Traditional Japanese Bunraku Puppetry At BYU January 16-17

As many of you know, one of my many projects is the Maxed Out Puppet Comedy Troupe.  We perform fairly frequently throughout Utah Country, and will be performing for the annual Puppetry Festival at the Salt lake County Library on Saturday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m.

We are also members of the Puppetry Arts Guild of Utah which hosts an annual puppetry workshop in April where you can learn all about puppets, puppet making, puppet performance, and see performances by puppeteers from all over Utah.

The Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe, based at the University of Missouri, will be performing at the Pardoe Theatre at Brigham Young University in Provo, on January 16th and 17th.

Bunraku is an amazing form of traditional Japanese Puppetry, more properly called ningyō jōruri.

Martin Holman, is the coordinator of the Japanese studies program at University of Missouri and the director of the troupe.  He studied Japanese at BYU, and is the first non-Japanese to ever be trained in and perform ningyō jōruri in Japan.

Holman contacted us through our Utah Puppetry website. ” We are, to my knowledge, the only troupe outside Japan that performs traditional Japanese puppetry,” he said.  He wanted to clarify that he was slightly misquoted in the BYU press release.

The release stated:

“Though this performance will be family friendly, Bunraku is intended for adults. Some thematic elements could frighten young children, Holman said.

Holman clarified to us:

“I am not quite quoted accurately at one point. Kids from kindergarten up will probably be okay with the show, but it could be boring for younger kids (because they will be seated in a large theater, which doesn’t always work for little kids) or just a bit scary for early elementary age if they skittish. (We have been known to take some puppets out into the audience.)”

The performance will also be entirely in Japanese, with English supertitles, which could also be a factor for parents to consider for their individual children.  But families, including children, are encouraged to come.

Holman also indicated that if ticket sales warrant it, BYU may add a matinee on Saturday.  Tickets are $11, or $6 with a BYU or student ID, and are available online at, by phone at (801) 422-4322 or in person at the Harris Fine Arts Center Ticket Office.

Don’t miss this chance to expereince this beautiful cultural experience with your family.

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