Crankie Fest

Join us for the Third Annual Crankie Fest at Putney’s Sandglass Theater on December 3rd and 4th.


Celebrating the magic and diversity of “crankies”, an art form that accompanies songs and stories with illustrated scrolls that are hand-cranked within small wooden theaters, this year’s Crankie Fest brings together a vibrant collection of artists offering two different programs. Saturday’s shows at 5:00 and 8:00 pm will feature the work of Clare Dolan, Katherine Fahey, Brendan Taaffe, and Eric Bass & Ines Zeller Bass. Sunday’s 3:00 pm matinee is designed to be accessible to all ages and will feature the work of Valeska Populoh, Anna Patton, Katherine Fahey, Brendan Taaffe, and a crankie created by the 2015-16 6th grade class at Fort River Elementary School in Amherst, Mass.


More information on the artists:

Eric Bass has worked for thirty years as a director, playwright, performer, and mask and puppet maker. In 1982, he founded Sandglass Theater in Munich, Germany, with his wife, Ines Zeller Bass. As a director, Eric has worked in America, Australia, Poland, and Finland, as well as the United States. In 1991, he was awarded the Figurentheater Prize of the City of Erlangen, Germany for his contributions to the field of puppet theater. He directed The Story of the Dog, a collaborative piece between Sandglass Theater and Sovanna Phum Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which toured Cambodia in 2005 and premiered in the U.S. in the fall of 2006. He served for five years on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. In 2010, Eric received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Clare Dolan is a painter, director, and performer of cantastoria, toy theater, outdoor puppetry, and stilt dancing, while simultaneously living a secret double life as a nurse in her small Vermont town.  She’s a veteran of the Bread and Puppet Theater, co-curator of Banners and Cranks (an annual festival of cantastoria performance), and Founder/Chief Operating Philosopher of The Museum of Everyday Life.

Katherine Fahey is an award-winning paper cut artist who is renowned for the intricacy and meticulous craftsmanship of her work. Her crankies and shadow puppetry work have been featured in film festivals at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Atlanta Film festival. Most recently, she completed a long piece based on oral histories of the American Revolution that is being displayed at the American Revolution museum in Yorkstown, PA.

Anna Patton is one of New England’s leading dance musicians on clarinet, which she plays with great verve, clarity, and harmonic whim, drawing on a richly eclectic musical background of jazz, classical, traditional, and world music. Based in Brattleboro, VT, she performs full time for dances and concerts, composes and arranges music, and teaches ear training and swing harmony singing. Anna holds a Master’s in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory and performs with Elixir, The Figments, The Will Patton Ensemble, and the As Yet Quintet.

Valeska Populoh, originally from Germany and now resident in Baltimore, is a member of Black Cherry Puppet Theater and faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Valeska served on the organizing committee of the 2011 Transmodern Festival in Baltimore, has exhibited her work and performed at the International Toy Theater Festival in Brooklyn, NY, the National Puppetry Festival in Atlanta, the Transmodern Festival and Artscape in Baltimore.

Brendan Taaffe is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and visual artist who lives in Brattleboro. He performs and teaches throughout the US and Europe as a solo artist and with ensembles including The Waxwing Four, The New Line, and the Bright Wings Chorus.

Ines Zeller Bass has been performing with puppets since 1968, when she became a member of the Munich marionette theater, Kleines Speil. In 1978, she created her children’s hand puppet theater, Punschi, which has toured Europe and America. In 1982, Ines co-founded Sandglass Theater with husband Eric in Germany and moved the theater to Vermont in the mid-1980s. Ines is the Director of Sandglass Theater’s children’s programs, collaborates with Eric on all of the theater’s programming, works with local schoolchildren, and directs workshops and residencies for puppetry students. She is a UNIMA citation winner, and in 2010, received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Fort River Elementary School is a public K-6 school in Amherst, Massachusetts. Under the guidance of their art teacher, Nicole Singer, the students created an original crankie in 2016,  using a variety of fabrics, dyes, and glues to illustrate a song. They then presented their work to the younger students at last year’s chorus concert, in which the chorus sang the song while the artists turned the crankie. These artists are now in seventh grade and are delighted to reunite to present their work at Sandglass.

Sandglass Theater is located at 17 Kimball Hill in Putney, Vermont.

Show times are Saturday December 3rd at 5 & 8 PM and Sunday December 4th at 3 PM.  Tickets are $13 for students and seniors and $16 general admission.  For ticket reservations email or call (802) 387-4051.

CLICK HERE to read the Brattleboro Reformer article about the event



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