Vermont Performance Lab Residency to Benefit Local Food Bank

on .

Tabletop puppetry project brings focus to hunger and food scarcity issues

Guilford, VT (July 19, 2011) —  Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is delighted to welcome Los Angeles-based performance artist Dan Froot and New York-based puppet artist Dan Hurlin to their Guilford studio to develop “Who’s Hungry - Santa Monica” – the newest in an ongoing series of puppet plays based on the life stories of hungry and homeless people in Los Angeles. All proceeds from the local performance will benefit the Guilford Food Pantry.

For “Who’s Hungry - Santa Monica,” Froot has adapted stories collected from homeless people of Santa Monica, CA to create a series of puppet plays. Froot and Hurlin will be joined in Vermont by composer/musician Amy Denio and four puppeteers for a two-week intensive workshop period to rehearse the plays, construct the puppet theaters, record the musical score and share the work as it is in progress with local audiences.  The artists will be working at the recording studios of Guilford Sound and the hall of the Broad Brook Grange where they will perform “Who’s Hungry -  Santa Monica” on a 24-foot long dining table for audiences of 30 to 35 people.

Sara Coffey, the Director of VPL, says she selected these nationally renowned artists for the Lab because their work provides an important commentary on hunger and food scarcity – issues that are plaguing communities nation-wide and are relevant to urban and rural communities alike.

VPL will host two open studios on July 21 and 25 and an informal work-in-progress showing on July 28 at the Broad Brook Grange in Guilford.  The project seeks to foster cross-class dialogue on the complexities of food insecurity in America and will raise awareness of these issues in the local community.

Visitors and audiences will be asked to make a suggested donation of $5 or two non-perishable food items (no homemade goods please - paper towels, toothpaste, toilet paper and other household necessities also welcome).  All donations will go directly to Guilford Cares to support the Guilford Food Pantry.

Special note to families: Although this performance employs puppetry, the plays address complex social issues and are not intended for children under the age of 12.


WHAT: Open Studio + Work-in-Progress Showing of “Who’s Hungry - Santa Monica”
Writer/Director/Choreographer/Performer Dan Froot invites visitors into the studio to show and talk about his collaboration with theater/puppet artist Dan Hurlin and composer/musician Amy Denio.  Seating is limited for the work-in-progress showing, so reservations are strongly recommended.

WHEN: Open Studio: Thursday, July 21, 7PM and Monday July 25, 2PM
Work-in-Progress: Thursday, July 28, 7PM
WHERE: Broad Brook Grange, 3490 Guilford Center Road, Guilford VT
TICKETS: $5 suggested donation or two non-perishable food items
RESERVATIONS AND INFORMATION: Vermont Performance Lab Event Line: 802-257-3361

Visit the Who’s Hungry blog and follow the progress!

“Who’s Hungry - Santa Monica” was commissioned in part by Vermont Performance Lab and was developed in part during a creative residency at Vermont Performance Lab. The project is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Program, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, UCLA Center for Community Partnership, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Southwest Oral History Association, The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; and by a Performance Practice and Research grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.  The scores are commissioned through Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund.

Dan Froot is an award-winning performance artist, producer, playwright, and artistic director.  He received a New York Dance & Performance Award (a.k.a. BESSIE) for the creation of his music/theater work Seventeen Kilos of Garlic, and a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship for the creation of his gangster-vaudeville, Shlammer. Dan's theater pieces and performance events have been presented by leading art centers across the U.S., and in Europe, Africa and South America. He has taught workshops around the country, has created an ongoing series of collaborative interdisciplinary duets with choreographer David Dorfman, and has danced, acted and played music internationally with Victoria Marks, Ralph Lemon, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks, Mabou Mines, David Cale, Ping Chong & Co., and Dan Hurlin. Currently Dan teaches at UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures. Dan’s work has received major support from MAP Fund, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, UCLA Center for Community Partnerships, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The City of West Hollywood, AEPOCH Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Meet The Composer, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, The Durfee Foundation, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Vermont Community Arts Foundation, The New England Foundation for the Arts, The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and Reader's Digest.

Dan Hurlin is a celebrated puppet theater artist and currently teaches Hurlin received a 1990 Village Voice OBIE award for his solo adaptation of Nathanael West’s A Cool Million and his suite of puppet pieces Everyday Uses for Sight: Nos. 3 & 7 (2000) earned him a 2001 New York Dance and Performance award (a.k.a. BESSIE). His 1992 solo Quintland earned sculptor Donna Dennis a BESSIE for visual design, and in 1998, he was nominated for an American Theater Wing Design award for his set design for his music theater piece The Shoulder. Hiroshima Maiden (2004), with an OBIE award winning score by Robert Een, was awarded a Union Internationale de la Marionette Citation of Excellence. His most recent piece, Disfarmer (2009) is currently touring internationally. Earlier performance works include NO(thing so powerful as)TRUTH (1995); Constance and Ferdinand (1991) (with Victoria Marks); The Jazz Section (1989) (with Dan Froot); and his toy theater piece The Day the Ketchup Turned Blue (1997) from the short story by John C. Russell which still tours regularly. He has performed with Ping Chong, Janie Geiser, and Jeffrey M. Jones, and directed premieres of works by Lisa Kron, Holly Hughes, Dan Froot and John C. Russell among others. Dan has served on the faculties of Bowdoin, Bennington, Barnard Colleges, Princeton University and currently teaches both dance and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College. He has received artist fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Hampshire State Council on the arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Creative Capital and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Dan is the recipient of the 2004 Alpert Award in the Arts for theater, and the 2009 United States Artists Fellowship.

Amy Denio is a composer and multi-instrumentalist. She is a founding member of Tone Dogs, Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, Danubians, The Entropics, La Movida, Naked Slime Duo, Petunia, and Quintetto alla Busara and has collaborated with artists including Die Resonanz Stanonczi (Austria), The Science Group, Curlew, George Cartwright, and Kultur Schock (Bosnia). She has recorded over 40 CDs, and appears on several dozen audio compilations worldwide. She has played countless concerts and festivals around the world. Denio has been commissioned by Italian National Radio, the Berkeley Symphony, the New York Festival of Song, Relache Ensemble, Die Knodel (Austria); choreographers Pat Graney, Victoria Marks, Aiko Kinoshita, Li Chiao-Ping, Cheronne Wong and Carla Barragan; multi-media performance group Run/Remain Ensemble, UMO Ensemble; choreographer actor/clown Lorenzo Pickle; and filmmakers Thomas Edward and Jamie Hook. She received a Bessie Award (NYC) in 1997 for her soundtrack to Sky Down for David Dorman Dance. Though mainly self-taught, Denio was sponsored by Jazz India to study voice in Bombay in 1997 with Dhanashree Pandit Rai. She has taught workshops on improvisation and composition throughout Europe and the US. She was a Rosencranz Artist In Residence at Mills College, Oakland, CA (April 2001), a Fellow at Civitella Ranieri (July/August 2004), and received the Artist Trust Paul Good Fellowship in Ireland (2008).

Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) supports the making of contemporary works in the performing arts and fosters exchange between artists and Vermont communities through its nationally recognized Lab Program. Each year VPL selects three to four artists to participate in the Lab Program – a creative residency where artists have access to various kinds of creative space in a small rural Vermont community. In this retreat-like setting, artists can concentrate on research and experimentation and test performance ideas with small audiences. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities. Connect with Vermont Performance Lab on Facebook and Twitter.