Giant Puppet Show Coming to Rector

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre's musical production of Hans Christian Andersen's Thimbelina will be staged at the Rector Community Center on Monday and Tuesday, April 18 and 19. The production will offered at both 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each of the two days. This original production features Thimbelina, Bits 'N Pieces unique nine-foot-tall puppets and a friendly menagerie of garden animals. The production is brought to the area through the efforts of the Clay County Arts Council, with assistance from businesses and private individuals.

Founded in May 1976, Bits 'N Pieces is dedicated to "influencing the world of tomorrow by enchanting the children of today," according to founder, and Executive Director, Jerry Bickel. "Through the theatrical retelling of classic children's stories, each with its own life lesson and moral, Bits 'N Pieces brings to life the magical wonderment of children's fantasy and reinforces the core values long told and emphasized by our great storytellers," Bickel added.

Utilizing the talented resources of multidisciplinary professionals in theatre arts and education, each of these musical productions is adapted and specifically developed to enhance the educational curriculum of the nation's elementary schools. Education booklets are also made available to teachers to supplement and coordinate with state standards and individual teachers' lesson plans.

"Early in this unique journey," shared Bickel, and wife Holli Rubin, the duo behind the effort. "The company used traditional forms of puppetry, combining as many as ten types of puppets into one production." It was while performing in large theatres that the concept of nine-foot-tall puppets was inspired. The experiment with these towering, fanciful creations was so successful that the giant body puppet became the company's larger-than-life hallmark. Now the giants perform in each of the company's original musical adaptations of classic children's literature."

Holli and Jerry told local organizers that "from script and design, to actual building and choreography, it takes two years to produce one complete giant puppet production. Yet, each season, Bits 'N Pieces continues to bring forth a new musical production of high quality children's theatre."

The company tours extensively throughout the United States and makes international appearances through cultural exchange programs. Holly, Jerry and the Giant Puppets have performed in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

The show lasts about an hour, and is appropriate for children through sixth grade. Due to the generosity of CCAC participating sponors, general admission prices remain at just $5.

Clay County area school children, and their teachers, are encouraged to make reservations for one of the four performances at the RCC on April 18 and 19. School representatives wanting to reserve a block of seats may contact Gail Burns at 870 240-3014 or Tracy Cole at 901 496-5000. The public is also invited to attend any of the four performance, and tickets at the door will be $5.

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