Shadow puppet tour to be powered only by bikes

bike shadow puppet
© Petal Puppets

A troupe of puppeteers will be hitting the road this summer, bringing their fossil-fuel-free show from town to town by bike. In addition to using bikes for transportation, the shadow puppet show will feature a pedal-powered projector.

They have plans to make “a bike-powered electric light that will project shadow puppets onto the stage,” said Ana Ratner, one of the company members.

The group plans to spend the month of June writing the show, making the puppets and rehearsing. They’ll live together on a farm that belongs to Ratner’s parents in Krumville, NY where they can trade labor for rent before setting out on tour July 6.

The members of the group met as students at Bard College. Cyrina King, a member of the company, has a background in activist work, and is currently involved in immigration issues. She said that all the members share an interest in creating public art and presenting it in “a less stuffy environment.”

King and Ratner told me that bikes and puppets were integral to the project from its inception. “They complement each other,” said King. “The show wouldn’t be the same without either component.”

The collective performance hasn’t been written yet, but there will be “side shows” that the individuals have already created. Ratner told me she plans to perform a piece she’s written about the history of indigo.

One of the goals of the tour is to bring a spectacle to communities that might not otherwise have access to this kind of performance. The shows will be performed in public spaces and can be seen for free. To buy the materials needed for the show, Petal Puppets is turning to Kickstarter. You can learn more and contribute to the tour here.

Shadow puppet tour to be powered only by bikes
Petal puppets plan to tour their first show around the U.S. this summer.

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