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‘Rogue Academy’ and ‘Puppets & Prose’: Rogue Artists Ensemble
presents two FREE online programs in collaboration with teaching
artists, LA Guild of Puppetry and PEN America Emerging Voices
LOS ANGELES (May 13, 2020) — The critically acclaimed and award-winning Rogue Artists Ensemble announces Rogue Academy and Puppets & Prose, two new digital collaborations that highlight teaching artists, visual and puppetry artists, and poets and prose writers in the literary Los Angeles community. Rogue Academy teaching workshops will be released on the Rogues’ website and Rogues’ YouTube page every Tuesday through the end of June, with Puppets & Prose shorts coming out every Friday.
In response to social distancing mandates that have prevented in-person workshops and performances in L.A.-area schools, Rogue Artists Ensemble has pivoted Rogue Academy, the company’s arts education program, into a free online digital class series. The classes, which feature teaching artists from the Rogue community, use simple materials found around the house to teach new skills and explore ideas for future art marking.
“As many families are struggling with online learning, we wanted to make Rogue Academy videos not only educational, but also fun and playful — to bring joy during a challenging time,” says Rogue Artists education manager Sarah Kay Peters.
Current classes include a rod puppet tutorial with Peters; a vocal warm-up with Tim Kopacz; a clown workout with Jeremy Charles Hohn; a storytelling 101 tutorial with Maria Pasquarelli; a hyper-theater playwriting class with Lisa Sanaye Dring and Chelsea Sutton; and a puppet short film, The Tale of Anansi the Spider (Rogue Style), featuring Tyler Bremer, Mario Ibarra, Tim Kopacz, Sarah Kay Peters, Marta Portillo and Miles Taber.
“In this moment, as our community is struggling to find ways to connect, we wanted to provide space and reason for collaboration and information sharing,” says Rogue Artists artistic director Sean T. Cawelti. “It’s been remarkable being able to leverage what we’ve learned about digital media from past projects to create this new platform for online learning.”
Future workshops include mask making; a choose-your-own-adventure story; music and storytelling; and more. New workshops will be released every Tuesday through the end of June, 2020. All workshops are available for free on the Rogues’ website at https://www.rogueartists.org/rogueacademy or on the Rogues’ YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/RogueArtistsEnsemble/ (appropriate for ages 4+).
Digital series number two is Rogue Artists Ensemble’s Puppets & Prose, bringing the literary and theater worlds together to create unique collaborations between visual artists and writers. For this series, Rogue Artists Ensemble and the LA Guild of Puppetry have paired visual, puppetry and other theater artists with short pieces of prose and poems written by alumni of the Los Angeles-based PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship.
Emerging Voices alumni writers were challenged to submit two minutes of poetry or prose, either through written words or audio recordings. These pieces were then assigned to visual artists, puppeteers and theater artists who created a visual interpretation, incorporating the words into the final product.
“The inspiration for the project came from a simple idea: what if I went to a reading at a bookstore in town and, instead of the writers standing up and reciting their poetry or fiction, puppets did it for them,” says PEN EV alum and Puppets & Prose organizer Chelsea Sutton. “PEN and Rogue have both been huge influences on my life as a writer. I’ve always thought that the theater and literary worlds should work together more, especially now when we’re all struggling with the same problems. Now is the time to invest in community.”
The response to this project, from artists across the U.S. and internationally, has exceeded all expectations. The result is a series comprising over 30 micro-films featuring everything from shadow puppets to object theater, from stop-motion to surreal films. The short pieces, each running no longer than five minutes, are set to release every Friday from May 15 through June 5, 2020. The Puppets & Prose micro-films can be viewed on the Rogues’ website at https://www.rogueartists.org/puppets-prose or the Rogues’ YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/RogueArtistsEnsemble (appropriate for ages 13+).
Puppets & Prose uses writing from PEN America Emerging Voices Alumni Noel Alumit (EV ’98), DM Belliveau (EV ‘20), Amanda Fletcher (EV ‘12), Libby Flores (EV ‘08), Marnie Goodfriend (EV ‘16), Wendy Labinger (EV ‘16), Claire Lin (EV ‘20), Natalie Mislang Mann (EV ‘18), Michelle Meyers (EV ‘15), Carl Peel (EV ‘99), Sandra Ramirez (EV ‘07), Carolina Rivera (EV ‘02), Marytza Rubio (EV ‘08), Angela Sanchez (EV ‘18), Jessica Shoemaker (EV ‘17), Chelsea Sutton (EV ‘16), and Dare Williams (EV ‘19). The visual interpretations were created by Matthew Andrews, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Penny Benson, Andrew Brown, Rachael Caselli, Ruth Coppersmith, Audrey Densmore, Alex Griffin, Molly Fite, Dave Haaz-Baroque, Jeff Heimbuch, Jennifer Himes, William Hubner, Kelsey Kato, Sarah Krainin, Amy Judd Liberman, Kelly McMahon, Cinthia Nava, Sarah Kay Peters, Mariasole Piccininno, Tarish Pipkins, Lori Meeker, Morgan Rebane, Byron Reo, Jon Riddleberger, Gina Sandy, Emma Spowart, Robert Stewart, Lara Thomas Ducey, Gretchen Van Lente, Lelia Woods, Kris Woolen and Léonie Zikos.
Rogue Artists Ensemble is a collective of multidisciplinary artists who create “Hyper-theater,” an innovative hybrid of theater traditions, puppetry, mask work, dance, music and modern technology. Through a collaborative development process, with an emphasis on design and storytelling, the Rogues create original, thought-provoking performances.
The Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry was formed by a group of puppetry artists, educators, historians and enthusiasts in 1956, chartered by the Puppeteers of America in 1957, and is now one of the largest PofA guilds in the United States. Is mission is to share, promote and advance the art of puppetry in the greater Los Angeles area through performance and education.
The PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship is a literary mentorship based in Los Angeles that has been providing underrepresented, marginalized writers with the tools they need to launch a professional literary career since 1996.
The Rogue Academy video series is supported in part by Macy’s, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The Los Angeles Breakfast Club, UnionBank and the L.A. County Arts Commission.