Public invited to puppetry festival

The 14th annual puppetry festival will kick off Feb. 1 at Washington Montessori School in Washington.

Performances will be held Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the 240 Litchfield Turnpike Road (Route 202) school.

The festival is presented by Broome Street Hospitality, National Iron Bank, Sawing High Climbers and Stars Hollow Yarns.

“The puppetry festival is a fun tradition here at WMS,” said Jill Skilton, director of communications at the school.

“The shows are a nice way for parents to spend time with their active children on those cold, winter mornings,” she said.

Each show is about an hour long and includes a meet-and-greet session with the puppets and performers.

After each performance, children and their parents are invited to play in the WMS gymnasium.

The festival will begin Feb. 1 with a performance of “Sleeping Beauty” by Tanglewood Marionettes.

“We are excited to kick off this year’s puppetry festival with Tanglewood Marionettes,” said Skilton. “They have been fan favorites for years.”

The story begins in King Felix’s great hall with the celebration of Princess Aurora’s birth.

The party goes awry when the wicked witch arrives and curses Princess Aurora.

In this retelling, a painted story book opens to reveal each scene.

Jim Napolitano will present his original show, “Shadows Around the World,” which explores the history of shadow puppetry and its development throughout the world, Feb. 8.

The festival will continue Feb. 15 for a performance of “A Woodland Cinderella” by award-winning puppeteer Deborah Costine

In a new version of the classic story, Cinderella is a fairy who lives with her stepmother and stepsister in an enormous old tree in the forest.

The king of all woodland fairies wants his son to marry a fairy princess, but none can be found, so the king hosts a great ball and commands that every single fairy maiden in the land must attend.

The final show of the season will be held Feb. 22 when Charlotte Dore of Rosalita’s Puppets presents an original show, “Mary Puppets.”

The show is a modern take on the adventures of Mary, a British nanny with a carpet bag full of tricks, and her chimney-sweep friend named Burt.

“Charlotte’s performances are always super fun and entertaining,” said Skilton. “She really connects with the audience and draws the children into being part of the performance. Children just love her.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $8 or at Children under 2 will be admitted for free.