Bart Buch is a puppet artist, poet, and teaching artist. He started in puppetry 20 years ago by creating bedtime puppet shows, about a salmon and starfish falling in love, in his backyard for friends and neighbors. Since the salmon and starfish stories, his aesthetic has stayed rooted in the poetic, romantic and intimate, but deepened in skill, style, and technique. Bart focuses on interpreting poetry from written text into puppetry arts performances and looks for the poetic qualities of any story to highlight. He seeks to convey poetry through evocative and gestural puppet movement, strong visual imagery, usually a lack of spoken word, and an enveloping musical language. Bart has presented several small independent puppet shows working with the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, Mark Doty, Adrienne Rich, Wendell Berry, Samuel Coleridge, Rumi, Federico Garcia Lorca, Walt Whitman, Dar Williams, and others, as well as his own poetry.
In 2007, after three years of development funded partially by the Jim Henson Foundation, Bart produced Ode to Walt Whitman. This show uncovers an unspoken dialogue between Federico Garcia Lorca and Walt Whitman. It uses five types of puppets, a projected online chat room, and live acoustic/electronica music. This show honed his artistic voice and represented a great developmental accomplishment in his work. In 2009, he performed Ode to Walt Whitman at Here Arts Center in New York City to sold out shows, earning an illustration in The New Yorker and high praise from the Jim Henson Foundation. He has recently received another Henson grant to develop new show called nature boy in 2012.
Bart has also worked at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre for 20 years as an Associate Artist developing, teaching, performing, and building puppet theatre of all types. He is currently Director of Youth and Community Programs and a member of the Artistic Leadership Team at In the Heart of the Beast. Heart of the Beast has served as a home in his puppetry career but he has ventured far and wide to find very specific training and growth opportunities. Bart has trained with Eric Bass of Sandglass Puppet Theatre in Vermont and worked with Basil Twist, Artistic Director of The Dream Music Puppetry Program in New York City, on his productions of Red Beads and Petrushka. Both of these internationally recognized puppet artists share his interest in exploring the intersection of poetry and puppetry. His studies with Michael Rohd, Artistic Director of Sojourn Theatre in Portland, Oregon, explored a different intersection of theatre, democracy, and inclusion of authentic community perspectives.
Bart also independently creates large-scale but intimate ritual theatre events using puppetry. In August, 2009 and 2010, he created The Peace Day Lantern Ceremony with Masanari Kawahara in Minneapolis to commemorate the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ceremony included large-scale puppet projection onto an island, butoh inspired dance with an intergenerational troupe, lantern puppets, and floating lanterns.
Bart is a 2017-18 Mcknight Theatre Artist Fellow at the Playwrights' Center.
“I work to contribute to a new paradigm in a world that honors the place of queer theory and poetry in our cultural evolution, commits to and nurtures the invaluable visions of youth and children, and recognizes the need to ritualize intimate connections of people to one another and to a sense of place.” -Bart Buch