Jane Catherine Shaw – BIO
Jane Catherine Shaw began working with puppetry in Atlanta, Georgia at the Center for Puppetry Arts. She has calculated that
as a puppeteer there she gave roughly 2000 performances in both its Children’s Theatre series as well as its Adult Theatre series.
Her prior work as an actress and as a mime enabled her to approach puppetry in a unique way and as a resident artist at the Center, she was frequently cast in leading female and male roles. She acted them both as master manipulator and as vocal actress
in puppet styles ranging from hand puppets, shadow puppets, marionettes, body puppets, hand and rod, rod, (also erroneously called Bunraku), and others. She curated the Center's XPT and FTW workshops for two years and mediated the post show feedback sessions, co-authored its main stage production DINOSAURS, and created works for the Center's Museum
Theatre as well as establishing its first on site puppet storage facility for Center produced shows. One of her Museum Theatre shows, FOLKTALES OF ASIA AND AFRICA, which features the Found Object style of puppetry, has been seen at BAM, and in La MaMa’s 2010 International
In New York, Ms. Shaw created THE LONE RUNNER, a work that premiered at La MaMa in 1999,
by invitation of Ellen Stewart, its founder. Also premiered at La MaMa are: BED OF LIGHT - developed through the Arts at St. Ann’s Puppet Lab and through a grant from HERE’s Dream Music Program, UNIVERSE EXPANDING -developed through Mabou Mines RAP program and with a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation and most recently THIRST: MEMORY OF WATER which drew the attention of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
As part of La MaMa Theatre, Ms. Shaw traveled to Turkey to create YOUTH WITHOUT AGE, LIFE WITHOUT DEATH, building various puppet styles and scales for the outdoor evening performance in the village streets and ancient ruins of Assos. While in Istanbul she led workshops in overhead projector shadow puppetry techniques at the TAL and met with a master puppeteer of Karagoz and Hacivat. She has also accompanied Ms Stewart and Theodora Skipitares to India to participate in the Ishara Puppet Festival in New Delhi. In 2007 she collaborated with a fellow artist in the development of a new work, THE MAGIC PITCHER, in Tirana, Albania.
Ms. Shaw began working with Lee Breuer of Mabou Mines, during his production of EPIDOG, and continued with PETER AND WENDY, ECCO PORCO, and DOLLHOUSE. She was co-puppetry director for PETER AND WENDY and was also the master puppeteer of Hook and Jane in the original cast production. For DOLLHOUSE Ms Shaw built and directed a sequence involving 36 marionettes manipulated in tandem controls of 6. During Ecco Porco she developed a final musical dance sequence involving a chorus of silk shirts manipulated overhead by solo performers. In the first REDBEADS workshop in Minneapolis, she created a prototype skeletal dog whose skin was blown off by wind machines, (appearing later with just the skin) a shadow sequence on a giant silk “floor,” among other innovations. She also works frequently with Theodora Skipitares on her many productions, from puppet construction to performance, including a summer stint at the Sundance Children’s Theatre for a production of Charles Ludlam’s THE ENCHANTED PIG. She has worked with Stephen Kaplin building puppets for Julie Taymor’s production of THE GREEN BIRD, and as a performer with Janie Geiser, EVIDENCE OF FLOODS. Over the past 15 years she has often built costumes or puppets for Ellen Stewart, both for her new productions as well as re-mounts of important La MaMa/Great Jones Rep productions.
Ms. Shaw is co-founder and co-curator of the VOICE 4 VISION PUPPET FESTIVAL, a biennial festival devoted to presenting New York artists making work for puppetry. She has studied Bunraku sculpting with a master Bunraku sculptor and Kuruma Ningyo manipulation with Nishikawa Koryu IV in Charleville-Mezierre at the Institut International de la Marionette, through a grant from the Institut and UNIMA-USA. In 2009 she graduated on the Dean’s list earning an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College where she directed an enormously popular production of THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA featuring live actresses, life-size puppets, graphic shadow puppets and Ruth Maleczech, co founder of Mabou Mines appeared as a projected image of Maria Josefa. She received Brooklyn College’s Joel Zwick Directing Scholarship Award and was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges.