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.  

2015 is rockin’ already!

2015 is rockin’ already!

So much is happening at Wump Mucket Puppets HQ!  Our August New England tour is beginning to fill in, and our 2015 Tri-State (OH, KY, IN) shows are looking great too!
Plus we have several new tunes, skits, and puppets in the works!

Do you know about the TV pilot that Terrence Burke will be puppeteering in?  Oh boy!  It’s a television show that teaches yoga to children called “Stretch of the Imagination”.  More details as soon as we can share ’em.  It’s a very cool production, we promise!

How about a Puppets n’ Pizza Party? 

Wump Mucket Puppets are teaming up with The Kitchen Factory in Northside to perform our zany puppet show for children while they enjoy kid-size slices of yummy pizza.   Saturday February 28th, 2 – 3 PMChildren ages 3 to12 may enjoy pizza and a healthy drink while watching our puppet show for only $7.00. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adult menu available.
Call Kitchen Factory at (513) 591-3333
if you have any questions.

RSVP on our Facebook Events Page

We promise to share more exciting Wump Mucket Puppets’ news soon. Thanks for your interest. Puppets ROCK!

Thank you 2013! You ROCKED!

I had planned to create an entertaining end of year review of Wump Mucket Puppets adventures in puppetry over 2013, then I caught the flu.  Ugh.  I am happy to share that I am on the mend, and will do my best to keep you interested in a look back at what was a FANTASTIC year for me performing my puppets.  Let’s get rolling…

Happy New Year 2013 photo collage from Wump Mucket Puppets

Looking back at my goals for 2013 I see that some were met, some were lost, and a few popped up while the year was in full swing.  Wump Mucket Puppets had the pleasure of performing all over Greater Cincinnati to thousands (yup –THOUSANDS!) of children and their families.  Not too shabby for a little puppet troupe fueled by a dream.

Terrence Burke of Wump Mucket Puppets displays tools while building new space cat puppet.

Terrence Burke displays his measuring and cutting skills while helping build the Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua puppet.

January was cold in Cincinnati.  It’s a very good time to stay inside and build a puppet.  You should try it!  The design team (Terrence, Lara, and Eleanor) put on their thinking caps to create a pet for our space traveling puppet pal G’Wazzl G’Wook.  What did we come up with?  Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua!  Learn more about Kitty here. 

Cyril and Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua rehearsing.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Cyril and Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua rehearsing.   Performed by Terrence and Eleanor Burke.

February started with a meeting with the producers of the local variety/talk show Cincinnality for Wump Mucket Puppets to make a possible television appearance.  A few good ideas were bounced around, yet sadly the program was canceled before anything was recorded.  We didn’t make it onto television this year, which is something that Coleman plans to change in 2014.

Cyril and Terrence Burke on the set of Cincinnality television show, February 5 2013.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Cyril and Terrence Burke on the set of Cincinnality television show, February 5 2013.

With the hope of the television appearance on the back burner, the puppet troupe kicked into gear for the public debut of our new puppet character Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Happen in Northside on February 16th.  What a night!  What a crowd!

Here’s a video clip from the show:

Keeping things rocking and rolling, the puppets (and their puppeteer) where interviewed on the Ted Clark After Dark show at the rock club MOTR.  The audience were a bit older than our usual crowd, and may have been drinking something other than chocolate milk. Perhaps that explains their choice of words?  Still it was fun to bring our brand of silliness into a rock club, and Ted was a cool host.  Big thanks to fellow puppeteer Ryan Moore that night.

Enjoy Cyril singing “A Song About Cryptozoology”:

Valentine’s Day was a little over a week late at Wump Mucket Puppets H.Q.  It’s not that we forgot the date, it’s the news that was received on Tuesday February 26th…

Yes fans and friends, we had been awarded our first scholarship!  We were really going to the 2013 Puppeteers of America National Puppetry Festival!  Yipee!!!

Marching along into the end of Winter, the troupe performed at St. Boniface School in Northside.  We were part of the school’s Right to Read Week, and from what we’ve been told were  a big hit!  Here’s part of the kind thank you note we received from the children’s teacher:

Dear Mr. Burke, 

Thank you so much for bringing your Wump Mucket Puppets to St. Boniface.  We loved them!  We were even inspired by your program to make our own hand puppets.

It was around this time that I gave a bit of thought to my philosophy of puppetry, it’s very simple:  “Share the knowledge.  Spread the joy.”

We dodged a few rain showers in April to begin a very busy Spring.  The puppets entertained guests at the Voice For the Innocent/Connections: A Safe Place event at Sharon Woods.  And while the television cameras were looking elsewhere, the microphones at Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate, WVXU were on -inviting us into their studio three times over the year!  Here’s our April interview with host Jim Stump, as we talk about Cincinnati’s National Day of Puppetry:

Terrence Burke and Wump Mucket Puppets on WVXU-FM

Bob Abdou, Linda Mason, Terrence Burke at Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild's National Day of Puppetry celebration

Bob Abdou, Linda Mason, Terrence Burke at Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild’s National Day of Puppetry celebration, April 20 2013 at Happen, Inc.

The members of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild presented a fantastic National Day of Puppetry with help from our host Happen, Inc.  It was marvelous to see so many happy people interested in puppetry!  I was a very proud father that day. My daughter performed with me, and even up-staged me to get BIG laughs!  Way to go Eleanor!

Eleanor and Terrence Burke give a pre-show warm up.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Eleanor and Terrence Burke give a preshow warm up at Cincinnati’s National Day of Puppetry celebration 2013.

If you have never attended a National Day of Puppetry, here’s a short video made by puppeteer Bill Yost:

At the beginning of May, we pointed the Wump Mucket mobile towards Columbus Ohio.  I was invited to speak about puppetry at Entertainer’s Camp, organized by our pal Bob Abdou.  What is Entertainer’s Camp?  It’s a day long, low-key, networking event for members of the variety arts (clowns, magicians, jugglers, balloon artists, and even puppeteers).

Terrence performs

Terrence performs “Dancing Queen” with Frank Cesario Entertainer’s Camp 2013

It was great to hang out with puppeteer pals and talk about…puppets!

Frank Cesario, Nate Brown, Terrence Burke at Entertainer's Camp 2013

Frank Cesario, Nate Brown, Terrence Burke at Entertainer’s Camp 2013

Best of all,  the end of day pie fight was a SMASHING success!

Terrence getting a pie in the face!  Entertainer's Camp 2013

Terrence getting a pie in the face! Entertainer’s Camp 2013.

Terrence Burke at Entertainer's Camp 2013

Who wants pie?!?

Then our Summer schedule blasted off like a rocket on it’s way to Mars!  It seemed like we were everywhere, well we were!  Libraries, schools, festivals,  there was no stopping our mighty little puppet troupe.  Somewhere we even found the time to give another chat, this time for the Cincinnati Women’s Connection.  It was during this speaking engagement that a member of the audience told me that my puppetry and love of using one’s imagination reminded her of one of my heroes, Fred Rogers.  I was flattered.

Terrence performs Cyril at the Cincinnati Women's Connection luncheon, July 18 2013.

Terrence performs Cyril at the Cincinnati Women’s Connection luncheon, July 18 2013.

August popped up quicker than you can say Puppetry Festival five times fast!  The car was loaded, the puppets safe in their cases, off to Swarthmore College we went.  We did make a stop along the way, Coleman gets hungry when traveling:


Now I won’t review an entire week, that’s been covered HERE.  However, I will repeat that attending the 2013 National Puppetry Festival was one of the happiest weeks in my life.  I was free to be my five year old self (more or less) for an entire week of nothing but puppets and puppeteers!  Will i be attending the 2015 festival?  You bet your Bert bedsheets I will!

Terrence Burke at 2013 National Puppetry Festival

Keep this puppeteer AWAY from sugary cereal!

Of course Cyril got into the spirit of the festival to perform during Potpourri:

We were even “heckled” by several Sesame Street puppeteers!

The Potpourri

The Potpourri “judges”:  Telly Monster, Grundgetta Grouch, and W. Performed by Martin Robinson, Pam Arciero, and Tyler Bunch. What’s in those cans?

As Autumn made it’s way to Cincinnati, the puppets and I kicked into festival season which brought us to the Edgewood Kentucky Fall Festival, CliftonFest, and a very special performance for our new pals at Saint Joseph Orphanage.  The big news for us was our new stage!

Wump Mucket Puppets perform in their new stage at Smale Riverfront Park

Wump Mucket Puppets perform in their new stage at Smale Riverfront Park, Cincinnati September 15 2013.

The stage was a planned project over 2013, and started late 2012 with the guidance and knowledge of California puppeteer Charles Taylor.  The construction of the stage was a team effort that included my neighbor, and fellow puppeteer, Jesse Mooney-Bullock.
Jesse opened his workshop to me and shared his woodcrafting skills as we constructed the stage together over a few Saturday mornings.

Wump Mucket Puppets stage being built at Bullooney PuppetWorks

Wump Mucket Puppets stage being built at Bullooney PuppetWorks, August 2013.

After I painted the frame, my wife Lara, and mother sewed the curtains for the new stage.

Sewing the curtains for the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Sewing the curtains for the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

We had our share of troubles, yet in the end things were worked out and the new puppet stage made it’s debut performance at Smale Riverfront Park on Sunday September 15, 2013.  This was a very special show for me.  I was performing on the same stage as my friend Jesse, who had helped me so much with the stage over the summer.  I was also performing my show for my mother, who lives in New England and has never seen my puppetry -as an adult that is.

Backstage at Smale Riverfront Park

Backstage at Smale Riverfront Park. Looks like the puppeteer wants you to like his Facebook page.

Terrence Burke with the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Terrence Burke with the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Puppeteer with his Mum

Puppeteer with his Mum at Smale Riverfront Park.

As we rolled out the new puppet stage, we also stopped by WVXU again to chat about our trip to the Puppetry Festival and upcoming performances. Cyril considers this the best interview he has given, enjoy:

WVXU has been a fantastic friend to Wump Mucket Puppets.

WVXU has been a fantastic friend to Wump Mucket Puppets.

Here we are with WVXU’s Around Cincinnati host Robyn Carey-Allgeyer.

In puppetry you must be ready to improvise in a split second.  Sometimes this means changing the show a little to engage the audience, sometimes it means packing all your staging and sound equipment away when the weather suddenly changes!  Our second performance at CliftonFest 2013 was in danger of being canceled due to the rain.  What could we do?  There were children waiting for a silly puppet show, I had puppets…  it’s showtime!

Wump Mucket Puppets perform a very odd version of Cinderella (in the rain) at CliftonFest 2013.

Eleanor warms up the audience with Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Northside Farmers Market.

At our final outdoor show of 2013. Eleanor warms up the audience with Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Northside Farmers Market.

With our outdoor shows finished for the year, we began to wind down and  prepare songs and skits for our silly holiday shows.  I have always loved watching the television Christmas specials such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without a Santa Claus, and love to perform my puppetry at Christmas time.  This year I donated a performance to another of our non-profit friends, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati.  The clients are a lovely audience, and always have kind words about my puppet show.

Terrence and Coleman the Sasquatch are in a mood for Christmas shows.

Terrence and Coleman the Sasquatch are in a mood for Christmas shows.

But wait, there is something very special that arrived in today’s mail -speedy delivery:

And there is is, more or less,  Wump Mucket Puppets had their busiest year ever!  We thank all our clients, audience members, fellow puppeteers, friends in the media, neighbors, friends, and family.  YOU are the reason I do my very best to create a family friendly puppet show that I would want to see with my children.  Thank you for your interest and allowing me to share my puppetry with you.  Puppets ROCK!

 

 

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.

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

 

Puppets ROCKED at Summerfair 2012!

What a wonderful day it was to be a puppeteer in Cincinnati, Ohio!  The Wump Mucket Puppets made their debut performance at the Youth Arts Stage at Summerfair Cincinnati and it was LOTS of F-U-N!  Many thanks to our GREAT audience, you were a pleasure to perform for.

Not only was this performance fun to do, it adds Wump Mucket Puppets to the list of fine puppeteers who have performed their act at historic Coney Island Park where Summerfair is held every June.  What list is that?  You may have heard of a couple of these folks:  Tony Sarg, Sid & Marty Krofft, Larry Smith, and I am sure many others.  WOW!  That’s practically a “who’s who” of American puppeteers!

Wump Mucket Puppets at Summerfair 2

As Coleman sings in his “Things That I Dream” song, “These are the things that I dream, and somehow they seem real to me”.  I am now living my childhood dream of being a performing puppeteer, and it is very real to me.  May this dream never end.