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INVENTORY OF THE BREAD AND PUPPET THEATER ARCHIVES, 1962-1981, (bulk 1964-1975)
D-136  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bread and Puppet Theater Archives,
    Date (inclusive): 1962-1981,
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1964-1975)
    Collection number: D-136
    Creator: Bread and Puppet Theater
    Extent: 3.3 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    100 North West Quad
    Davis, California, 95616-5292
    Abstract: Founded by Peter Schumann, the Bread and Puppet Theater emerged as one of the first alternative theater groups of the 1960s and 1970s. Schumann incorporated religion and morality into the central anti-war theme of the plays. The Bread and Puppet Theater offered bread, baked by the group, to the audience at the beginning of every performance. Schumann believed that theater was as basic to life as bread. The Bread and Puppet Theater Archives (1962-1981, bulk dates 1964-1975) includes scripts, programs, monographs, and serials of the experimental theater.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research under regular Reading Room rules and copyright restrictions.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bread and Puppet Theater Archives, D-136, Department of Special Collections, University of California Library, Davis, California.

    Acquisition Information

    In 1975, Peter Schumann donated this collection to the Library. Material was added in 1981.

    Processing Information

    Lola Aguilar processed this collection and created its finding aid. Melissa Tyler encoded the finding aid.

    History

    Administrative History

    West German immigrant Peter Schumann (1934-) founded the Bread and Puppet Theater in New York in 1961. Influenced by the peace movement in New York, Schumann wrote radical anti-war plays for his puppet theater. He incorporated religion and morality into the central anti-war theme of the plays. The Bread and Puppet Theater offered bread, baked by the group, to the audience at the beginning of every performance. Schumann declared that theater was as basic to life as bread, hence the name. A street parade with masked puppeteers on stilts, oversized puppets up to twenty feet high, banners, and at times, over a hundred singing and dancing volunteers, preceded the plays. The plays contained little dialogue, usually spoken by a narrator. Schumann believed the plays' imagery communicated best in an outdoor setting, therefore most of the plays were performed outdoors. With only a small core of paid staff, the Bread and Puppet Theater relied on a fluctuating volunteer staff whose numbers changed according to each performance. Charging the audience a nominal fee, the group received most of its funds through grants and donations. The group performed in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Australia.
    The Bread and Puppet Theater expanded in 1970 when the group moved to Cate Farm in Plainfield, Vermont as theater-in-residence at Goddard College. They offered workshops in sculpture, mime, dance, story-making, puppet building and operation, music, and instrument making. The group also held workshops to produce Bread and Puppet publications. One of Schumann's plays, the Domestic Resurrection Circus, was first performed in 1971 at Plainfield as part of a two day festival. The festival became an annual event. Beginning in 1971, Universal Movement Theatre Repertory director Mark Amitin arranged performances for the Bread and Puppet Theater. After a cancelled series of performances for the North Jersey Cultural Council in 1973, Schumann severed his relationship with the booking agency. In 1974, Schumann moved the group to Glover, Vermont where the group opened a museum for their collection of Bread and Puppet Theater masks and puppets. The Bread and Puppet Theater continued to perform for national and international audiences.
    Sources:
    Bread and Puppet Theater 98, accessed 3 March 2004; available from http://www.scenesofvermont.com/bread&puppet/bread.htm
    Bread and Puppet Theater, 1962-1985, accessed 13 February 2004; available from http://bailey.uvm.edu:6336/dynaweb/findingaids/bredpupt/
    Brecht, Stephan. The Bread and Puppet Theater. New York: Routledge, Chapman, and Hall, Inc., 1988.
    Shank, Theodore. American Alternative Theater. New York: Grove Press, 1982.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Bread and Puppet Theater Archives is arranged in seven series: 1. Works by Bread and Puppet Theater, 2. Business Records, 3. Reviews, 4. Ephemera, 5. Photographic Materials, 6. Realia, and 7. Added Materials. Items span the years 1962 to 1981, but the bulk of the collection dates from 1964 to 1975. The collection contains published and unpublished works by the Bread and Puppet Theater and its founder and director Peter Schumann. The Theater's scripts, programs, monographs, and serials are mainly pictorial. The collection contains audiotape recordings of "Bread and Puppet Theater Rehearsal" and two video recordings: "Bread and Puppet Theater" and "The Meadow's Green." Also included in the collection are reviews, fliers, posters, photographic prints, and other ephemera related to the Bread and Puppet Theater's performances. Realia from the Bread and Puppet Theater's anti-bicentennial performance of A Monument for Ishi at the University of California, Davis campus in 1975, includes two banners, a mask, a sign, and a deer puppet. Business records are primarily limited to correspondence, press releases, contracts, site information, and clippings concerning arrangements made by Universal Movement Theatre Repertory Director Mark Amitin and the North Jersey Cultural Council in 1972 and 1973.

    Related Collections

    Other materials related to the Bread and Puppet Theater may be found in the following collections at Special Collections:
    D-145: Universal Movement Theatre Repertory Archives

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's online public access catalog:

    Subjects

    Bread and Puppet Theater
    Schumann, Peter, 1934-
    American drama--20th century
    Experimental theater--United States
    Puppet theater
    Street theater
    Masks
    Theater--Moral and ethical aspects
    Theater--Political aspects
    Theater--Religious aspects