Thing Theatre Workshop

Saturday, June 26, 10:30am – 12:30pm, Maryland Art Place (MAP), free, Register

Puppetry artist Colette Searls (UMBC Theatre) and designer Kelley Bell (UMBC Visual Arts) will guide participants in this in-person workshop to make “disposable puppets,” bring them to life, and build them a tiny modular home! Open to artists and non-artists alike. This workshop is supported by the Maryland State Arts Council through a Maryland Traditions Folklife Network Grant.

Please note: This workshop is designed for adults but older youth are welcome if accompanied by an adult participant.

Colette Searls is Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she teaches acting, directing, and puppetry, and has devised award-winning object theatre performances. She has received grants from the Jim Henson Foundation and Puppeteers of America for her original works in object theatre, and published and lectured internationally on the intersections between animation, puppetry, and special effects for film. In collaboration with animator Lynn Tomlinson and UMBC’s Imaging Research Center, she has created an award-winning digital puppet app which has been used in her live performances and presented at conferences internationally. Her book, A Galaxy of Things: the Power of Masks and Puppets in Star Wars and Beyond is forthcoming with Routledge Press in 2022.

Kelley Bell is a graphic designer, projection artist and Associate Professor of Art at UMBC. Her animated work appeared in and literally on Baltimore City in two series of public guerilla-style projections: White Light, Black Birds and Rise and Fall of the Land of Pleasant Living. These projects compared the benefits and downsides of urban development through imagery and animations projected on specific sites facing transformation (or destruction) due to economic and cultural factors. Kelley’s animations have been screened locally and as far away as Berlin, Germany. Screenings include the American Visionary Arts Museum, the Annapolis Film Festival, The Transmodern Arts Festival, and the University of Maryland College Park. She was a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2004, and a semifinalist for the Sondheim Art Prize in 2010. Kelley holds an MFA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Imaging and Digital Arts, and a BFA in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute.