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20 Years Of Puppet Pageants: How Two NC Creatives Use Puppets For Social Change

Artists Jan Burger and Donovan Zimmerman met while working together on the Haw River Festival in Saxapahaw. Burger thought it would be fun to create a puppet show for the fourth graders who attended the educational program, and he asked Zimmerman to help him. This collaboration led to the birth of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a project that uses cardboard, bamboo, papier-mâché and other assorted items to create giant puppets, masks and shadow plays.

The two stage a new puppet play each year, featuring stories exploring abstract topics, like what does it mean to be human, and what exactly is “beauty?”

Host Frank Stasio talks to the two Paperhand Puppet Intervention directors and co-founders about their creative process, their mission for social change and how their creative vision has evolved in the past two decades.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention productions are staged each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Friday, Aug 2 through Sunday, Sept. 29 at The Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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