Puppet master to conduct workshop with USD Theatre students

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre will present the Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q” in December, but before the cast jumps into musical rehearsals they will have an intense weeklong workshop in puppetry with guest artist and alumnus Doug Strich.

While on campus, Strich will meet with several classes and provide background on the history and trends in puppetry as well as demonstrate various styles of puppetry, including Wu-Do and Chinese Rod puppetry.  The bulk of his time, however, will be spent with the cast of “Avenue Q,” introducing them to the finer points of performing with puppets. One of the unique aspects of “Avenue Q” is the fact that major characters in the musical are represented with puppets. A master class in puppetry – open to the campus and general public – is Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre.

Strich, who was introduced to puppetry through work with The Paper Moon Marionette Theatre in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., right out of high school, continued his exploration of this art form while pursuing a B.F.A. in Theatre Design at USD where he produced several productions with marionettes, including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” After graduating in 1996, Strich earned his M.A. in Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut. He has since spent time working for The Great Arizona Puppet Theatre in Phoenix and currently for The City Parks Foundation of New York City as the marionette builder for the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park.

“Avenue Q” is Dec.1-3 and Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. For more information, contact the USD Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400 or online at www.usd.edu/theatre.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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