Sandglass Theater from Thought to Image: 20 Years in Vermont

Back in 1986, Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass, Founders and Artistic Directors of Sandglass Theater Company, arrived in Southern Vermont from Germany. Ten years later they opened Sandglass Theater in a renovated barn in Putney.  The rest is history. In conjunction with the fifth Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival in 2006, Sandglass released a beautiful retrospective book, Sandglass Theater from Thought to Image: 20 years in Vermont. The book commemorates and documents the history of the theater company, its unique approach to puppetry and its contribution to theater in Vermont and in the world. Andrew Periale, editor of Puppetry International magazine and a long-time follower of Sandglass’ work, and Laura Zorian, graphic designer, tell the Sandglass story with reviews, personal reflections, descriptions and photographs of its 18 shows, training institutes, international puppet festivals and collaborations with other companies.

The book was officially released at a gala event following the world premier of Sandglass’ new film, The Making of the Story of the Dog, at Whittemore Theater at Marlboro College during the Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival in September. All festival performers, who had traveled to the Festival from Cambodia, Sweden, Norway, Québec, France and China/U.S., were present along with the public to celebrate the book release and signing.

The book is available for purchase; the price is $20. Please call Sandglass Theater at (802) 387-4051 or e-mail to order your copy.

“I like books with pictures and this new book is full of inspirational photographs of the achievements of internationally famous Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass with their Sandglass Theatre.  It celebrates 20 years of combining puppetry and compelling visual imagery telling the story of their early influences, how they met in Germany, moved to the US in 1986; and then in 1996 opening a 60-seat theatre in a converted barn at Putney, Vermont.
This beautifully produced work has 90 pages with 86 b/w photos and reviews of 18 productions, their collaborations with other companies and of their annual Summer Theater Institute –a three-week intensive training period for artists with a serious interest in puppetry which the participants affectionately refer to as “Puppet Boot Camp”.  ‘Wrestling the Pig’ gives a brief insight into the creative process. “We think we are simply making theater …. no, we are engaged in a process of examining our relationship to the Universe. They are the same thing.”  Here is a book which (in theatrical fashion) leaves us wanting more, but perhaps that’s the idea. I would have found it even more interesting with more case studies giving insight into the wrestling process of the evolutionary  stage of new works, even though that would be second best to experiencing the boot camp or participation in an after performance discussion.  It concludes with an impressive list of touring highlights and awards received by one of America’s most innovative companies –one whose influence on the artform has spread far beyond the company.”

Ray DaSilva


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