CAMDEN, Maine — Youth Arts and Camden Hills Regional High School students present an evening of improvisation with The Improvised Puppet Project in Strom Auditorium on Friday, January 3 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Based in Westbrook, the IPP is Maine’s only professional puppet improv company, and they have been expanding the possibilities of improvised theater with puppets for audiences of all ages since 2010. Since their first performance in Vinalhaven, they have performed and taught in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
For those who have never seen improvised puppet theater, puppeteer and actor Tara McDonough explains that the players improvise scenes and long form stories based on audience suggestions. Using the long form structure, they have performed romantic comedies, a post-apocalyptic improvised zombie puppet musical, and countless stories in between.
The IPP has three members. McDonough has taught and performed in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and throughout northern New England. She was co-founder of Printer’s Devil Theater in Seattle as well as San Francisco’s Un-Scripted Theater Company. Jen Whitley started improvising several years ago with The Escapists and is currently also a member of the Portsmouth, NH improvisational comedy troupe Stranger Than Fiction. Rounding out the troupe, Keith Anctil has been acting and teaching K-12 theater professionally in Maine for 15 years; he is the founder of the Wescott Theater Company.
Students in the CHRHS Theater Performance class, as well as students in some chorus classes will participate in performance-style workshops with the IPP during the school day, and students will be encouraged to return and join in as participants at the evening presentation. The performance material, though family-oriented, may not be suitable for younger children.
The residency is sponsored by Youth Arts, a private, non-profit, all-volunteer organization that, for 40 years, has provided arts enrichment in the schools of Camden and Rockport, including the five-town high school (serving also Appleton, Hope, and Lincolnville) through arts residencies and performances. Youth Arts serves to inspire and enrich each student and the entire school community with a variety of dynamic arts experiences