Blair Thomas & Co. Puppet Theater
A bit of a one-man-band, through puppets Blair is able to tell deep and complex stories with the various characters often being different extensions of his own personality. Right! Not your average puppet show!
— The Huffington Post
Catalyst Ranch Ignite Theatre presents its next feature: The Blair Thomas & Co. Living Room Tour. We sat down to interview Blair and here’s what he wants you to know.
Bio: Blair Thomas started his first puppet company The Palace Puppeteers when he was 10 years old and for three years toured churches and schools in his home town of Jacksonville, Alabama. The second company he started was Redmoon Theater in 1989 where he served as the artistic director and co-artistic director until 1998. During this time he was principal in the creation of all its productions, parades and pageants. He has now full heartedly returned to the puppet theater with the founding of his current company Blair Thomas & Company in 2002. Twice he has received the international UNIMA awards for excellence in the art of puppetry and twice awarded the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship award. He was the first artist to fill the Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland and currently teaches puppetry at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a drop out from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music but a graduate of Oberlin College.
Favorite thing to do in Chicago: Drink espresso at Intelligensia Coffee and visit the Garfield Park Conservatory
How did you become interested in puppets? Is there one particular puppet or puppet show that inspired you?
I saw a marionette show as a kid and loved it. After that my Grandmother bought me my own marionette…and the rest is history!
Why did you want to create a Living Room tour? What is it about people’s living rooms that changes or enhances the performance?
The Living Room tour provides an up close and personal experience that you just can’t get at the traditional theater. I wanted to make the fundraiser a different, more special experience where attendees can get up close and personal with the work, the show and the artists.
Tell us about a moment in life that made you proud.
For a school project my twin sons created a Leif Erikson Celebration Day complete with belly length beards along with swords and helmets to qualify themselves.
Do you have any humorous or bizarre stories from your past theater experiences you’d like to share?
A life-like life size puppet with a face molded from an actors face was being transported to a show when it was discovered by police. The puppet was in the car and covered with a blanket that had slipped partially away revealing the face. The police thought it was a kidnapping and one of our artists was nearly arrested!
What kind of projects or hobbies have you been working on outside the theater world?
I’m in charge of a brood of 60 hens. We sell their fresh eggs too. It’s quite a bit of work preparing things for the coming winter.
Tell us one thing you want everyone to know, that they might not already know, about puppets.
Like visitors from another place and time, puppets know things we don’t know. They can usher us through the thin veil between this world and the next.
For more info on the Living Room Tour or to purchase tickets please visit http://www.blairthomas.org/news/announcing-the-living-room-tour/