by Brent Eades
We have received this sad news from the Board of Directors of Puppets Up.
It is with profound regret and no small reluctance that the Board of Directors of the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival must announce that the 2017 Puppets Up! festival has been cancelled. Subsequent to this, the Board has concluded that in all likelihood, we cannot present a summer festival in following years.
The Festival was scheduled for August 11-13, 2017 in Almonte, in the heart of Mississippi Mills, Ontario. The Board decision was based on long-term financial circumstances as well as a steady decline in all revenue streams, including paid attendance, grants, and sponsorships, and we are unwilling to proceed in the face of a certain deficit. The financial and logistic challenges we and other small festivals face currently have led us to choose a path of prudence rather than recklessness. We deeply regret the impact this cancellation will have on our community, on our army of volunteers, sponsors, and supporters, and on our artists. We will miss seeing you all on the streets at Puppets Up.
For 12 glorious summers, Puppets Up! has been a highlight on the social calendar, a chance for old friends and new to meet, an opportunity to celebrate the strength of our community and the beauty and diversity of the art of puppetry. An entire generation of young people have grown up in this community with a knowledge of the art of puppet-building, and an appreciation for theatre and puppetry as an art form. That is a gift that we hope will endure.
As you may know, Puppets Up ended last summer in a deficit position. We are grateful for the support of the community in helping us out in our hour of need. We are cognizant of the efforts our volunteers and supporters made to allow fundraisers such as our Christmas show (“A Christmas Carol”) to succeed.
Although we are folding our tents, so to speak, we are not slipping away into the night. Puppets Up will be taking some time to think and refocus our efforts so that we can continue to participate in the community, and to spread the love of the art of puppetry in some new ways. We will be back, but in another form. To wit, we are helping with a fundraiser for the Almonte General Hospital on Thursday, May 4th, featuring an evening with Sir John A. MacDonald and Queen Victoria celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday..
The Board of Directors of Puppets Up! wishes to express profound thanks to all our patrons, sponsors, and most especially our volunteers who have produced this amazing event for over a decade.
Some photos from past years (Brent Eades)