Piccadilly Puppets Announces Rachel Frawley as New Artistic and Managing Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATLANTA, GA September 19, 2022 – Atlanta’s touring puppetry company, Piccadilly Puppets, has selected a brand-new Artistic and Managing Director. In support of the company’s mission to provide puppetry experiences of high artistic quality to young audiences, The Piccadilly Puppets Company (PPC)  is excited to move forward with new leadership. 

Incoming Artistic and Managing Director Rachel Frawley is an Atlanta based actor, writer and producer. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University and is an apprentice company graduate of the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. In addition to acting, she has narrated over 30 audiobook titles, and was a producer for the Weird Sisters Theatre Project for their 2017 and 2018 seasons. She has taught and directed acting camps, classes and master classes for theatres and studios across Atlanta. Rachel has worked and continues to train as an intimacy professional, and is enrolled in courses with the Association of Mental Health Coordinators. Currently she is writing, directing and producing a new children’s puppet musical for Synchronicity Theatre’s Stripped Bare series.

Veteran puppeteer Nancy Riggs has led the company for the past eleven years. She has endeavored to continue and grow PPC’s commitment to making puppetry accessible, interactive and affordable to underserved communities.  At her recent decision to step back from the role of Director, she led the search for her successor. “Piccadilly Puppets has been a wonderful part of my life for 25 years, and I hope to continue to be involved as a puppeteer and advisor for the near future” says Ms. Riggs. “However, I am ready to hand off leadership of the company to someone with new energy and vision. Rachel has just the combination of artistic and administrative skills needed, along with a love of children and puppets! I am excited to see how she moves the company forward.”

Rachel Frawley is thrilled to take on this opportunity, and is committed to honoring and expanding PPC’s stellar work entertaining and educating young audiences.

Piccadilly Puppets is a 501(c)3 non-profit touring puppetry company. Since its inception in 1970, Piccadilly Puppets has produced and performed puppet plays for schools, theaters, festivals and a variety of community organizations in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Incorporated in 1976, the nonprofit organization has been awarded a Citation for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the oldest international theatre organization in the world. 

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For more information, contact Nancy Riggs, (404) 636-0022, piccadillypuppets@gmail.com

Remaining public summer shows:

LeeAnna performing A Shore Thing at the Fayetteville Public Library

We have been so busy this summer that we have neglected to post a lot of our library and park shows, but there are still chances to come see us for free!

In Alabama: Wednesday, July 20 at 10:00 am CST A Shore Thing B. B. Comer Memorial Library 314 N. Broadway Ave., Sylacauga, AL

Sandy Springs: Saturday, July 23 at 3:00 pm A Shore Thing Sandy Springs Library 395 Mount Vernon Hwy NE Sandy Springs, GA 

DeKalb County: Wednesday, July 27 at 11:00 am A Shore Thing and a puppet-making workshop N. H. Scott Recreation Center 2230 Tilson Rd. Decatur, GA

Madison, GA: Friday, July 29 at 6:30 pm (2 shows between 6:30 and 8:30) Cat and Mouse Tales Firefly Festival in Town Park, Madison, GA

DeKalb County: Saturday, August 6 at 11:00 TBD show and workshop in another Dekalb park – watch our social media!

See us at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody for Kids to Parks Day on May 21 – interpreted into ASL

The puppet show, Once Upon a Time in China, will be at 12:30.

The show will be interpreted into American Sign Language by Hands In.

Cherokee Tales updated and available for in-person performances!

Trail of Tears portion of Cherokee Tales

Sequoyah teaches students about Cherokee culture and history, including his famous syllabary. With the help of puppets and audience volunteers, the puppeteer/storyteller recounts Cherokee myths about the creation of Cherokee land and how the brave Spider brought fire to the animals. Then the students learn about the Trail of Tears and more. Optional section about the seven clans. This new version was written by playwright Kara Morrison, an enrolled member of the Waccamaw Siouan tribe and a descendant of the Cherokee Nation.

CHEROKEE TALES– preK-4th grade, 30-45 minutes. Hand and Rod puppets.

Farewell to 2021!

2021 was still challenging due to the ups and downs of the pandemic, but there were highlights! (see below)

Bookings for shows began to pick up a bit. We still did some virtually while increasing the number of indoor and outdoor shows we were able to do in-person. We were able to start doing workshops again.

We celebrated an amazing 50 years of Piccadilly Puppets with our Fabulous 50th Zoomiversary party! Our founder, Ken Daniel, recorded a video of how he got started in puppetry. Nancy put together a Keynote presentation of photos through the decades. Other puppeteers, board members & friends attended and some sent videos or told stories. (We had originally scheduled a party for October 2020 but postponed and went virtual).

Birthday parties came back stronger. It seems that many families wanted at home parties, so we did even more birthday shows and workshops than usual.

We were finally able to perform our revamped version of Cherokee Tales, adapted by Kara Morrison with many new puppets and props by Stephanie Kaskel Bogle. So nice to have kids up on stage with us again. We are looking forward to many more shows of this in the future!

We were also able to perform all three of our Christmas shows this year – again, indoors, outdoors & virtually!

COVID-19 isn’t gone, but neither is Piccadilly Puppets! Hope to see you in 2022!

Virtual options still available!

Still not allowed to have visitors into your school? Can’t afford to pay travel costs to bring Piccadilly Puppets to your group? Need an option for virtual content for those last-minute short-term shutdowns?

Puppeteer holding a carrot rod puppet
Puppetry 101 Streaming class

Our virtual content is still available!

All of our shows can be used to help teach Fine Arts and English Language Arts standards. Use Butterfly Ballad to enhance your Science lessons or Cherokee Tales for Social Studies. Other titles include Cat and Mouse Tales and Puppetry 101. Check out our Show pages for more info.

Prices are very reasonable, and you can easily share videos with students at home as well as in the classroom! Watch a video at whatever time is most convenient, then schedule a live demonstration and Q&A session with a puppeteer (optional).

Most content is on YouTube through a private link you will be sent once you purchase a show. Prices start at $20 per classroom. You can check out a few free videos first. (Note: many promotional videos made from live shows are lower quality than the shows filmed in 2020, so if you are watching a video with a live audience, don’t use that video to determine the quality of what is available for purchase).

Business is building back up!

With restrictions easing and our puppeteers vaccinated, we are doing more in-person shows and have added in-person workshops back into the mix. We are still offering virtual shows, too!

A photo of our booth-style puppet stage, set up on a sunny day in a park. The puppeteer stands inside wearing a bright floral shirt and holding a yellow, black & white caterpillar rod puppet. The stage has a dark green curtain and a large foam plant covered with bright green felt on the front.
Puppeteer Fracena Byrd performed Butterfly Ballad in Jess Lucas Park in Hapeville on a beautiful day in April.

Piccadilly Puppets celebrates Arts in Education Week!

A group of Kindergarten students holing shadow puppets they made in a workshop
Kindergarten students in a shadow puppet workshop

Whether you are a student, educator, parent, or principal, you can find a way to celebrate the arts in education during National Arts in Education Week.

The arts are an essential part of a complete education, no matter if it happens in the home, school, or community. Students of all ages benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. Celebrating National Arts in Education Week is a way to recognize this impact and share the message with friends, family, and communities.

Right now, many schools are virtual or limited in how they hold classes, and it might be easier to put off arts education “until things get better”. Schools need to spend money on masks and cleaning and maybe running more busses, and money for the arts just might not seem as important, but for some children, the arts are everything!

We salute artists that are stretching themselves creatively to find new ways to give performances for young audiences. We salute teachers who are spending twice as much time developing lessons to give virtually. We encourage schools and other organizations to be open to new ideas for bringing the arts to all of your students.

  • Arts education promotes academic achievement: A 2020 study of over 112,000 students showed that “highly engaged instrumental music students were, on average, academically over one year ahead of their peers.”
  • Arts education advances social and emotional development.
  • Arts education reduces disciplinary infractions: A recent study showed that arts education experiences reduce the proportion of students in school receiving disciplinary infractions by 3.6%.
  • Stay enrolled and graduate: Low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.

Every school day needs arts education!

Shows are happening, outdoors & in!

We are doing live shows for small groups! We can set up one of our regular puppet shows from our Shows page, or just perform our Pop-up Puppets variety show right out of the Puppet Van. We are also doing shows inside for daycares. We are offering special COVID-19 pricing throughout the summer and possibly into the fall.

We have two shows available online now, also! You can arrange for your group or your family to watch Butterfly Ballad or Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.

Keep watch on our Facebook page for upcoming free short videos. We will be offering Fabulous Fable Fridays every week in August at 10:00 am!

See our previous post for additional ideas and information.