Monday, December 5, 2022

Year-End Spaghetti Dinner -- in January


Tuesday, January 3, 2023, 7:30PM

Judson Memorial Church

Entrance at 243 Thompson Street, NYC

This year we present a benefit jamboree to support our collective, Great Small Works! Attend masked on-site at Judson Church, or from your home live-streamed.

No spaghetti will be served. A NOODLE GROTTO will honor the spaghetti we are not able to offer. And artistic drinks for sale (with straws).

Original Great Small Works pageantry and a rousing game of puppeteer ancestor BINGO, with prizes!

**MUSIC by Frank London and friends**
Trumpets - Frank London and Stevie Bernstein
Percussion - Onel Matos
Saxophone - Jessica Lurie
Tuba - Ron Caswell
Drums - Aaron Alexander

And, to honor the ancestors --
   *Pura Belpré: Perez and Martina, by Teatro SEA
   *Bernice Silver: Schnitzelbank, created by Great Small Works and performed by Boxcutter Collective
   *Lenon Holder Hoyte: Excerpts from The Harlem Doll Palace by ALVA Puppet Theater
   *Naftule Brandwein: N*A*F*T*U*L*E, a cranky created by Tine Kindermann, Josh Kohn and Michael Winograd. Performed by Shane Baker, Ira Temple, Tine Kindermann and Michael Winograd.
Chinese Theater Works with New Year Celestial Rabbit Review
Suggested donation $20, sliding scale.
Buy tickets now to attend on site or online!
Invite a friend!
Make a donation!
Join us on January 3rd!
Help Great Small Works to continue creating puppets, flipping banners and turning cranks, beating drums and blowing horns, writing, teaching, performing, organizing, and dancing in the streets!

Info: 917-319-8104
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Great Small Works also thanks the Puppet Slam Network, NY State Council on the Arts, Scherman Foundation, Mental Insight Foundation, and the Doctorow Family Foundation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


Great Small Works and Fihi Ma Fihi
present their 5th “Spaghetti Ramadan”

Friday, April 29, 2022, 7:30 PM
La Plaza Cultural Community Garden
9th Street between Aves B and C

Suggested donation: $20 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
**Support Spaghetti Ramadan 2022**

Mention whether you were referred by a promoter, artist, or a friend and specify if you are purchasing tickets or donating to sponsor the event!

Tickets also available at the door

Mitra Khorsandi
West African:
Salieu Suso with Jalikunda Music Ensemble
Elsa Saade
The Americas:
Hip Hop, Headliner: Legendary Cyphers
Hip Hop/Fusion: Sounds of the Unseen (Fihi Ma Fihi)
Puppetry/Solidarity: Great Small Works

Bringing our communities together to break bread for Ramadan in classic communal fashion --
Let’s join together outdoors in a beautiful community garden and enjoy artistic jewels from the Muslim world - Arabic, Iranian, West African, Hip Hop/Fusion -- together with Afro-Indigenous, Jewish and Christian spiritual/musical kinship.
This year's Spaghetti Ramadan is the 5th iteration of Great Small Works' and Fihi Ma Fihi's celebration of the Islamic holiday, and the first in real space since 2018. Iftar is the meal that Muslims eat after sunset during Ramadan to break the day's fast. It is one of the ceremonial observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together.
For more info: 917-319-8104

Thanks for support from:
The Puppet Slam Network, the Doctorow Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, NYSCA, and DCA's @materialsforthearts.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner at the International Puppet Fringe Festival


Friday, August 13, 2020
8:00 PM

LIVE and FREE for a limited audience!
Live-streamed online for everyone else!

Due to pandemic restrictions, there will NOT be spaghetti.
Live performance will be presented OUTDOORS.


Excerpts from Three-Scale Zhongkui!

Excerpts from The History of Laughter

Songs from Harlem River Drive

Valerie and Benedict Turner

For free tickets:
For online viewing:

Facebook event:

Hosted by your friends at Great Small Works:
John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi, Mark Sussman


Piedmont Bluz
Valerie and Benedict Turner
        Piedmont Bluz is an acoustic, husband/wife duo, ambassadors of Country Blues music and the Piedmont style of finger-picking. Their mission is to help preserve these rural, east coast traditions by educating audiences about this unique aspect of African American culture through musical entertainment.

Boxcutter Collective / Bread and Puppet Theater
        Excerpts from The History of Laughter, a collaboration between Peter Schumann of the Bread and Puppet Theater and Boxcutter Collective (including Lindsay McCaw), initially created during a 3-week residency in spring of 2021. The History of Laughter looks at the role of fear in our society, and how the transcendent power of fools can subvert the crumbling empire and empower the masses to create something new instead. With appearances by Mikhail Bakhtin, Gargantua, the Suffering Valley, Santa Claus, and Satan!
        Boxcutter Collective is comprised of four core members: Sam Wilson, Jason Hicks, Tom Cunningham and Joe Therrien, with an extended family of puppeteers, painters, performers, builders, educators, workers, union organizers, and mischief makers who have been working together in various forms for the last 15 years. You can find them creating and performing original High-Art, Low-Concept political puppet shows in New York City regularly, appearing at The Jalopy Theater and Coney Island USA and beyond! They are currently working on a commission from Handmade Puppet Dreams to create a short film.

Bruce Cannon
        Songs from Harlem River Drive, which celebrates the history and diversity of one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world. Harlem.
        Bruce Cannon is Artistic Director for the Swedish Cottage of Marionette Theater and the President of the Puppetry Guild of Greater New York.

Chinese Theatre Works
        Excerpts from 3-Scale Zhongkui!  -- The Chinese Judge of Hell brings Justice to the Lower East Side. 
        Yuling Fang as Chinese Opera Zhongkui
        Jing Shan as Hand Puppet Zhongkui
        Stephen Kaplin and Harrison Greene as Giant Puppet Zhongkui
        Chinese Theatre Works, co-directed by Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin, brings together Chinese and Western performance styles and techniques. Its programs cut across ethnic and cultural boundaries and aim at sparking interest in Chinese cultural traditions among the wider public, as well as in Chinese Americans who have not had access to this part of their heritage.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Roberto Rossi Offers Toy Theater Workshop(s)

Roberto will conduct sessions throughout the summer through the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.

Session 1: Monday, July 12 - Sunday, July 18, 2021 

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
7:00 - 9:00 PM Central Time

Toy Theater 1 (Level 1) introduction to the form, the basic skills concluding with a showing.  Make your first toy theater stage using recyclable materials.  Learn conceptual and design approaches in building an original work. Build basic jointed 2D puppets and moveable set pieces and discover the unique theatrical language of the Toy Theater. 

Sign up here:

Session 2: Monday, July 26 - Sunday, August 1, 2021

Toy Theater 2 (Level 2)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
7:00 - 9:00 PM Central Time

Sign up here:

Session 3: Monday, August 9 - Sunday, August 15, 2021

Toy Theater 2 (Level 2)

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
7:00 - 9:00 PM Central Time
Sign up here:

Friday, May 28, 2021

We Remember: A Community Covid Memorial

 lease join us on June 8th, 2021 at 6pm for “We Remember: A Community Covid Memorial” Dedication and Activation at Green-Wood Cemetery (5th Ave & 25th Street Entrance, Brooklyn, NY). Twenty NYC community groups are coming together to create a memorial honoring those lost to Covid-19. Join us on June 8 as we honor our dead through music and dance, create a shared space for reflection, and complete the memorial, which will remain up for the month of June.

Featuring performance and offerings by:

La Troupe Makandal,
Aeilushi Mistry
Winston "Jeggae" Hoppie,
Mazarte & the Villalobos Brothers, 
Judith Berkson, 
Monica Hope & Kelvyn Bell,
and Brooklyn Roots Lullaby Project.
FB event for dedication

With Gratitude,
Jenny from Great Small Works / Naming The Lost Memorials
naming the lost

Naming the Lost Memorials  is a small team of volunteer artists, activists, and folklorists who have lost loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers to Covid-19. In response to the ever-accumulating numbers of deceased, we have been creating memorial sites in New York City to name and remember victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our work began in May 2020. Now we’ve passed the first anniversary since the first Covid deaths occurred in the United States and the pandemic continues to take lives daily. We know that grieving and mourning are far from finished, even as vaccination brings hope. Our intention is to continue the necessary process of mournfully and respectfully naming those lost to COVID. The virus continues to claim lives and we are continuing the work of creating memorial sites to name and honor the lost.  
Visit our website for helpful instructions and other examples of memorials that we and others have made:

List of Community Partners Contributing to the Memorial--  
Hebrew Tabernacle 
Fort Tryon Jewish Center
Flushing Town Hall
Inside Change Arts: Bowery Resident Street Artists & The 5th Grade Formulators of the Bedford Village School 
Building Stories
Bronx Documentary Center
Mazarte Dance Company Inc.
Brooklyn Roots
Guyana Cultural Association of New York
Bangladesh Institute of Performing Arts (BIPA)
Makandal: Bridging the Past and the Future of Traditional Haitian Arts  Teachers and Writers Collaborative
Academy of Medical and Public Health Services
The Center For Family Life
Collective Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders
Worker Justice Project
Caring Majority      

namingthelost 2

Co-Produced/ Funded by Green-wood Foundation, Great Small Works, City Lore, Circus Amok, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts Folk Arts Program, CATCH (Center for Art, Tradition, and Cultural Heritage)

Monday, July 13, 2020

We support the movement for Black lives

Great Small Works is fully in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and  honored to bring all of our creative and communal power to the struggle for justice, safety and well being for all Black people.  We are grateful for the brilliant multi-generational leadership of Black organizers, and look forward to following their lead in the work of transforming our world.  We commit to deepening our  abolitionist study, to sitting with discomfort, and to reckon with our collective past.  A task, In the words of Professor Angela Davis, that should have happened 150 years ago.  We will try many things.  We will put our bodies on the line. We will join the fight against white supremacy from our homes, in all the ways we can.  We will continue to make art, and regalia for street protests.  We will donate to Black led organizations and continue to partner with colleagues in many different Black communities.  We will cite the layers of Black aesthetic and political wisdom that have always informed our work. We will maintain our open studio space, Building Stories, as a place where movement art and exploration of all kinds can happen.  We want BIPOC puppeteers and makers to specifically know the space is available to them.  Finally, we encourage all puppeteers to feel they can use their skills in this moment to be solid co-conspirators in building Black Liberation.  We know this liberation frees us all!   While we may not have huge financial reserves, we are wealthy in experience, success, and failure. We have methods and models to share with our community.  We will keep our website ( and other social media sites updated with materials that embody BLM values.  To The best of our ability, we will make ourselves available to communicate with folk who have questions or want support in building their own movement engagement.  

During the upcoming nights of  "Isolating Together: Online International Toy Theater Festival" Days 5 and 6, Great Small Works will invite ourselves, participating artists and the whole audience to support the creativity of BIPOC puppeteers donating all of our show proceeds to The Black Puppeteer Empowerment Grant & Creative Research Residency under the leadership of Program Mentor Brad Brewer through an initiative by Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline Ma.  We see the larger goal to be bringing more resources to the field of puppetry in general, and to removing obstacles to participation for BIPOC individuals,  and everyone marginalized by systemic exclusion.   As we work towards that goal we puppeteers can, in the words of Andrea J. Ritchie, Miriam Kaba and Woods Ervin, create a  "society based on mutual accountability, a passionate reciprocity and collective liberation. In the words of Grace Lee Boggs, "we are all part of the problem, so we are all part of the solution."
Going forward we will study the 'We See You White American Theater" statement and demands.  Though our theater work is on a smaller scale, we believe that the  materials our BIPOC peers have offered in this road map is invaluable to making necessary change happen in all realms of theater and performance.  

Online International Toy Theater Festival Day #5 and Day #6

We're back! Coming again to a personal screen near you!
Another two nights of Toy Theater wonders.
More colossal events of miniature proportions.

Thursday, July 16th, 7:30PM
Sunday, July 19th, 7:30PM
Presented by Great Small Works: John Bell, Trudi Cohen (Cambridge, MA), Jenny Romaine (New York, NY), Stephen Kaplin (Jackson Heights, NY), Roberto Rossi (Red Hook, NY) and Mark Sussman (Montreal, QC)


All proceeds from Days #5 and #6 of Isolating Together will go to The Black Puppeteer Empowerment Grant & Creative Research Residency under the leadership of Program Mentor Brad Brewer through an initiative by Puppet Showplace Theater Brookline, MA. Congratulations to the first grantee cohort!

With thanks to the Puppetslam Network, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Mental Insight Foundation for their generous support.