Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Toy Theater Performances in New England

John Bell and Trudi Cohen are teaming up with musicians Marji Gere and Dan Sedgwick to present two weekends of Toy Theater shows. Mayo Street Arts Portland, Maine https://www.tickettailor.com/events/mayostreetarts/898193? Saturday, June 17th, 7:30PM and Sunday, June 18th, 5:00PM: Bonus, Sunday, June 18th, 1-2:30PM. Toy Theater introduction workshop with John Bell and Trudi Cohen Puppet Showplace Theater Brookline, MA https://www.puppetshowplace.org/calendar/2023/06/24/we-love-trees John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Marji Gere, Dan Sedgwick and special guest Gregory Corbino Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th, 8:00PM: Saturday, June 24th and Sunday June 25th, 1:00PM:

Monday, March 27, 2023

Call for submissions -- Virtual Toy Theater Festival returns

Friends, Colleagues and Everyone Else:

We of Great Small Works are feeling the Toy Theater itch again. We loved our Isolating Together pandemic evenings, the extraordinary gems that were created, and the pleasure we felt as a creative community during frightening times. 

The times have changed, but we're hoping that the creative seeds are continuing to propagate and blossom. 

And so ... we are planning another ONLINE international Toy Theater Festival, to take place on May 27th and 28th. 

We are seeking 1- to 3-minute pieces. Whatever is on your mind these days. 
They can be sent to us as pre-recorded videos, or can be performed live online. 
It's possible that we will have more proposals than we can accommodate. But this is not a juried event, and we are not strict about Toy Theater rules. We do hope that you, as we, are inspired by the form's grand limitations -- flat, in a frame, small-scale, accessible. And that you will stick to the time request.

To see what we did in 2020, the programs are archived here, Virtual Toy Theater Festival Days #1-#6: https://www.facebook.com/GreatSmallWorks/videos 

We expect the majority of pieces to be pre-recorded. But if you are interested in performing live, please let me know. We will want to have a short rehearsal to practice the tech, and we also want to balance the live/taped ratio. 

Time Line --

    As soon as possible: Send message expressing interest to Trudi Cohen, trudico@gmail.com. 

    May 15: Deadline for commitment, with a title and credits for listing. 

    May 22:  Deadline for sending pre-recorded work.

    Week of May 22-26:  Rehearsals for live performers.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 23, 2023


Thursday, April 27, 7:30 PM

La Plaza Cultural Community Garden

9th Street at Avenue C, NYC

For the 6th time, Great Small Works teams up with Fihi Ma Fihi to present a Ramadan-themed Spaghetti Dinner, joining together outdoors in a beautiful community garden to enjoy artistic jewels from the Muslim world.
With spaghetti!

Suggested donation: $20 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Trio - Farah Bargawi, Mehrnam Rastagari, Eleonore Weill
Mitra Khorsandi
Yousef Tehran & Friends
Salieu Suso and Jalikunda Ensemble
Legendary Cyphers
Public Housing NYC
Sounds of the Unseen
Great Small Works: "Three Books in the Garden," a puppet-and-music spectacle with live music by Sofie Salonika (Katie Down, Jessica Lurie and special guest Basya Schechter)

CORONAVIRUS RISK REDUCTION: Please stay home if you are not feeling well - we will miss you and see you another time soon! Please put on your mask if you are going over to talk to somebody who is masked; we will have masks on site. There will be many seating options for dining, and social distancing will be possible.
Great Small Works programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional thanks to: Puppet Slam Network, Scherman Foundation, Doctorow Foundation, and Center for Traditional Music and Dance.

Naming the Lost Memorial Project Continues

Great Small Works has been involved as a creative partner for Naming the Lost Memorial Project since 2020, together with Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders and Green-Wood Cemetery, sponsored by City Lore. NTLM is a small team of artists, activists and folklorists which has been curating memorial sites in New York City to name and remember victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The memorials consist of tens of thousands of nameplates with personalized drawings and photos, created by the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

In March, the team conducted workshops across the 5 boroughs of the City for partner organizations. Over 25 groups got trained and supported in the creation of memorials. The work is a deep, multi-lingual processing of what happened during the lockdown period, as well as a call to express how pandemic losses (of many kinds) are affecting us now. Lead artists were introduced to visual ideas and methods (for working with the outdoor elements) and sent home with bags of materials to share and shape with their communities. 

Workshop Dates: 
- City Lore on the Lower East Side: Tuesday, March 14 
- Queens Public Library (Jamaica branch): Thursday, March 16 
- Brooklyn Central Library: Friday, March 17 
- Staten Island: location tbc, Saturday, March 18 
- Bronx Music Heritage Center: Sunday, March 19 
- Virtual workshop: Monday, March 27 on Zoom


City Lore's poetry-mobile, used for workshop transport



ADAR ADORNMENT: A Transformative Purim Costume-Making Party

The month of Adar mandates us to sweeten the dreary depths of winter by dressing up for Purim!

Please join Jews for Racial & Economic Justice for group costume making and masquerade crafting at Adar Adornment: A Transformative Purim Costume-Making Party! There will be free materials and crafting help! Costume Couture Consultations and Disorientation with Jenny Romaine and other stars, dancing, snacks, cocktails, hilarity, and community!

When: March 4th, 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Where: Building Stories (25 12th St, Brooklyn) and ONLINE!

How to get there: Take the F/G to Smith & 9th St. (or zoom in!)

A collage image featuring a photo of a woman dressed up as a myrtle tree, wearing a giant green clock, and speaking into a megaphone. Text around the photo  reads: Adar Adornment! A Transformative Purim Costume-Making Party! Text at the top-lefthand corner reads ''limited staggered entry.'' Text at the bottom reads ''March 4th, 4-11pm. Building Stories Studio. 6-8pm on Zoom.''


We will provide you with a bonanza of materials to 
implement your costume vision, or you can bring 
your own!

Shake your booty to our groovy tunes while you work. We'll 
prep our costumes, and shine out in our Purim excess to 
exalt each other with style -- and to offer the world a 
raucous invitation to laugh at power!

Kids and families are welcome! Alcohol will come 
out right after we mark Havdalah at 6:31 PM on 
the dot. Partake in our specially crafted Purim cocktail, 
or BYOB. Snacks will be provided (in a suave outdoor spot) 
and feel free to bring your own!

Please note: Covid is not over, despite what certain politicians 
have tried to tell us. Here are the specific precautions 
we are taking around Covid for the party:

  • Everyone attending the physical gathering must be up-to-date on Covid vaccination and boosters AND take a rapid test the day of the event.
  • Guests will remain masked at all times (drinks with straws under masks), and snacks can be eaten outside.
  • Two Corsi-Rosenthal box air filters will be running at all times.
  • We are limiting the number of people physically gathering on-site to 30 at a time, and we will be staggering entry times throughout the seven-hour event.
  • There will be an online option to zoom into the party and join the festivities from wherever you are!

The main goal of this Purim Costume-Making Party is to 

HAVE FUN; to get flirty, show off your Purim lewk, 

hang with your friends, and dance! Our creative power 

and joy are at the center of our organizing for justice 

and liberation. 


Let’s shake it up!

Jenny Romaine (she/her)

JFREJ member, director, designer, and puppeteer

Little Amal Visits Chinatown

 Jenny Romaine was a lead artist on the design/collaborative team which created "Embrace the Tangle" to welcome Little Amal during her visit to New York City on September 28, 2022. Her partners included Producer Alex Aron of The Remote Theater Project, designers Ant Ma, I-chen Wang and Hester Yujie Zheng, with technical support from Janet Clancy.

From the announcement of this project:

Little Amal is a giant puppet representing a Syrian refugee girl

who is visiting NYC this month. The Amal team wanted to include

Jewish and Chinese presences in her travels. Our crew of local

artists looked to iconic Lower East Side laundry lines to remember

what we have inherited and to be faithful to it, while flagging a

commitment to being deeply entwined with each other. In our leg

of the walk, Amal will be guided on Orchard Street by an

actor/educator portraying a Greek Jewish immigrant child who

will lead Amal to the Romaniote Kehila Kedosha Janina (the

Holy Community of Janina) Synagogue. On Eldridge Street Amal

will encounter a beautiful web of laundry lines hand printed in

Yiddish, Chinese, and English. We’ll then create a giant ballet

on Eldridge street with Amal, with lines of laundry, a polyphony

of words, and live music.

This public act of commingling (us in n-95 masks) is a street art vow: 

      To stay bound together through the tangle!

      To find unexpected forms of consequential coordination! 

      To create mutual complex webs of kinship that honor our 

separate ways of being! 


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.