History of The Puppet Showplace Theatre
Founding the Puppet Showplace Theatre
The Puppet Showplace Theatre (PST) was founded in June 1974 by visionary educator and puppeteer Mary Churchill. Mary saw puppetry as a powerful medium for teaching children, stimulating their creativity, and introducing them to the experience of live theatre. Until her untimely death in 1997, Mary was a regular performer, tireless administrator, and generous benefactor at PST.
Award-winning artist Paul Vincent Davis, widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost glove puppeteers, became PST’s Artist in Residence in 1976. He remained active as a performer until his retirement in 2007. Davis continues to serve on PST’s board of trustees and, as the theatre’s Artist in Residence Emeritus, serves as a mentor for PST’s current Artist in Residence Brad Shur.
Under Churchill and Davis’ care PST’s reputation and audience grew, and the theatre expanded in 1980 to occupy its current storefront location in Brookline Village. Today, as “New England’s Puppet Theatre” PST welcomes over 20,000 patrons each year and reaches thousands more through touring performances and community outreach efforts.
PST’s programming has continuously grown to meet the needs of the community. In addition to popular shows for families and school groups, PST is credited with creating the country’s first adult “puppet slam,” a cabaret-style of short form puppet theatre now popular across the U.S. PST has also demonstrated a commitment to educating the next generation of puppetry artists through workshops, residencies, camps, classes and professional development opportunities for artists.
PST has received numerous awards and recognitions ranging from the Eliot Norton Award (Special Citation) for Excellence to the “Favorite Family Entertainer” listing in the Boston Parent’s Paper. Today, PST’s success is reflected in our audience, which includes the children of children who attended shows when the theatre was first founded.