About Terrence Burke

Puppeteer beneath the Wump Mucket Puppets.

Happy Holidays 2017

 Happy Holidays 2017

Please enjoy this short video featuring Coleman the Sasquatch:

What a wonderful year 2017 has been from Wump Mucket Puppets

We have has the pleasure of performing for so many happy children and their families over the year.  Your laughter and smiles are precious gifts.  Thank you for letting us share joy with you through the magic of puppetry.  Have a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic 2018!

                                   -Terrence Burke, creator/puppeteer Wump Mucket Puppets

 

Encore broadcast of our PBS TV debut

Encore broadcast of our PBS TV debut

Wump Mucket Puppets creator Terrence Burke

Did you miss seeing Wump Mucket Puppets on Cincinnati’s PBS television station WCET TV 48 back in January 2017? 

Don’t touch that dial!  There will be an encore broadcast of our PBS TV debut on The Art Show,  Saturday, December 16 at 6PM on CET HD, and once again on Sunday, December 17 at 8PM on CET Arts.

Live outside of the Cincinnati area?  Busy on those nights?  No worries, you can watch the entire show online at anytime here:
http://www.pbs.org/video/art-show-season-6-episode-1/

Wump Mucket Puppets performing at CET PBS television station

Wump Mucket Puppets performing for the CET Kids Klub event in 2014.

Working with the production crew from CET was a fantastic experience for me.  Everyone was great during the two day shoot, and worked hard to make my puppets look wonderful on camera.   I encourage you to show your support of their work, and all PBS productions, by making a pledge of support to CET or your local PBS television station if you are able.

Wump Mucket Puppets photo collage

Original photo collage made to promote the January 7, 2017 broadcast of The Art Show.

After you watch the show, leave a brief message on the Wump Mucket Puppets official Facebook page , and let us know what you thought of our guest appearance.  We love to hear from our friends and fans.  Who knows, maybe one of these days,  Wump Mucket Puppets may have their very own television program! 
Thanks for watching everyone!

Giving thanks in 2017

Giving thanks in 2017

Wump Mucket Puppets - A Puppet Rocker's Blog

It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2017 as I write this blog.  Coffee has been made, my children are still sleeping, and our new cat Piper has been fed (more on her in a bit).  2017 has been another year of growth for myself and Wump Mucket Puppets.  

Look at the SMILES! @fallfeastcincinnati #Thanksgiving #FallFeast #Cincinnati #puppeteer #shareJOY

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My puppets have performed for so many people this year, including our fourth year at Fall Feast Cincinnati on Thanksgiving Day.  It was during these performances that I began to think how fortunate I am to be a puppeteer in the age of instant digital entertainment.  It takes time, including many late nights, some frustration (especially with using computers), and lots of hard work to get to where I am now.  What the audience sees onstage is thirty minutes of fun, that has taken many, many weeks of puppet building, script and song writing, and prop building/painting.  And I love every step of producing a puppet show. It thrills me that my audience is enjoying it too.  I am thankful for having the opportunity to perform for so many children.

Our pal Alex loved Q.B. at @fallfeastcincinnati #Thanksgiving #FallFeast #Cincinnati #puppeteer #shareJOY

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So why do I puppeteer?  Why spend weeks working on a puppet that will be performing for only five minutes in a show?  Why do I drive hundreds and hundreds of miles around the country to reach my audience?  The answer is one word, LOVE.  I love what I do.  I love to hear children laugh and clap when my characters perform.  I love having a parent tell me that their child sings my silly songs at home.  I love when my son helps me set up the stage and sound equipment, or when my daughter gives me feedback on a puppet design or song idea.  I love sharing joy through puppetry.

And speaking of love, we have a new family member, our family adopted Piper this past week.  She came to us through Cincinnati Cats, she is eight years old and blind.  Piper has won our hearts with her charm and cuddling.  

Meet Piper, our new family member. She is eight years old and blind. #adoptedcat #blindcat #cat

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So long October


So long October, you were windy, sometimes hot, sometimes cool, a bit wet at times, but always fun when performing Wump Mucket Puppets’ Kooky Spooky Halloween Show.

That’s the trouble with performing a holiday puppet show, I guess.  Just as things are rolling along at a good pace, the month ends with the holiday that you have been celebrating.  Tomorrow morning I will close the 2017 run of TKSHS (that’s short for “The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show) at a private school performance in the Cincinnati area.  It’s been a great month, and brought my puppetry to several new places too.

We opened at the beginning of the month with the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, Kentucky.  What a wonderful place this is for children!  My kids loved visiting here when they were younger, bringing back many happy memories of those years to me.  The little ones in the audience were great, and I am happy to share that I will be back there on December 16th at 2PM with our Frozen Follies holiday show -so mark your calendars now.

Half way through the month we were at our final outdoor show of the year at the West Chester Pumpkin Fest.  As the opening entertainment for the event, the audience grew as the show was performed.  What started as a few dozen people in the seats, grew quickly into hundreds!  Thank goodness the wind wasn’t too strong.

A few days later the show made a special stop to visit with our pals at the Our Daily Bread Kids Club in Over-The-Rhine.  This was our second time donating a performance, and although the audience was small, I could tell that our silliness was enjoyed BIG TIME!   Look at this very thoughtful card that our pals sent.

This card made my day, knowing that my puppetry was enjoyed and brought smiles to young faces.  Thanks Our Daily Bread pals!   I look forward to my next visit with you.

Our furthest performance of the month was at the Tipp City Public Library, where we were the featured entertainment for the library’s Halloween Family Night.  We were greeted by several teenage helpers, that were great in getting the stage and sound equipment into the library on a chilly evening.  I was told that this library had not had a puppet show in several years, so the large audience was very welcome.  Thank you for having us Tipp City, we hope to see you again soon.

As the month got closer to it’s end, I performed our busiest day with two library shows scheduled.  The day started very early for me, 4:40AM to be exact.  For one reason or another I awoke before the alarm clock to find that the power was out.  I suppose this is good, since I had an hour on the road to our first show at the MidPointe Library in Trenton, Ohio.  This is another new library, and our audience was very welcoming.  I enjoyed meeting the children after the show, especially the three year old girl who dressed-up as Dorthy Gale from The Wizard of Oz (my all-time favorite film).

After loading out of Trenton, and having a bit if mobile phone trouble, it was South to visit the Reading branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Once again, a new library for the puppets to work their magic (let’s keep this up!).  I arrived early, allowing me a leisurely load in and set-up.  The Reading branch is a new library too, and the community room that I performed in has a door that allows performers to get very close to the building.  I love easy load ins, and should offer awards for such places.  Here’s the poster that was made by the library to promote my show:

I shall remember the October 2017 tour fondly.  The puppets and I had fun sharing make-believe to celebrate Halloween.  We met so many great kids and parents, saw lots of cool costumes, and learned which houses give out the BIG CANDY BARS!  Thanks to our audiences, the school, library, and museum directors who booked the show, and our media friends who helped promote the shows on TV and radio.  Have a happy, and safe, Halloween!

 

Everyday is Halloween for us in October

Everyday is Halloween for us in October

I love performing The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show for our audiences.  2017 is the second year that the puppets have brought our special brand of Halloween kookiness to our pals.  We are very grateful that they enjoy our spooky silliness.

For me, Halloween should be a fun time for children (and adults).  Offering us time to  celebrate and make believe together, minus terrifying images or horrific creatures.  Sadly there’s plenty of horror in the real world.  Today’s audience at Our Daily Bread was just that, people having a fun time together with a bit of spooky silliness.

Since opening the show at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, KY, we have performed to hundreds of happy kids that totally understand my style of make-believe.  They have giggled at Unka Unka’s mistakes on holiday greetings (and helped him out), assisted Witch Willie cast her scaring spell (which never seems to work), and told me that they love our new puppet character Gourdon the pumpkin man. 

Gourdon and Witch Willie have even found the time in their busy puppet star schedules to make their world radio debut on Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate 91.7 WVXU ‘s weekend arts program “Around Cincinnati” with a great interview conducted by media journalist John Kieswetter.  This was fun interview to record.  John had great questions for me, and it gave me a chance to talk about the show, our new puppet, and growing up in Andover, Massachusetts.  Enough babbling from me, why not just give it a listen?
Listen to the interview HERE                                    (Photo by John Kieswetter)

No matter how you celebrate Halloween, I hope that you and your family have a fun and safe one.  If you should happen to have children in your life, be sure to bring them to my puppet show.  

Here’s Gourdon! Our new puppet star!

Our newest puppet star has arrived!  Gourdon has joined the cast of “The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show” that we perform throughout October.  Here’s a look back on how this puppet went from a lump of clay, to a paper maché head, and almost making his public debut on live TV, yet to being interviewed for a weekly radio program.

The idea to create a pumpkin headed puppet popped into my head earlier this year when my daughter Eleanor asked me to watch the cartoon “Over The Garden Wall”. In one of the episodes, the two boys visit a village of pumpkin people. They reminded me of the character Jack Pumpkinhead from the Oz series of books written by L. Frank Baum.

So I began sculpting a new puppet…

The new puppet had to wait to be worked on as I toured our “Bee Happy” summer puppet show around Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and even a trip to Massachusetts in August.

Gradually the clay began to “magically” work it’s self into a friendly face that children would enjoy.  I love Halloween, and find the vintage greeting cards that feature pumpkins, witches, and ghosts most visually appealing.  I started looking at lots of great pictures, and added them to a Halloween themed Pinterest page.

Gourdon’s head is made of paper maché, and took me about a two days to build.  I lost count of how many tiny bits of paper it took.  I enjoy this part of the puppet building process, since I can listen to music while working.  I remember listening to Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, They Might Be Giants, Gary Numan and Led Zeppelin while building this puppet.  There is a reason why I always say, “Puppets ROCK!”.

The build was moving along at a good pace.  Things were looking great as I finished the head, and Gourdon started really looking like Gourdon.  I was very happy with our new puppet star, and prepared to sew his body and costume together.  I was booked to make a live TV guest appearance and wanted this to be  his public debut.

Then a bit of a “hick-up” happened after I had finished sewing his inner sleeve and body.  While quickly trying to get the puppet completed for the TV segment, I goofed up and used the wrong pattern on his costume.  It was too small.  I was rather upset, since this puppet has been my project.  In the past, my wife Lara has been the principle puppet builder.  She took a step back to allow me to be more comfortable with sewing, and give me room to learn.  Ugh.  Gordon would not be going on TV.

Fortunately we have a great cast of puppets to “step up” and take Gourdon’s place for the TV interview.  Witch Willie was the best puppet to replace Gourdon.  I have been performing her for over a year, and through the summer, so off to FOX19 she went to make her third live TV appearance:

With this scheduling problem solved, Lara whipped together a fantastic costume for Gourdon to wear for his puppet stage debut at the Behringer-Crawford Museum.  I could hear the children in our audience react to Gourdon as he welcomed them to our show, they love him.  After the show they were thrilled to meet him, with several of the kids requesting to have their photo taken with our new puppet star.

The day’s adventure in puppetry was not over.   After I finished loading-out of the museum, I had to drive back to Wump Mucket Puppets headquarters to unload our  gear, only to head back out to have Witch Willie, Gourdon, and myself record a radio interview on WVXU, Cincinnati’s NPR radio affiliate.

Tune in to Around Cincinnati next week to listen.  WVXU’s John Kieswetter had many great questions for the puppets and myself, making what I am sure will be the fun radio debut of a pumpkin head puppet named Gourdon.

Welcome Autumn

The calendar says that today is the first day of Autumn, although in Cincinnati it feels like mid-August.  Yuck.  I am not a fan of hot and sticky weather.

Today will also be the final performance of my “Bee Happy” show for 2017.  That is unless I receive a request to perform it again.  Don’t worry if you missed it, we’ll be bringing it back next Spring.  It has been a great show to perform, and marks the first show that I have sang along to music that I have created, through the puppets of course.  I really enjoy singing, although sometimes it’s been a challenge to sing in the puppet’s voice.

Tonight’s performance will be at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.  I have been donating puppet shows there since the summer of 2012, and enjoy working with their staff.  While my audience is often small, the children and families who I perform for are appreciative.  I love providing them with a half hour of silliness, and help them with the healing process through laughter.

With October around the corner, our newest puppet “Gourdon” is nearing completion.  I began sculpting his head out of clay in June.  My daughter asked me to watch the TV show “Over The Garden Wall” with her.  In one of the episodes there is a village of pumpkin people who I found most interesting.  They reminded me of “Jack Pumpkinhead” from L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. I also enjoy vintage Halloween greeting cards and decorations featuring jack-o-lanterns.   When I returned from our East Coast tour in mid-August I began working on “Gourdon”, using paper mache.  I really enjoyed building our latest cast member.  Please come see him at our October shows.

When “Gourdon” is finished, it’s time to build another traditional hand puppet for our “Frozen Follies” holiday show.  This puppet will be included in our new skit “The Many Names of Santa Claus”.  I will be posting photos to the Wump Mucket Puppets official Facebook page as the building progresses to give our friends and fans a chance to view the puppet building progress.  Please give our page a “like”.  Thanks for reading this. Puppets ROCK!

A Thank You To Our Fans

Coleman the Sasquatch has a special message to share with our fans

We thank everyone who has attends our puppet shows, watch our videos, and follow us at the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page.  We couldn’t have done any of this without you.

It was a wonderful summer for the cast of Wump Mucket Puppets, performing “Bee Happy” to thousands of happy kids throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Massachusetts too.  Don’t worry if you missed it, the show is booked on September 9th and 16th as well as several dates in 2018.

We are excited that Autumn is not far away, and with that cooler weather and plenty of leaves to rake.  Oh, that fun holiday called Halloween is coming too!  This means that Witch Willie and Morty the Ghost will be out and about performing The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show.  Have you started working on your costume yet?

See you in the audience!  The Wump Mucket Puppets love ya!

Let the summer 2017 touring season begin!

Let the summer 2017 touring season begin!

Summer is the busiest time of year for “road warrior” puppeteers, and children’s entertainers. We pack our vehicles with sound equipment, props, and puppets to travel the highways and back roads of America, sharing joy and with children.

For many of these kids, these shows are their first exposure to live theatre/performance art. I love hearing their small voices, as they enter the libraries, looking at my stage with anticipation and chattering, “It’s a puppet show, a puppet show!”

During the show, I can hear them talking to my puppet cast, responding to jokes, or giggling to the silliness on stage. The magic is working. The children are not looking at pieces of foam, fleece, or paper mache. They have entered the world of my imagination, populated by a Sea Serpent, a Sasquatch, and their fellow cast members. For the next thirty minutes, my young audience has temporarily left any worries of the real world behind. Their reward? A giggle, a song or two, and a happy memory of the day that they went to the library to see a puppet show. This memory is a treasure that they will keep forever.

Share joy!

Come see Wump Mucket Puppets this summer. Tour dates; www.WumpMucketPuppets.com/shows

 

 

Bee Happy coloring page by Mark Neeley

Bee Happy coloring page by Mark Neeley

We are thrilled to share this exclusive coloring page drawn by Cincinnati author/illustrator Mark Neeley:  (click on image and print out)

Bee Happy coloring page Mark Neeley

Mark has been a friend of ours for several years and we are honored by his wonderfully playful art of the Wump Mucket Puppets.   Please visit his website www.MarkNeeley.com to learn more about his books and art projects.

Be sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page too!