Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a puppet theater company based in Saxapahaw, is in the midst of performing their 19th annual puppet pageant, "In the Heart Of the Fire."
Senior writer Karyn Hladik-Brown spoke with Donovan Zimmerman, co-founder and co-director of Paperhand, about the creation of Paperhand, this year's pageant and the relationship between fire and stories.
The Daily Tar Heel: Can you tell me about how Paperhand came to be?
Donovan Zimmerman: I was doing my own mask-making up in New England. I was living there for a while in Connecticut, and I had become friends with Jan Burger, who's the co-founder and co-director. We had met through this thing called the Haw River Festival, which is an environmental education-based festival that is for fourth graders and it runs for three weeks and people camp out — the folks camp out and then the schools get bused in. So he and I met there and he was doing wood blocks and other stuff and then he just one year said, "Come on down this year if you're not busy and we can make a puppet show for that festival."
So I came down and we made our first show — that must've been in '98 maybe — and we just, you know basically it was a hit and people loved it and we made another one the next year and then we continued to just try to start building stuff, we just kept riding the wave further after the festival would happen and keep making stuff and doing shows at other little local venues, and then we did our first Forest Theatre show in 2000 — my daughter just said, "That was a long time ago." That's pretty much how it started, he and I collaborating and sharing a vision for basically taking our activism and turning it into our art.