We recently attended a performance of Paperhand Puppet Intervention at Chapel Hill’s Forest Theatre for one of our One Charge Trips: Around Town.
The Forest Theatre has a rich history and Paperhand Puppet Intervention is a one of a kind theatre experience. We wanted to let you know more about each:
The Forest Theatre is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The first performance at this site was held in 1916 to mark the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. The site was chosen by William C. Coker, a botany professor at UNC. An arboretum here on campus is named for him as well.
A few years later the site was developed into a permanent theatre by Professor Frederick Koch, founder formed the critically acclaimed Carolina Playmakers theatre troupe, which would eventually evolve into the professional theatre in residence at UNC, now known as Playmakers Repertory Company.
In 1940, with grant funds from the federal Work Projects Administration, the Forest Theatre was renovated and upgraded. A stone stage, terraced seating, flagstone steps, a director’s box, ticket box and lighting towers were added. The renovated theatre was designed by Albert Q. Bell, who designed the Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island where a play about The Lost Colony. The author of The Lost Colony play was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Green, who was a student and professor at UNC and member of the Carolina Playmakers.
Flagstone steps were built, in addition to stone lighting towers, a director’s box, ticket box, main entrance, and a stone stage backdrop. The new stonework was designed by Albert Q. Bell, designer of the Waterside Theatre, home of “The Lost Colony” written by Paul Green.
Forest Theatre is set inside the 93-acre Battle Park and both are managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Battle Park was not named for a famous historical battle but rather Kemp Plummer Battle, president of UNC from 1876 to 1891.
Paperhand Puppet Intervention
Based in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention is celebrating its 20th year of puppetry, stilt dancing and shadow play to entertain, inspire, and advocate. Every summer, thousands come to see a larger than life production that grounds audiences to their own sense of wonder and curiosity. This year’s play is called We Are Here, written and directed by founders Donovan Zimmerman and Jan Burger with lots of help from the cast and crew of volunteers.