Bread and Puppet


Founded in 1963, Bread and Puppet is a performance company  that’s been functioning consistently as a puppet show and, indeed, a bread bakery of sorts, since its inception in New York’s Lower East Side, over fifty years ago.
From the start they’ve used politics and social justice as fodder for creative play and community building, through the unlikely sisters of sourdough and puppetry.

Their manifesto ----->
In the words of the founder, Peter Schumann:

“Bread and Puppet is based on bread baking and the not-for-sale distribution of bread at moments created by art, and these moments are created in opposition to capitalist culture and habit. Therefore the puppet show is not only a puppet show, but an eating-bread-together event. We ask our hosts not only for performing space, but also for 400 bricks, fire wood, and fire permits to build and use itinerant bread ovens as part of our productions. From the beginning of the Bread and Puppet enterprises we decided to make two types of shows: inside shows meant for the viewers inside, and outside shows for the unrelenting political street. Both types of shows address the urgencies of the day as they come upon us.”

Bread and Puppet is based in Vermont, and still performs all over the world. The schedule (and a more than adequate selection of posters) is available on their site. There is also, as ever, the YouTube hole.

A friend recently passed along an excerpt of a particularly prescient interview with Schumann, in which he says:
“All art is faced with starving children and apocalyptic politics. All art is ashamed, angry and desolate because of its impotence in the face of reality… to put bread and puppets together in 1963 seemed like a correct first step in the fight for the immediate elimination of evil.”
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