Help save this 1930's marionette theater and cast of rare trick puppets sending marionette theater to puppetless kids everywhere!
This project is temporarily on hiatus and will be relaunched in a good wee bit replete with an introduction video - revised goals & rewards - and accompanying publicity materials... an updated link will be added at that time. Check back in a few weeks!
Also, I just found out that I'm a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge finalist - 1 of 57 out of over 1200 (woo hoo!!!) - and if that happens then I may have the opportunity to set up the touring antique marionette theater as a long term or even permanent South Florida program slated to reach approx. 20,000 to 50,000 audience members per year for the first two years alone. Wish me luck!
Milo Safran Fox
"I am so pleased that Mr. Fox is working to restore & preserve this rare & wonderful collection of marionettes & stage from the Lincoln Marionettes of the 1930s. It is unusual that both stage & marionettes survive from a company of that time period. This is an important historical preservation project that will allow future generations to be entertained by these unique art pieces. I wish all success to Mr. Fox & look forward to the day when I can see these miniature thespians again performing as they did in the first half of the 20th Century." - Phillip Huber, renowned marionette artist and creator of the mind boggling puppet scenes in Spike Jonze's film Being John Malkovich.
Hello, my name is Milo Fox and I'm a professional marionette puppeteer.
A year ago I was granted the largest marionette theater in the United States from the 1930s along with the theater's large cast of extremely rare trick marionettes (string puppets).
With My Kickstarter Project I'd Like To:
Restore & reassemble this rare antique marionette theater along with the best of the trick puppets . . .
Then build a marionette puppet show . . .
& Then truck it on over to parks, schools and theaters bringing the magic of marionette theater to disenfranchised & underfunded kids, families, youth living with adverse life circumstances such as cancer, poverty, physical, mental, and societal challenges, charities, schools, non-profits & curious passersby - as I did for 4 years with the City Parks Foundation in NYC where I performed for an official city estimate of 300,000 people (& 73,000 squirrels).
Donate In Less Than 2 Minutes:
It's easy, just click the big green button that says "BACK THIS PROJECT" located on this page. Then follow the simple steps. It takes less than 2 minutes to complete the entire process.
Where Do Your Donations Go?
When I did this work with Puppets In The Parks & The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater under the auspices of the City Parks Foundation in NYC we had a $75,000 budget per show with up to a year to build it. This figure does not include the many hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, plus theater upkeep, trucks, workshop supplies, insurance, etc. By doing most of the work myself - with the advice and guidance of some of my mentors - including Phillip Huber who has generously offered his assistance with the antique puppets - and forgoing the operating costs and bureaucracies of one of the largest non-profits in the world - I can facilitate everything involved with this ambitious project for much less.
- Work Space/Potential Theater Space Big Enough To Set Up The Very Tall, Very Wide Theater & Workshop: Minimum 1 yr rent + utilities: Approx. $2200 +/- a month. This is the single biggest expense.
- Truck Rental to transport the theater to the warehouse and shows, plus mileage fee, gas, tolls, etc: Depending on the distance (and also renting vs. buying a vehicle and the number of shows): $100 - $5000
- Workshop Tables & Power Tools: $1000 +/-
- Linseed or other Wood Oils, Lots of Wood Hardener, Wood Epoxy, Metal Bands, Hardware, Tools, Brushes, Filtering Mask - to treat, refurbish, reinforce and weatherproof the delicate antique wood (particularly the load bearing elements) that was stored in a non-climate controlled free-standing garage on Long Island for many decades: $250 to $700
- NSP Plastiline Clay & Plaster of Paris to sculpt and mould the marionette show and puppet prizes: +/- $300
- Neoprene to cast puppet heads, hands, feet, etc: +/- $500
- $$$ to pay professional actors and singers to record the show (nepotism!): $0 to $5000
- Wood, Cloth, ladders, Rope, Black Deep Sea Fishing Line, Paints, Brushes, Glue, Drop Cloths, Misc. Hardware, etc: +/- 1000
- Portable Touring Speakers: +/- $500
- Extra Quiet Portable Generator (donations permitting): $250 - $1000
- Very Basic Lighting: +/- $250
- Basic Sound Board: +/- $200
- Basic Light Board: +/- $200
- 5% OF DONATIONS GO DIRECTLY AS FEES TO KICKSTARTER, & ANOTHER 3 - 5% GO TO AMAZON.
- DONATIONS SURPASSING THE MINIMUM TOTAL PLEDGE: (hey, I have a lot of antique wood in climate controlled storage to knock on) will be used to sponsor performances and build a more technically modern and creatively nuanced show. Donations permitting - a costumer may be hired, actors and puppeteers paid to record and perform, and possibly even buy a truck to transport the show. Better tools and equipment could also be acquired. It would also be great to have a meeting with master marionette artists such as Addis Williams and Phillip Huber - true masters of the craft - to get their input and expertise in the restoration of the trick puppets - particularly the most complex ones - the breakaway dancing skeleton and the trapeze monkey.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT IF THE PROJECT MINIMUM IS NOT MET THEN ALL PLEDGES ARE CANCELED. This is how Kickstarter assures there are sufficient resources to complete projects. Also, you can change or cancel your donation any time until midnight June 15th (in honor of National Smile Power Day :)
& Of Course The Rewards!
- PUPPETS! - PROFESSIONAL QUALITY Limited Edition Handcrafted Finger Puppets, Hand Puppets, & Marionettes! These are NOT the toy puppets you're used to. Heavier, meticulously detailed, (and much more difficult and expensive to make). The weight of these puppets - achieved by the use of optimum materials properly balanced - is a major secret in creating expressive puppets. Featuring sculpted, cast and hand painted neoprene heads, tailored costumes, animated or posable arms capable of holding objects, weighted rings on the opening of the "finger sleeve" to facilitate donning & doffing the puppets, and smaller hanging loops for those lighting fast puppet changes. IF YOU WOULD LIKE ADDITIONAL PUPPETS simply specify which puppets you would like and add the discounted price of $65 per additional finger puppet, $90 per additional hand puppet, & $490 per additional marionette.
- TICKETS - $10 Tickets to a show performed on the recommissioned antique theater! - Reserved for you or delivered on your behalf to puppetless kids, groups & organizations closer to the production - locations to be determined at the completion of this project but will most likely be by the east coast of the United States between Florida and NYC.
WHO AM I? WHY AM I QUALIFIED TO DO ALL THIS?
My name's Milo and I'm a professional marionette puppeteer (and proof the Fates are sometimes laughing). For 5 years I worked with several well-known NYC and Brooklyn marionette theaters including: The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater, NYC & Brooklyn, The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in NYC's Central Park, and Puppets In The Parks, NYC & Surrounding Boroughs. I'm also a graduate of a notable theater conservatory in NYC, a mini-epic poeticist, violin aficionado, and Tai Chi Chuan enthusiast and instructor.
Last year I was the Assistant Executive Director of the Puppetry Arts Center of the Palm Beaches in downtown Delray Beach, FL where the antique trick marionettes have been on display in their popular puppetry arts museum.
Throughout my first 4 years of working as a full time string puppeteer I performed for an official NYC estimate of 300,000 people, with audience members including notables such as the Hensons and David Bowie out and about with his family. (Honestly, I think the city might over-estimate those figures a bit for grant purposes, but you didn't hear it from me;)
Most of those 300,000 or so, however, were countless disenfranchised and under-served youth and families throughout NYC and its surrounding boroughs. Contrary to popular belief the job of a full time touring marionette puppeteer is not all autographs and sparkle dust, it's also very rigorous and physically demanding. While loading in the hundred pound stage pieces every day I'd sometimes think of that Army slogan about getting a lot done in the morning - but in my mind I always heard "We make more kids smile before 10AM than most people do all day...".
Some of my co-workers (by which I mean teachers & mentors):
- the legendary Addis Williams whose puppet company built and performed giant marionettes and shadow puppets for Eva Le Gallienne's 1947 Broadway production of Alice In Wonderland starring William Windom, Julie Harris and Eli Wallach. Don't miss these amazing & masterful puppets based on the original Alice In Wonderland illustrations!
- the critically acclaimed Vit Horsen and his equally acclaimed Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater
- the proprietor and impresario of popular Park Slope's Puppetworks, Nicolas Coppola.
FLING PUPPETS: A Brief History of the Largest Marionette Theater in the Country & the Impresarios (oooooh...)
One of the reasons the Fling estate granted the theater to me is that of all the puppeteers, museums, and institutions that applied (including the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of CT) I was the only one who was truly excited about the theater itself, in all it's resplendent, erstwhile and potential glory. It's a real dream factory, a real smile machine.
Some Interesting Facts About Marionettes . . .
Marionette is the proper name for a puppet controlled from above by strings and literally translates as little little Mary.
The first marionettes were characters from the Bible used by the Catholic Church to show morality plays in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Mary of course was a prominent character.
If you've ever met any puppeteers then you'll understand why they were soon ousted by the church but didn't lose heart and quickly set up shop on the streets outside the churches staging satirical plays.
The art form of marionettes quikly rose to such popularity that none other than Master Shakespeare himself - and his musical highness Wolfgang Mozart - witnessed their own works performed by marionette theaters. (No way!? Way!)
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HEARTFELT CONTRIBUTION! This pledge includes not only a personal thank you in the very first marionette show's playbill - but also the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you helped bring at least one brand new smile into this world.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
1 OR MORE TICKETS TO A SHOW PERFORMED ON THE ANTIQUE THEATER - reserved for you or delivered on your behalf to puppetless kids, families, groups & organizations - plus a personal thank you in the show's first playbill. The east coast dates and locations are not yet set. For extra tickets added to this or any other reward add $10 per additional ticket with bonus tickets starting at 10 tickets (see $100 ticket pledge).Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
HIGH QUALITY HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE ORIGINAL SHOW PRODUCED at the end of the project - plus a personal thank you in the show's playbill.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATED MARIONETTE SHOW POSTER! - plus the HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE SHOW - and a personal thank you in the playbill. Please add $5 for domestic shipping and handling, $7 international. (Poster delivered before download).Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
FINGER PUPPET #2! Professional Quality Handcrafted Limited Edition WHITE BIRD IN BLUE COAT WITH FEATHERS INSTEAD OF HANDS POKING OUT OF HIS SLEEVES - Includes a FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATED MARIONETTE SHOW POSTER - plus an HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE SHOW - and a personal thank you in the show's first playbill. Puppet features sculpted, cast and hand painted neoprene heads, tailored costumes, posable arms capable of holding objects, weighted rings on the opening of the "finger sleeves", and smaller hanging loops for those lightning fast puppet changes. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Please include $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
FINGER PUPPET #1! Professional Quality Handcrafted Limited Edition PRINCESS WITH VERY TALL PINK POINTY HAT - Includes a FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATED MARIONETTE SHOW POSTER - plus an HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE SHOW - and a personal thank you in the show's first playbill. Puppet features sculpted, cast and hand painted neoprene heads, tailored costumes, posable arms capable of holding objects, weighted rings on the opening of the "finger sleeves", and smaller hanging loops for those lightning fast puppet changes. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Please include $10 for domestic shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
HAND PUPPET: Professional Quality Handcrafted Limited Edition PERSON DRESSED AS FOX IN GREEN COATTAILS HAND PUPPET - Includes a FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATED MARIONETTE SHOW POSTER - an HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE SHOW - and a personal thank you in the show's first playbill. Puppet features sculpted, cast and hand painted neoprene head, tailored costume, animated arms capable of manipulating objects, weighted ring on the opening of the "hand sleeve", and smaller hanging loop for those lightning fast puppet changes. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Please include $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
BONUS TICKETS: 15 TICKETS FOR THE PRICE OF 10! Includes a FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATED MARIONETTE SHOW POSTER - an HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE SHOW - and a personal thank you in the show's first playbill. Please include $5 local shipping and handling, $7 international. Tickets reserved indefinitely for you and/or delivered on your behalf to appreciate audiences closer to the production.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $140 or moreYou selected
BOTH FINGER PUPPETS! The Pointy Hatted Princess & The White Bird in Blue Coat. You also receive the full color illustrated marionette show poster - hd digital download of the show - and a personal thank you in the playbill. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $155 or moreYou selected
PERSON DRESSED AS A FOX IN GREEN COATTAILS HAND PUPPET - plus 1 FINGER PUPPET OF YOUR CHOICE (see descriptions above). You also receive the full color illustrated marionette show poster - hd digital download of the show - and a personal thank you in the playbill. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $222 or moreYou selected
ALL 3 PUPPETS! THE POINTY PRINCESS & WHITE BIRD FINGER PUPPETS - plus THE PERSON DRESSED AS A FOX IN GREEN COATTAILS HAND PUPPET. You also receive the full color illustrated marionette show poster - hd digital download of the show - and a personal thank you in the playbill. Puppets shipped before other prizes. Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
MARIONETTE PUPPET... WARNING: STRINGS ATTACHED! You are unlikely to find a puppet maker who will make you a marionette of this quality for less than $1000 and likely closer to $2000 and up. $500 IS A ONE TIME ONLY KICKSTARTER OFFER. You'll also receive the full color illustrated poster - hd digital download of the show - producer's credit - plus a marionette lesson should you ever make it to a show. Limited edition creation featuring: sculpted, neoprene cast, hand painted and moveable heads; moveable wooden bodies, arms, legs and feet; handcrafted "air plane" style controllers with with 9 traditional strings (head, shoulders, hands, legs & back). To include the other 3 puppets in this pledge add $200. (Also, if anyone orders more than one marionette I can make them different characters if you like). Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $550 or moreYou selected
A WHOLE SHOW! You just created 1 FULL SCALE MARIONETTE PERFORMANCE... That's a whole lot of smiles. You also receive the myriad rewards for the $222 pledge - PLUS a producer's credit in the production's playbill. You'll be thanked in the pre-show and mentioned as the quick witted and dashing benefactor to all the news and media covering the event that you made possible. Also, If you ever come to a show you and your guests may attend a special backstage tour showcasing the antique trick puppets and the secrets of their strings! Marionette puppeteers of the past would never let anyone see backstage. Their livelihoods depended on the clever artifices and were a closely guarded secret. Some of these puppets have stringings dating back many hundreds of years and of which there are very few records, if any. Please add $10 for local shipping & handling of puppets, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $575 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
BEING PHILLIP HUBER: All of the myriad rewards from either the $500 or $550 pledges - PLUS AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE MOVIE BEING JOHN MALCOVICH SIGNED BY WORLD RENOWNED MARIONETTE ARTIST PHILLIP HUBER who created & manipulated the puppets for Spike Jonze's hit movie! Watch the amazing marionette scenes on your very own signed copy which you'll receive in advance of the other rewards! Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
PHILANTHROPIST'S DELIGHT: All of the extensive rewards for the $550 show pledge - plus one of the marionettes (that's all 4 puppets!). Add $10 for local shipping & handling, $15 international.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
One of a kind TRICK JUGGLING MARIONETTE - Built using the complex and clever stringings learned from the antique trick marionettes. There is no sketch at this time - I like to discover the character as I sculpt it and not figure out the exact dimensions before then. I will try to build and deliver it before the estimated delivery date. It will be a work of art that functions at the professional level. The main problem with most beautiful marionettes created by artists is that the jointing is incorrect and the movements are very imprecise with many faults - creating an awkwardly moving puppet. This puppet will both look good and work like the professional little actor that it is. You'll notice that in most marionettes, even in very beautiful ones, that the joints sometimes move in an unnatural way, destroying the illusion. It's all in the jointing techniques which only a handful of puppet builders in the U.S. fully understand and utilize to optimum effect.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
LITTLE WINGED LION MARIONETTE: I will sit down and make for you one one of a kind fully functional, more than professional quality, little winged lion marionette - from scratch. Each intricate piece individually sculpted and cast or carved, painstakingly painted, jointed & weighted for optimum movement, balanced & strung on a custom wooden "airplane" style controller. Flapping Wings, Moveable Head, Limbs, Paws & Tail. SEE CARTOONY SKETCH TO THE LEFT. You'll also receive all 4 other puppets including the marionette - plus the full color illustrated poster - hd digital download of the show - & producer's credit. Also a backstage tour showcasing the secrets of the trick puppets and a marionette lesson should you ever come to a show.Estimated delivery:
- (59 days)