nine
How many OTHER productions or programs do you offer each season? Nine
How many seats does your theater have? 70
What type(s) of seating is offered to your patrons (ex: general admission, reserved, etc)? General admission
In general, what is the price range for your non-discounted main stage tickets (exclusive of service charges and other fees)? Adults $10; children $5
Are there service charges or other fees added to the price of the tickets? And if so, what are those charges and fees? No.
In general, what is the price range for your OTHER programs and services? Puppet Making Workshops: $8 per project
Do you offer subscriptions to your main stage season? Yes
Do you offer discounts to senior citizens (and if so, what are the details)? Not currently
Do you offer discounts to students (and if so, what are the details)? Not currently
Do you offer group discounts (and if so, what are the details)? Not for Saturday shows.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept personal checks? Yes
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept credit or debit cards? No
Can tickets to your shows be purchased online - and if so, how? No
ABOUT IGOR GOZMAN