Secrets of an ancient art form

Bart Roccoberton, Jr: Director of UConn’s Puppet Arts Program and Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts

If your concept of puppetry is influenced by traditional Punch and Judy puppet shows that began in 16th century Italy, you’ll be amazed at how much the art of puppetry has evolved through the years. Roccoberton will explain the diversity of skill sets taught in UConn’s Puppet Arts program, where each class, whether it is Performance, Design, Fabrication, or History, integrates theory and history, the conception of an idea, scenario/script development, storyboard creation, design, fabrication, direction, performance, and critique.

A graduate of UConn’s M.F.A. in Puppet Arts, Roccoberton studied under Professor Frank Ballard, the namesake of UConn’s Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. After Ballard retired, he continued his mentor’s legacy. UConn’s Puppetry alumni continue to enjoy success, working on Broadway shows, including “The Lion King,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Avenue Q,” on movies, including “Spiderman 2,” and on PBS’s “Between the Lions” and “Sesame Street.” In fact, puppeteer Jim Henson, best known as creator of the Muppets, was a big supporter of Roccoberton’s work in UConn’s Puppet Arts Program.

A fascinating look at UConn’s Puppetry Arts program (video)