Monday, December 11, 2017

Year-End Spaghetti Dinner

Friday, December 29, 2017
55 Washington Square South, NYC

Tickets: $15 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Info: 917-319-8104

Let's come together and face the New Year!

*Join Great Small Works in accepting Laura Flanders' challenge to design a logo for a Shared Power Index.

*Two new cantastorias from Boxcutter Cabaret.

*New episodes of "Trumpuppetry" by Stephen Kaplin -- overhead shadows for dark times.

*"The Storm" by Jessica Santos and Leo March. Conversation between two Puerto Ricans about the storm which has been more than a century in the making.


*Aeilushi Mistry will teach the Divada (Lamp) Dance from Gujarat, India.

*Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican roots drum and dance by the all-women's drumming troupe, Legacy Women.

*Michael Winograd and the Honorable Mentshn - end of the year klezmer dance party.

Tickets: $15 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Info: 917-319-8104
Spaghetti at 7:30PM.
Performances begin at 8PM.

Great Small Works thanks the Puppet Slam Network (HBH Fund) and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for their support.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Banners and Cranks this weekend!

Great Small Works will be represented by Jenny Romaine at this year's iteration of BANNERS AND CRANKS.

ArtYard, Frenchtown, NJ

Nov 17th – 7:30 PM
An Entertaining Illustrated History of Cantastoria (Lecture)
Dave Buchen and Clare Dolan will present an illustrated history of this fascinating performance form. In addition to the illustrated lecture, they will share footage of picture-story recitation from around the world, including Indian, Australian, and Iranian performances, as well as contemporary cantastoria performed by artists, activists, writers and puppeteers in the U.S.
Nov 18th – 7:30 PM
A Raucous Evening of Banners and Cranks
This cabaret-style evening presents Cantastoria and cranky shows in the grand tradition, celebrating stories of mayhem, intrigue, and the small triumphs of the downtrodden, with live music by the Banners & Cranks House Band!
Banners & Cranks for Kids and their Grown-Ups
This event presents cantastoria and cranky shows in the grand tradition, geared towards family audiences, with live music, moving pictures, and lots of stories.
Jenny's shows:
1. A family friendly sing a long show created with Mor Erlich of Sez Me  on the topic of SANDWICHES.
 A picture recitation show that invites you on a tour of the Belarusian village of Uzda, where the cemetery hides some surprising (or not-so-surprising) histories of inter-religious coexistence, solidarity, and defiance of authoritarian blockheads. Based on the creators' journeys through Líte — the historical Jewish-Lithuanian borderlands — on the Yiddishkayt Helix Project 2015, the REVIVAL combines multilingual source texts and folksongs with original material to tell funny and shocking stories of funerals and foodways in a "mostly ordinary town." In English, Yiddish, and Belarusian. THE REVIVAL OF THE UZDA GRAVEDIGGERS is a Great Small Works collaboration by Geoff Berner, Ben Kline and Jenny Romaine.
More about Cantastoria:
Cantastoria is the Italian word for an ancient performance form involving the theatrical display of paintings accompanied by sung narration. A precursor to modern puppet theater, this practice originated in 6th Century India and spread East and West, with many different variations in style and subject matter.
Recently there has been a revival of interest in Cantastoria among puppeteers, artists, and activists in the West, who find that this ancient form has startlingly modern qualities and can easily be infused with fresh content. The use of the cranky (a sister to the cantastoria in which the images appear on a scroll which is turned by means of a crank) has also lately grown popular among folk musicians and artists looking for new ways to perform their songs and display their artwork in a performance context. Banners and Cranks is committed to the concept of a nomadic festival, both because it is in keeping with the historic itinerant roots of the performance form, and also because they hope that the fest will reach new audiences of makers and thinkers who have never seen cantastoria before, inspiring the uninitiated to take up the form and invent fresh approaches to the magic of the cranky and the picture story.
This is a living and breathing folk performance practice that has its own particular place alongside the technology and media of the 21 st century.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Building Stories Open House

Open House!
We invite you to visit Building Stories, your new neighborhood get-it-done art, culture & organizing workshop!

Saturday, September 23rd, 6PM to 10PM
Building Stories
69 9th Street, Brooklyn
(Behind B.I.G. Reuse warehouse in Gowanus)

In January, facing a 400% rent increase for our DUMBO studio, Great Small Works joined forces with some of our most inspiring friends to form Building Stories LLC. We work side-by-side and together in a post-industrial canal-side Gowanus wonderland, and it’s due time we opened our doors to you. We would love for you to come and see what we’re cooking up!  

We’ll have a grill running, drinks and snacks, info on our work, and some trinkets made by our hands to acquire by donation.

Come explore the two levels of our new art-making home. Featuring the work and workspace of:

Great Small Works:
Milk Not Jails:
People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street:
Cale Layton
Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky and Milo leather works
Raphael Mishler:
Jason Hicks and Semi-Upright Puppet Company
Gretchen Hildebran:
Rachel Schragis:

The first level is fully accessible.
Just up 9th Street from the F/G Smith & 9th Street station.

Walking from the subway, turn left down a driveway just beyond the bridge. Walk all the way around to the far end of the back of the buildings. Limited parking at Building Stories; more parking across 9th Street in the Lowe's parking lot.

See you there!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mark Sussman talks about Royal Deluxe in Montreal

Friday, July 7, 2017

Trudi Cohen and John Bell honored by New England Foundation for the Arts



Unrestricted grants recognize excellence and accomplishment
(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2017 awardees of the Rebecca Blunk Fund: Christal Brown of Middlebury, VT, and John Bell and Trudi Cohen of Cambridge, MA. Each recipient will receive awards of $2,500 in unrestricted support to support the creation of new work and for professional development.
“We are honored to continue Rebecca’s legacy through these awards, which were established to recognize New England artists for their creative excellence and professional accomplishment,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “Our donors have contributed almost $63,000 to the Fund since it began; with their continued support, we have been able to provide this unrestricted creative support to New England artists.” 
Christal N. Brown, photo by Mike Colletta
Christal Brown is the founder of INSPIRIT, Project: BECOMING, the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance, and the Chair of Dance at Middlebury College.  Brown has danced since she was released from the confines of piano lessons at age 9.  Her path has been influenced by trailblazers such as Chuck Davis, Bill T. Jones, Andrea E. Woods, Liz Lerman, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.  Brown combines her athleticism, creativity, love for people, and passion for teaching to create works that redefine the art of dance and the structure of the field. 
While developing INSPIRIT, Brown completed her MFA in New Media Art and Technology at Long Island University while simultaneously joining the faculty of Middlebury College in 2008. At Middlebury, Brown currently chairs the Dance Program and serves as the Faculty Director of MiddCORE. Her dance career continues to thrive: preforming with Bebe Miller Company, touring her evening length work, The Opulence of Integrity, an especially timely and important piece. Upcoming performances of that work and more include:
  • July 8, 2017: The Opulence of Integrity, Bates Dance Festival Young Dancers Workshop, Lewiston, ME
  • September 7, 2017: Christal Brown performing As of Now, DANCE NOW FESTIVAL, Joes Pub, NYC
  • November 30, 2017: The Opulence of Integrity, Johnson State College Johnson, VT
Learn more about her work on her CreativeGround profile and her website.
Trudi Cohen and John Bell, photo by Greg Cook
Trudi Cohen and John Bell, photo by Greg Cook
Trudi Cohen and John Bell are theater makers, puppeteers, festival organizers, musicians, and founding members of Great Small Works, a visual theater collective created in 1995 in New York City, whose six members share roots in Bread and Puppet Theater. Though its members are now dispersed, with outposts in Brooklyn, Montreal, and Cambridge, MA, Bell and Cohen anchor the New England base in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
With Great Small Works, they draw on folk, puppet, avant-garde and popular theater traditions to address contemporary issues. "We value the beauty and potency of puppet theater, the urgency of speaking out about the news of the day, the power of creating theater with diverse groups of citizens and of bringing art to public spaces."  They have helped introduce Toy Theater to audiences and artists around the country, believing that everyone has a story to tell. They are founders of the HONK! Festival of activist street bands, which has taken place annually in Somerville, MA, since 2006, and which has spread to communities around the world. They both play in the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band.
John Bell is Director of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, the only school in the U.S. to offer a Master’s degree in puppetry.  Trudi Cohen serves as Secretary of the Board of UNIMA-USA (Union Internationale de la Marionette).
Upcoming events include a Toy Theater workshop at the bi-annual Puppeteers of America festival in St. Paul, MN, July 18-22; the annual HONK! Festival in Somerville and Cambridge, MA, October 6-8, and touring of a new Great Small Works production, Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls, a bi-lingual Yiddish-English puppet show based on the lives and work of 1920's puppeteer/satirists Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, in the coming year. 
Learn more about their projects on their CreativeGround profile and their website.
About the Rebecca Blunk Fund
The Rebecca Blunk Fund at the New England Foundation for the Arts was established in memory of Rebecca Blunk (1953-2014), celebrating her 29 years of service to NEFA and her abiding passion for the arts. Honoring Rebecca’s desire that the fund support artistic creation, connection, and curation, the Fund awards two annual grants of $2,500 each to New England artists whose work demonstrates creative excellence and professional accomplishment. Awards are in the form of unrestricted funds intended to support artists’ professional development and creation of new work. NEFA welcomes donations to the fund on an ongoing basis; as with all donations to NEFA, donations to the Rebecca Blunk Fund are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Acknowledging Rebecca Blunk’s long service and expertise as part of the NEFA staff, artist nomination is made by NEFA program staff with comments by external advisors. 
About Rebecca Blunk
Rebecca came to NEFA from the Nebraska Arts Council in 1985 as the director of performing arts and then served as deputy director for ten years before being named executive director in 2004. Under her leadership, the organization brought important resources to New England, strengthening its capacity to connect artists and communities through regional, national, and international programs.
A tireless champion of the arts – from public art, the visual arts, music, dance, theater, and puppetry – Rebecca’s unwavering presence was felt across the arts and culture landscape, through her work in performing arts creation and touring, the creative economy, Native American arts, and cultural exchange on an international scale. Throughout her career, she derived deep personal reward from the artists and administrators with whom she worked.
About New England Foundation for the Arts
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in the arts to enrich communities in New England and beyond. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

East River Iftar and Spaghetti Garden Party

East River Iftar and Spaghetti Garden Party

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 7:30PM
St. Ann's Warehouse
45 Water Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn
Admission: $15 sliding scale
No advance ticket sales.
Info:  917-319-8104

Outdoor performances at 7:30
Dinner after sunset at 8:30
Indoor performances at 8:45

In the Garden--Puppets and Poets
Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky
Erin Orr and Lake Simons
Kathleen Kennedy Tobin
Jason Hicks and Lily Paulina
Rachael Shane and friends

Miriam Bazeed
Ramadan-inspired poets grove with Sauli-Si, Eman A. and Hala

In the Warehouse--Music and Shadows
Karagöz Everywhere: "It's a Shadow Play: A Tradition of Ramadan"
Performed by Hayali Ibrahim Yazici, with introduction by Aysen Darcan, PhD

Original music by Emma Alabaster, Seradin Veonne, Hannah Temple, Theo Baer, Leo Ferguson (and Ora Batashvili in abstentia)

The new Veveritse
Balkan brass band:
Dr. Eva Boodman, Joe Correia, Sarah Ferhold, Jason Hicks, Quince Marcum, Lily Paulina, Nicholas Mauro, Chris Schroth (and Matt Moran and Luke Schneiders in absentia)

Heartfelt thanks to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the HBH Fund for their support.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spaghetti Dinner at Flushing Town Hall

Happy Collision:  Queens and Dreams

Friday, April 14, 2017, 7:30 PM
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY
$16/$10 students and members

Overhead projector shadows for dark times by CHINESE THEATRE WORKS
"Song from a Nomad Flute," excerpt from new work with original music by PHYLLIS CHEN and shadow landscapes by STEPHEN KAPLIN


Storytelling and Performance by
 Jackson Heights' own Cecilia Gentili 
beloved mentor and Translatina Network advocate for trans rights in New York City

 "The Holey Land" 
crankie (paper scroll picture performance) by VALESKA POPULOH with CHARLES GRAHAM, created as part of the Campaign for Fair Development in Baltimore. The tale of a community and the land they call home. 


Duet by composer/vocalist JUDITH BERKSON and choreographer/dancer ABIGAIL LEVINE.

A historically amazing and relevant Happening from SOMETHING POSITIVE PERFORMING ARTS COMPANYOld Carnival Mas specialists and preservers of the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and its cross-cultural influences.


Aftselokhis Spectacle Committee  "6 positions for engagement with the autocrat"  

Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinners are supported in part by a grant from the Puppet Slam Network, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

World Day of Puppetry Benefit for UNIMA-USA at Teatro SEA

Presented by Teatro SEA with Great Small Works and Chinese Theatre Works

March 21, 2017
Teatro SEA @ The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street, New York, NY
Admission:  $10.00
Information:  212-529-1545

6:30 PM doors open
7:00 PM celebrity puppet red carpet with live music
7:30 PM food and cash bar
8:00 PM welcome remarks and reading of Nancy Staub's World Day of Puppetry statement
8:30 PM puppet cabaret! Featuring:
     Chinese Theatre Works -- Hao Bang-ah! Rooster, handpuppet excerpts, with Stephen Kaplin, Kuang-Yu Fong and Harrison Greene.
     Great Small Works -- Ode to Common Things, a paper movie based on Pablo Neruda's poem, by Trudi Cohen and John Bell
     Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater, excerpts from Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather Wisdom, with Deborah Beshaw, Michelle Beshaw,, Vit Horejs and Ben Watts
     Gregory Corbino -- Spectacular Superlativesa banner show
     Teatro SEA -- Excerpts from The True Story of Little Red
10:00 PM  Fiesta!!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

JEWS WITH THORNS: A Purimshpil and Masquerade Ball

The Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, in cahoots with Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, excitedly bring you "JEWS WITH THORNS: A Purimshpiel & Masquerade Ball"

Saturday, March 4th, DOORS at 7:45, SHOW at 8:30

East Midwood Jewish Center
1625 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11230

>>> LA DAMA :
...& MORE TBA! 

>>> AKYNOS :

EVERYTHING IS KOOKOO BANANAS! The king has stolen Purim… Every day is like night and up is down and facts are fiction. The world is drunk and can’t tell the difference between good and evil. In this moment the Aftselakhis Spectacle committee takes a tiger’s leap into the present with JEWS WITH THORNS, this year's swirlon their annual Purim Shpil and Masquerade ball based on the traditional book of Esther.

From practical matters, Aftselakhis has shaped our carnival imaginings: resistance to fascism and authoritarianism, abolition and community autonomy, and the cultures of performance connected to and between Muslim and Jewish worlds.

We seek inspiration in the writings of current and ancestral Jewish sages like Masha Gessen, Irena Klepfiscz and Walter Benjamin. And harvest beautiful and protective wisdom from the venerable ghazal poet Hafez andjustice leaders of today: Red Power Activist Madonna Thunder Hawk, Crip Hop Nations Leroy Moore, human rights and sex worker organizer Akynos “The Beast of Burlesque,” and Dilar Dirik, a Kurdish activist and scholar who writes about Rojava and other small keys that unlock enormous doors.

Our message is plain, though our shpil is ornate: You are invited to march forth! Restore the balance of society through the ancient Purim rite of dressing up! And spread the word: the things we really love are an alchemical resource for conjuring strength.


THURSDAY, March 2nd, 8:00PM
THURSDAY PERFORMANCE: Just the Purimshpiel, 
a calmer experience where one can sit and hear all the words and still revel in the beauty, complexity and confusion. 

Special musical guest: GEOFF BERNER

SUNDAY, March 5h
Purim for the whole family!

Dear kids, youth, parents, stewards of the resistance, lovers of delirious fun, dreamers of new worlds, and everyone else!

Purim is coming, and we invite you to a sumptuous, topsy turvy, social justice-themed, Purim carnival. Featuring a direct action parade, exquisite hand-built carnival games, Jewish music from around the world, a sock puppet Purimshpiel, food, and other delights.

12pm-1:30pm: Carnival games
12:30pm: Workmen's Circle Shule Puppetshow
1:30pm: Jews With Thorns Shpil presented by The Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee
2:30pm: Children's Purim Parade for Immigrants Rights:

Sunday, March 5th 12-3pm
East Midwood Jewish Center
(1625 Ocean Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11230)
$5-$15 sliding scale.

No one turned away for lack of cash or costume.

Hamentaschen and water included in admission! Additional food will be available for purchase.
EMJC is a kosher space and any outside food must be kosher.

This year's festivities are sponsored by Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) with support from The Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee (TASC), the Workmen’s Circle, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives! More sponsors pending!