Manual Cinema: No Blue Memories (Show and Workshop)

Manual Cinema is a Chicago based puppet/film studioManual Cinema , the award winning puppet/film/multimedia studio based in Chicago, is putting on a performance/workshop at the end of March. It’s part of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.  The show (and the workshop) explore poetry, puppetry, and shadow theatre, and their intersections.

The Puppet Festival actually happens every two years, and the next one is scheduled for 2019, however they do occasionally hold events to keep people interested/aware of the festival. This tracks with a puppet maxim: You have to keep the head moving when it’s not talking to make people think it’s alive!

This workshop (termed a Catapult) is in conjunction with performances by Chicago troupe Manual Cinema, who will be presenting their show NO BLUE MEMORIES: THE LIFE OF GWENDOLYN BROOKS at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago March 30-31.

Manual Cinema

The Principal creators of Manual Cinema

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks brings to life the story of one of Chicago’s most beloved figures. She was an icon, a poet laureate, and a Pulitzer Prize winner, but she was also a treasured educator and mentor to the countless writers and children who knew her as their very own Miss Brooks. Weaving together poetry, storytelling, sound design, original music, and striking visuals, No Blue Memories is an exploration of Brooks’ s beloved city and a story of how she navigated identity, craft, and politics over the course of one of the most remarkable careers in American literary history. The performance combines intricate paper puppetry, live actors working in shadow, and an original score for an unforgettable multi-media experience.

Commissioned by the Poetry Foundation for the Brooks Centenary.


The workshop information is below (Please note that the workshop fee includes tickets to the performance.  If you just want to buy tickets to the show, you can do that here.

MARCH 28-31, 2018

This Catapult is a 4-day professional training workshop focusing on the dynamic relationship and shared language of poetry and puppetry. Lead by Festival Director and puppeteer Blair Thomas, participants will explore the traditions of shadow theater, written and spoken word poetry and their contemporary intersection. Sarah Fornace and Drew Dir, Artistic Directors from Manual Cinema will be the featured artists leading puppet technique workshops, along with Avery R. Young from the Poetry Foundation.

Participants will explore image making in the dialects of the two disciplines, through poetry writing workshops, making and designing shadow puppets and exploring the balance between text and image. This workshop will take place on stage at the historic Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building in conjunction with the presentation of Manual Cinema’s newest show: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.  




Wednesday, March 28 at 12pm :   Saturday, March 31 at 3pm


$440* for program only
The program fee covers select meals and tickets to all events in the Catapult program, which include: all workshops, a performance of Manual Cinema’s No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a backstage tour/demo with Manual Cinema, and an ongoing puppetry workshop with Manual Cinema culminating in a final presentation among members of the program.

$730* for program + accommodation
In addition to the above, fee includes hotel accommodation for 3 nights

*Full or partial program fee scholarships are offered by the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival for anyone who is in financial need and shows a commitment to advancing their work with puppetry and/or poetry. There is no financial support for travel to Chicago. To apply for a scholarship, please send a Statement of Need to [email protected] 


[email protected]




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