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Out of the Shadows: The Henson Festivals and Their Impact on Contemporary Puppet Theater

Event Details

Date: October 2, 2024
Time: 11:00 am
–12:00 pm

Join us for our Local Spotlight book talk series, featuring Leslee Asch, author of Out of the Shadows: The Henson Festivals and Their Impact on Contemporary Puppet Theater. A long-time Greenwich resident who worked with Jim Henson and The Jim Henson Company for over 20 years, Leslee will talk about her book and her experiences with the Henson International Festivals of Puppet Theater and The Jim Henson Company. Out of the Shadows presents a visually rich narrative of the festivals and their continued legacy, including a comprehensive look at the contemporary puppet theater landscape.

Jim Henson brought puppetry back into mainstream culture through Sesame Street, the Muppets, Fraggle Rock, and special projects like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Thousands of pages have been written about Jim Henson’s life and his vast creative output, however, only passing mention has been made of his dedication to and leadership in the field he loved. This book explores Jim’s love of the international world of puppet theater and how his contributions of time, expertise and resources forever changed contemporary puppet theater.

 Jim knew that in order to introduce American audiences to puppet theater our American companies would need to be seen with the best in the world. Thus, a festival! To realize Jim Henson’s vision for a puppetry festival in New York, the author served as producing director, working with Jim’s daughter Cheryl, who served as executive producer, to produce five award-winning festivals that would equal the European festivals and put U.S. puppet artists on the international stage.

Leslee will also talk about Jim Henson’s connections to Greenwich and exhibitions that have been held at the Greenwich Library and Greenwich Historical Society.

Books may be purchased at the Museum Store in advance or on the day of the program for signing by the author. Admission to the talk is FREE, but space is limited and registration is recommended.


Speaker Biography

Leslee Asch

Leslee worked with Jim Henson and The Jim Henson Company for over 20 years. She began her career as a puppet builder, and served as Director of Exhibitions for Jim Henson Productions, Executive Director of the Jim Henson Foundation, and Producing Director of the Henson International Festivals of Puppet Theater.

She is a recognized expert in the field and has published articles and catalogs on the subject, including for the exhibition she curated for The Katonah Museum of Art, The Art of Contemporary Puppet Theater. She also served as Executive Director of National Dance Institute and Silvermine Arts Center. As Chair of the Flinn Gallery Committee, she continues to curate exhibitions.

She has lived in Old Greenwich for 30 years with her husband Will Morrison. Their two sons went through the Greenwich public school system.