Shadow puppetry performance coming to the Ent Center

Allison Speir

aspeir@uccs.edu 

When you arrive at the performance of “The Mitten,” don’t expect to find yourself in the plush seats of the Ent Center. Instead, prepare for an exciting out-of-theater experience.   

     “The Mitten” is unlike any previous Theatreworks performance — it will take place entirely outdoors. The COVID-19-safe shadow puppetry show, with music by UCCS professor Sean Hennessy, will take place around the exterior of the Ent Center, and the story will be told in five scenes. Groups of twelve guests will move around the Ent Center to watch each part of the performance.  

  Showtimes will be every fifteen minutes on Feb. 19, 20, 26 and 27 between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., so each group of twelve will be at a different location around the building by the time the next group of twelve starts viewing the show.  

Promotional photo for The Mitten.
Photo courtesy of Entcenterforthearts.org.

     Theatreworks Director Caitlin Lowans explains that the inspiration for “The Mitten” came from a performance called “Legends of Sleepy Hollow” that was presented by Julie Parker and Katy Williams last October in Englewood, Colorado.  

     “Legends of Sleepy Hollow” was also a unique shadow puppetry show performed outdoors for COVID-19 safety. Now, Parker and Williams are two of the lead artists working on “The Mitten.”  

  According to Lowans, who wrote the play, Theatreworks was “looking for a script that all ages could appreciate and we found ‘The Mitten,’ which is a Ukranian folktale that has a few children’s books adapted from it.”  

     The basic plot is that a child loses their mittens that their grandmother knitted for them and all kinds of woodland creatures discover the mittens before they ultimately make their way back to the child.   

     Lowans feels strongly that UCCS students should attend “The Mitten.”   

     “Many students are in a place where they aren’t able to access some of the joy that they would normally feel being at a university because of [COVID-19]. This is a way of getting some of that joy back.”   

     Katy Williams who is sharing the role of Puppet Director, Puppet Designer, and producer with Julie Parker explains that “Puppetry is truly a magical art form that at its core is all about life. Breathing life into things that are not living. Finding ways to get audiences to empathize with a piece of paper and a flashlight… students need to check us out to see this puppet magic, to see how a beautiful space like the ENT Center can be activated, and to see how theatre and art can persevere through pandemic and still provide joy.” 

  The best part: tickets to “The Mitten” and all Theatreworks performances are completely free for UCCS students on the Ent Center website. For non-UCCS students, tickets are $7 for children and $10 for adults.   

     While there is no deadline to get tickets, it is encouraged to reserve them as soon as possible because only a limited number of people will be able to attend.