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

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!

Wump Mucket Puppets 300 Facebook pals contest

Wump Mucket Puppets 300 Facebook pals contest

We are thrilled to announce our first contest of 2013!

Really folks, this is going to be lots of fun!  We are trying to reach 300 (more would be fantastic!) likes on the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page.  To entice new pals we are offering a FUN-TASTIC prize of a custom made video tune for the winner to share their good taste in puppet troupes with the whole wide world!

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch with Tiernan Burke

Coleman the Sasquatch and his pal Tiernan Burke

You would simply not believe what we did to make this contest a special one.  First, we flew our furry puppet star Coleman the Sasquatch in from his vacation in Peru via Learjet.  Then we enlisted the help of our second oldest fan in the world, none other than the one and only Tiernan Burke.  Finally, brace yourselves, our camera crew were allowed into the super secret Wump Mucket Puppets Head Quarters!  It was amazing to see Terrence Burke’s “Desk/Mess”!  It was so exciting we are still covered in goosebumps.

Here’s the video we made at Wump Mucket HQ:

Amazing stuff!  We know that we can count on all our pals to help us reach this goal of 300 Facebook pals really soon.  Please share this with all your friends as soon as you can.  The suspense may keep us up all night wondering…

Wump Mucket Puppets Who Will Be 300 sign

Now what will the Wump Mucket Puppets do to reach 400 likes?   Hmmm….

Wump Mucket Puppets kicks into high gear for 2013

Wump Mucket Puppets kicks into high gear for 2013

What a week we are having at our super-secret headquarters!  It’s been a fantastic week for us.  All this activity is, well… FANTASTIC!

First, a HUGE thank you to Jim, Aretta, John, Sarah, and Lisa for taking the time to write letters of recommendation for my scholarship application to attend the 2013 National Puppetry Festival in August.  Your kind words of praise were truly moving.  I am very fortunate to know each of you.

Wump Mucket Puppets character G'Wazzl G'Wook created by Terrence Burke

G'Wazzl can't wait to introduce you to his new puppet pal!

I have been sworn to secrecy regarding the creation of a new puppet character that is joining our fun little troupe.  The idea has been in my sketchbook for years, it’s about time that I bring this puppet to our stage.  Be sure to come to our February 16th show to see our new puppet pal!

CAPG logo

And last, but not least, the date has been confirmed for Cincinnati’s 2013 National Day of Puppetry celebration!  Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 20th from 12 pm until 3 pm.  Members of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild will be presenting a fun packed afternoon of puppet shows, demonstrations, and displays about the history of puppetry in Cincinnati at Happen 4201 Hamilton Avenue in always happening Northside.  You won’t want to miss this!

Happy New Year!

Wump Mucket Puppets wish everyone a very HAPPY New Year!

What a fab-tastic year 2012 has been for me and the puppet troupe.  All of the activity has proven to me that there is definitely a place in the puppet universe for my style of silliness.  Thanks to everyone who booked my show, laughed and clapped in the audience, interviewed me on television and radio, chatted on-line, rubbed elbows at puppetry guild meetings, or even recognized me around my neighborhood and elsewhere as “that puppeteer”.  YOU made my year a great one.  Let’s do it again in 2013!  Puppets ROCK!

Wump Mucket Puppets creator/puppeteer Terrence Burke

Wump Mucket Puppets creator/puppeteer Terrence Burke at Wump Mucket HQ

What a Year! 2012 remembered

2012 was a remarkable year for Wump Mucket Puppets.

I performed the final show of the year last night for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.  It’s one of my favorite places to perform.  Why? Read on…

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch at Ronald McDonald House

I was about to bring all of my puppet gear into the children’s theatre when all of the guests and staff were exiting the building. The fire alarms had been set off inside due to smoke in the kitchen area,  luckily no one was hurt and the situation was under control quickly.  I am glad I was still wearing my Oscar the Grouch hoodie.

Wump Mucket Puppets stage in holiday show mode

When everyone was allowed back inside, I set up the puppet stage and prepared to perform the show.  Guests gradually entered the children’s theatre to see the show.  Then it was showtime!  Everything went well, the guests sang along to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, joined in for a few knock-knock jokes, and had some fun.  During our post-show meet & greet the puppets met a few of the children in the audience and passed out coloring sheets (with a few extras for later).

Wump Mucket Puppets with a young fan

I then began to pack up the puppets, sound equipment, and stage when a volunteer brought three children into the theatre.  She told me that they were with a sibling who had just been admitted to Children’s Hospital and had driven from Portsmouth, Ohio, about a two hour drive from Cincinnati.  The volunteer asked if I would bring the puppets back out for these children.  I didn’t miss a beat and brought out Cyril for some friendly chit-chat and a tune. Coleman then shared a couple of his knock-knock jokes and talked about the Bengals with the two boys and The Reds with the young lady.  Finally G’Wazzl barked “Jingle Bells” for the kids and wished them a good night and happy new year.  They left the theatre with some of our coloring sheets and smiles on their faces.

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke with Coleman the Sasquatch

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke with Coleman the Sasquatch at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

This is exactly why I am a puppeteer.  To bring a bit of happiness and joy to children through my puppet characters.

As I think about 2012, I have so many happy puppetry memories, here are a few:

  • The puppets performed to HUNDREDS of children and their families.
  • We brought the puppet show to the inner city and out to the country.
  • Two Cincinnati morning television shows and a radio program has us on the air as guests!
  • The first issue of Wump Mucket Puppets Comics was published and given away on Free Comic Book Day.
  • G’Wazzl and Coleman “launched” a U.F.O. from Fountain Square and Cyril sang a version of the WKRP in Cincinnati  theme during the same show.

Best of all, I had a fantastic time sharing my love of puppetry with so many happy people.  Thank you for an amazing year,  come see the  “puppets rock” again in 2013!

Wump Mucket Puppets puppeteer Terrence Burke with his puppets

 

Good Morning Cincinnati TV appearance

The Wump Mucket Puppets return to the Cincinnati television airwaves Thursday September 13th around 7:15am to appear as guests on Good Morning Cincinnati on Local 12.2.

Local 12 Good Morning Cincinnati

Cyril and Coleman will be chatting about our big show on Fountain Square this coming Saturday, September 15th at 3pm and 5pm as part of the Live It Up Downtown event. The event is family friendly & FREE and open to the public.  We hope you can join the fun!

Live It Up Downtown logo

If you are one of our many out of town fans, we hope to have a recording of our television appearance available for your viewing pleasure.