In just a few weeks, it will be hard to remember that The Octagon Building was ever vacant. You’ll be too busy making your own puppet with world-class makers in the heart of Abbott Square.
“Puppetry is more than just a sock with googly eyes,” says Ricki Vincent, founder of The Puppetry Institute soon to transform the Octagon. “It's movement. It’s writing. It’s sculpture. It’s painting. It’s fabrication.”
The Puppetry Institute will be an educational program opening this April in the Abbott Square Octagon. Participants get to engage in free puppetry workshops, classes and demonstrations. When The Octagon Building became vacant in the fall, the MAH distributed a community-wide callout for a creative residency in this historic space. The Puppetry Institute was selected as the best candidate to kick off the last few weeks before Abbott Square opens in May.
This isn’t Vincent’s first space like it. He is a puppet geek veteran, having led The Puppet Lab in Santa Ana, CA and Geppetto Dreams in Austin, TX. Vincent and his puppetry crew have also participated in 3rd Friday Festivals at the MAH, inspiring the young and young at heart to partake in a sock puppet buffet.
The Puppetry Institute will be just one component of Abbott Square, a community plaza introduced by the MAH this spring. Abbott Square will be a new place for coming together downtown, including five restaurants, two bars, free performances and activities, a family-friendly Secret Garden, and plenty of public seating. After you enjoy some West African food or shoot an oyster in the marketplace, go dive into an unforgettable craft experience inside The Puppetry Institute.
“Expect your imagination to open, your pretend muscles turned on. Expect to leave all your crap out there and be transported into a different world of imagination where anything is possible,” said Vincent.