Puppetry is one of the oldest types of performance art in the United States. Within the last five years, there has been a renaissance of puppetry happening across the world. Puppets are appearing on television, in movies, and onstage. In fact, just last month, Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company received a Special Tony Award for the technical design of the 20-foot, 2000-pound puppet featured in the musical King Kong. Closer to home in, Donovan Zimmerman and his team are putting the finishing touches on Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s 20th annual production entitled WE ARE HERE, which opens next month in Chapel Hill. Lauren Van Hemert met up with him at his studio in Saxapahaw, which is adjacent to the Haw River Trail in Alamance County. As you will hear, Donovan is deeply connected to nature and his environment. So it seemed fitting we record this episode outside at a picnic table next to the river. Hear what Donovan has to say to RDU on Stage, the Triangle theater podcast, about art, discipline, and shifting the status quo one giant puppet pageant at a time.
About the Guest
Donovan Zimmerman is the co-founder and director of Paperhand Puppet Intervention. After graduating from the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati, he traveled to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and India before moving to Oregon where he started the Sticks and Stones Theater puppet company. After taking part in the Haw River Festival for many years, Donovan met his wife Lea. The pair settled down in Saxapahaw. He and his longtime friend and collaborator Jan Burger have been working together on Paperhand for seven years. This year marks Paperhand’s 20th annual production.
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