About Terrence Burke

Puppeteer beneath the Wump Mucket Puppets.

Jim Henson – The Biography

I enjoy puppetry quite a bit. I enjoy reading books too. When you combine these two interests of mine…. OH BOY!
Terrence Burke reading "Jim Henson - The Biography"
I have recently acquired an advance copy of Jim Henson – The Biography by Brian Jay Jones. Last night I finished chapter one and I am happy to say that this book will be on the wishlist of many puppeteers and fans of Henson’s work.
Jones interviewed many of the famous puppeteer’s family, associates, and friends to provide the reader with over 400 pages to tell the story of Jim Henson’s life.
I promise to share more about this book with you soon, there’s a book waiting for me to read!

Summer 2013 is rolling!

My goodess June is nearly over and Summer 2013 is in full swing at Wump Mucket Puppets.
Cyril the Sea Serpent reviews script
So far this summer we have brought our fun to a couple of Cincinnati’s excellent libraries, returned to Summerfair, and made our debut on the stage at Smale Riverfront Park’s “Family Summer Fun” series. It was great to see so many happy faces in the audience at all of our shows. Knowing that I can make you smile makes me happy.
July will be our busiest month EVER! We hope to see some of our old pals, and make some new friends as the Wump Mucket Puppets rock their little puppet show around Great Cincinnati.
Thank you for being a part of the fun!

Thanks for the magic Jim Henson

Thanks for the magic Jim Henson

Statue of Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog at University of MarylandMay 16, 1990.  I was working at a copy center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I seem to remember that one of my co-workers had heard on the radio that Jim Henson had died.  I felt empty and as if a part of my childhood had just disappeared.

In those days I was creating and recording strange electronic music under the name Histatic Charge.  My interest in puppetry was put on hold for a while.  Yet somehow his death made me feel as if a good friend was no longer with us.  His characters had been a big part of my childhood,  as a young man I was thrilled to see that his work was exploring fantastic new worlds in the films Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.  I suppose I was still a fan back then, just one who focused on other things like music and my then girlfriend Lara, who in two years would become my wife and many years later a very important partner in this little puppet troupe.

I am sure many of us wonder what Jim Henson would have created in the last 23 years.  Would he make another film set in the world of Dark Crystal?  Perhaps he would have pioneered computer generated puppetry.  Would he have put puppetry aside to direct live actors?  We can only guess.  I am sure it would have been fantastic.

“My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.” – Jim Henson

Jim Henson display at University of Maryland

Thank you for sharing your imagination with the world, Jim.  You did make it better.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day G'Wazzl
My mother (Hi Mum!) was my first “audience” many, many years ago.  I learned how to spell the word “puppet” with her help. She helped me make a guitar out of cardboard so I could “play along” with my Banana Splits record…  a million times! She was the one who enrolled me in a puppetry class at the YMCA, and encouraged me to display the stop-motion animation figures that I made at our local library. Some how she agreed to allow me to make a plaster cast of her face (while breathing through a straw) so I could create latex prosthetic make-up appliances.

My wife Lara is very much the “mother” of our puppet characters. She helps refine my sketches and doodles of characters, then uses her many creative skills to make the puppets jump off the page and onto the puppet stage. Lara’s ideas and input help make Wump Mucket Puppets the family puppet troupe that we are. Whether it’s puppet building, script tweaking, or suggesting a theme for a song, Lara’s is very much a part of the Wump Mucket Puppets world.

Finally, thanks to all the moms who bring our young fans to see our shows. We really appreciate that you choose Wump Mucket Puppets to entertain your children.

A letter from Entertainers Camp

A letter from Entertainers Camp

Terrence Burke during the pie fightOn a cold gray morning this past winter I received a phone call from ventriloquist Bob Abdou.  I had met Bob a few times at puppet guild gatherings, and kept in touch with him via Facebook.  Not only do Bob and I love puppets, we share interests in The Beatles, and 1960’s pop culture (Bob’s just a few years older than me).  During the phone call he asked if I would come to Columbus and give an informative talk about puppetry for about 30 minutes at the Entertainers Camp that he was organizing.  Is that all?  I could yack about puppets for days, and often do.  Then he informed me that the day would end with a pie fight!  I was sold.  I told Bob to sign me up for Entertainers Camp!

Terrence Burke and Bob Abdou during the pie fight

Terrence Burke and Bob Abdou during the pie fight.

What is Entertainers Camp?  It’s a relaxed day of sharing experiences and information in what Bob refers to as “the variety arts”.  It’s meeting entertainers who bring happiness to people of all ages through clowning, balloon art, comedy juggling, face painting, magic, story-telling, ventriloquism, and of course puppetry.  It’s about having good, (mostly) clean, fun!

Entertainers Camp 2013 posterOver the Winter and into Spring I scribbled down notes to knock my words into an informal speech to inspire the audience to pick up a puppet and start their journey as a performer.  I do not claim to be a puppetry expert, I only hope to inform others with the knowledge that I have gained from my own experiences.

Terrence Burke and his "abstract baloon art"

Terrence Burke and his "abstract baloon art"

When the day of the event arrived, I got up very early.  Brewed an extra strong pot of coffee, and pointed the Wump Mucket mobile towards the capitol of Ohio… thank goodness for Doctor Who audio books (and auto pilot).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the day.  I did know that a few puppeteers that I know “electronically” would be there, and the chance to shake hands, give a friendly hug, and spend time together was a big enough thrill.  I am very pleased that I had the wonderful opportunity to meet many great entertainers.  If that wasn’t enough, I had the opportunity to get silly and perform a puppet lip-sync with young puppeteer Frank Cesario.  Remember his name, this guy is going to be a star!

Terrence Burke and Frank Cesario perform Abba's "Mama Mia"

Terrence Burke and Frank Cesario perform Abba's "Mama Mia"

As the lead off speaker for the day, I had the job of getting the day of to a good start.  If there was one running theme of my talk, it was my closing sentence, “share the knowledge, spread the joy.”  Of course I brought Cyril to sing a little to the audience, and have them shouting “Puppets ROCK!” at the end of my lecture.  Several “campers” came up to me afterwards to thank me for my suggestions and sharing the information that I have acquired during my time as a performing puppeteer.  Which makes me very happy, sharing what I have learned about puppetry with others.

Entertainers Camp 2013 attendees

Entertainers Camp 2013 attendees, and the top of Bob Abdou's head.

The day will always be a very happy memory for me.  Not only did I get to yack about puppetry, I was able to listen to other entertainers and learn from their experiences and talents.  Thanks for inviting me Bob, I hope you’ll have me back to camp next year.

The Three Puppeteers - Frank Cesario, Nate Puppets, Terrence Burke

The Three Puppeteers - Frank Cesario, Nate Puppets, Terrence Burke

Thoughts of Boston

Boston skyline

It is never easy to deal with headlines these days.  It is even harder when it’s about someone you may know, or a place you are familiar with.  Especially when it’s your hometown.  I was born in Boston, grew up in the suburbs, then moved back to the city as a young man.

The tragic events at the Boston Marathon this week, the people who have lost their lives, or have been seriously injured, have all been in my thoughts.  I have difficulty understanding the reasoning for inflicting such pain, especially during a sporting event that brings pride to the city of Boston.  Why did this happen?

How does this tie in with my puppetry?  Boston is a part of me, I am a part of that city.  My childhood memories of attending a puppetry festival in Boston with my father, or watching classic Boston kid’s TV shows “Boomtown” and “Major Mudd” are certainly a part of my inspiration to create fun puppet shows for families today.

Tomorrow the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild will present our National Day of Puppetry celebration.  While puppeteers can not solve this horrible act of violence, we can offer something that our world could certainly use more of these days, and that is joy.

I hope that you will join us.

Terrence Burke wins scholarship

Terrence Burke wins scholarship

Wonderful news everyone! 

I have been awarded the Emma Louise Warfield Memorial Scholarship for the National Festival of the Puppeteers of America.  I am very grateful to everyone who helped me including Linda Mason (Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild), Aretta Baumgartner (Center for Puppetry Arts), John Lewandowski (Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre), Lisa Davis (Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati), Sarah Schellenger (Cincinnati Public Library), my father-in-law Jim Rumizen, Lara, Eleanor, Tiernan, and my family for inspiring me every day to do my best.  Puppets ROCK!

Here’s a silly video we cooked up to celebrate the occasion:

For the love of puppets

For the love of puppets

Wump Mucket Puppets is a labor of love.  When I say that I really mean it.  It’s work to juggle many hats in a family run independent puppet troupe.  Some days I must wear the daddy hat and help my daughter with her math worksheets.  Other days I wear the booking agent hat, and talk to event coordinators who are interested in having the Wump Mucket Puppets perform at their events this Summer.   Being a do-it-yourself puppeteer, I have my hands in every single step of producing a puppet show that I want to see.  I would have it no other way.

Don’t touch that dial!

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke and Cyril on Cincinnality studio set

What dial?  Most televisions are controlled by remote these days…  Well it sounds good as a lead in to this exciting bit of Wump Mucket Puppets news!  I had a great meeting with Dean Miuccio and Randi Douglas of the local television variety talk show Cincinnality this morning.  They have been keeping in touch with me for about a year, and we are now at the point to to plan something fun with my puppet characters to eventually shoot a few bits to include on their program.  I don’t want to give away too much right now, yet I will say that some very cool and funny ideas were brought up during our chat.  Please give their show a look, they are creating local television that features entertainers and musicians from the Cincinnati area.  Cincinnality airs on Sunday nights at 11:30 PM on WXIX FOX 19 in Cincinnati or watch clips on their video page.

Wump Mucket Puppets Cyril the Sea Serpent on the Ohio river

February is off to a grand start for the Wump Mucket Puppets!  We have a NEW puppet character joining the cast at our Happen show on Saturday, February 16th from 6 – 8 PM.  On Sunday February 24 we’ll be guests at MOTR Pub on the Ted Clark After Dark live talk show.  Please keep in mind that this event is for the “big kids”, that means adults.  Ted  will be interviewing me about puppets, pizza, cartoons, and more.  I may have a possible surprise to share with everyone!  Show up, have fun!

Next month I will have lived in the Queen City for 20 years.  There have been ups and downs along the way.  I am very pleased that most of those years were on the up and up and getting better all the time.  As a fun way to celebrate my twenty years as a Cincinnatian, I’ll be adding fun bits of local trivia, history, and a new song to the puppet show.  It’s my way to say thanks to  all the kind and friendly Cincinnatians that come and see my imagination given form, the Wump Mucket Puppets.

New fun on the way!

New fun on the way!

Short and sweet blog tonight gang!
We have LOTS of activity at our super secret headquarters. What?
Well, it’s tip top secret! I can say that one of our regular characters is getting a pal.

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke cutting fabric for puppet

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke cutting fabric for puppet

Not only will we have a new puppet at the February 16th show at Happen, Inc, we’ll have a new tune for Coleman to sing, a new game for Cyril to play with the audience, and lots of fun and laughs for new members of our audience. Our regulars all know that the Wump Mucket Puppets R-O-C-K! (that’s why they keep coming to our shows)

Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook 300 quest continues!

Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook 300 quest continues!

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch and Eleanor

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch and Eleanor

We are pulling out all the stops tonight!  Coleman has called in his number one fan, Eleanor Burke, to make a video to help the Wump Mucket Puppets reach and BEAT their goal of 300 likes on the official Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page.  Not only will the 300th person to like our page have a tune recorded on video for them to show the whole wide world that they are pals with the wacky (yet wholesome) Wump Mucket Puppets, but we will throw in this incredible pack of Anastasi trading cards:

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch with Anastasia trading cards

Here’s tonight’s exciting video:

What a thrilling contest this is!  Have you liked it?  Have you liked Wump Mucket Puppets on Facebook?  You didn’t really think that this was Rod Stewart?  It’s NOT Rod.

NOT Rod Stewart

Thanks to everyone who has joined the fun so far.  We need your help, so feel free to share our silly little video with the whole world and let ’em know that Wump Mucket Puppets ROCK!