PUTNEY -- On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sandglass Theater presents Puppets in Paradise, a two-day extravaganza of performance, food and community.

"Paradise" is the enchanted setting of landscape architects Gordon and Mary Hayward’s gardens. Walk the gardens, take in the colors and smells of lush herbs, flowers and other beautiful flora as you meet puppets, theater artists and musicians around each corner and behind every bush.

The "Puppets" are 10 spectacular and entertaining short performances presented throughout the day among the flora. Food and refreshments add to the delight.

Sandglass Theater welcomes back Shoshana Bass after several years in Boulder, Colo., working with the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Theatre. After entrancing countless children (and adults) at PiP 2011 with her role as the littlest elf in the stilt and puppet piece, "Orb," Shoshi returns to Puppets in Paradise with her partner Casey Beauchamp, a B-Boy, performing artist and acrobat from Colorado. Together they will amaze and inspire the audience with their site-specific piece created especially for "The Meadow" at the Hayward Gardens.

As two monkeys who emerge from the trees, Bass and Beauchamp create a playful and dynamic interaction between dance, acrobatics and environment. Using each other to propel, rise and roll, these two are caught in a delightful game of monkey-play and precarious balancing, all the while creeping ever closer to the audience

This year also welcomes the return of many past favorites with brand new pieces, as well as some exciting new faces .


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.. and hands.

Among the familiar faces will be Brooklyn’s WonderSpark Puppets, who wowed audiences last time with their entertaining "Dueling Chefs." They return with their version of "The Ant and the Grasshopper."

Also returning is Irish puppeteer and funnyman, Fergus Walsh, presenting his now infamous and hilarious "Mr. Cuddles" about an extremely uncooperative teddy bear.

Newcomers to the Puppets in Paradise roster, Sarah Nolen and Harrison Haney, will bring their piece "Tub Day" which recently played for enthusiastic audiences at the Puppeteers of America festival in Swarthmore, Penn.

Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass, artistic directors of Sandglass Theater, will also be unveiling their newest piece, a "crankie" based on the French Canadian folk tune "Au Bois, Marguerite."

The gardens, a thoughtful combination of informal New England landscaping and the more traditional English garden, provide the backdrop for the scenes being presented. Using specific locations such as the Haywards’ barn, the Woodland, Herb, and "Vermont Ruin" gardens as their stages, the artists will perform short pieces throughout the day.

Gourmet lunches, elaborate salads, desserts, beverages and ice cream will be for sale. Another special feature of this year’s Puppets in Paradise is a silent auction featuring rare puppets from the annals of Sandglass History. There will even be puppets created by Eric and Ines Bass that predate the founding of Sandglass Theater.

All proceeds from tickets, food, and concessions benefit Sandglass Theater’s projects and programs.

Sandglass Theater is a non-profit theater company located in Putney, which specializes in the art of puppet theater and performance work.

Volunteers help make Sandglass productions one of the most affordable family entertainment options in Windham County. "Puppets in Paradise" is a celebration of community, art, and the beauty of the New England environment.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Sandglass Theater at 802 387-4051, info@sandglasstheater.org or visit www.sanglasstheater.org.

Tickets are $13 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the Haywards’ garden on Saturday and Sunday.