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Canada's foremost artist in puppet theatre, Ronnie Burkett has been credited with creating some of the world's most elaborate and provocative puppetry. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes, formed in 1986 and celebrating its 25th anniversary has stimulated an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre, and continues to perform to great critical and public acclaim on Canada's major stages and as a guest company on numerous international tours abroad.

Ronnie has received numerous awards in the Canadian theatre as a playwright, actor and designer for his work with Theatre of Marionettes, including the 2009 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre not to mention international recognition including a Village Voice OBIE Award in New York for Off-Broadway Theatre, and four Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette.

PENNY PLAIN, Ronnie Burkett's critically acclaimed new creation premiered on September 22, 2011 to rave reviews at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. The Canadian tour to Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto Ottawa and Montreal of this, the company's eleventh production, marks the 25th anniversary of Theatre of Marionettes.

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes is represented worldwide by John Lambert & Assoc.

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Ronnie Burkett has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre
Press Release | Acceptance Speech

News Articles National Post . The Globe and Mail . The Canadian Press . Calgary Herald

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A talking cow, a faded vamp, a wistful fairy and the most beloved and befuddled prairie farm wife in Canada are a few of the outrageous characters in Ronnie Burkett’s new The Daisy Theatre. Inspired by the illegal underground “daisy” puppet shows of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and the beginnings of cabaret at the famed Le Chat Noir in Paris, The Daisy Theatre blends nightly improvisation, variety acts and music, monologues and morality tales, plus new short playlets by nine Canadian playwrights written for the resident company of over thirty marionette characters. Each performance will be different, daring, ridiculous and on the edge, in the hands of renowned puppeteer provocateur Ronnie Burkett. No two performances of The Daisy Theatre will be the same, making this is a show to see more than once.

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: Download the latest press kit :

Penny Plain is blind, but she hears plenty about the state of things and the fate of mankind.  And so she decides to sit in her overstuffed chair, nevermore to venture outside, waiting for the world to end. When her companion dog Geoffrey leaves to live as a man, Penny’s end-of-days vigil is interrupted by survivalists, a serial killer, a cross-dressing banker, talking dogs and mysterious strangers seeking sanctuary. Part gothic thriller, part apocalyptic drawing room comedy, Penny Plain shows the funny and chilling consequences as mother earth cleans house and reclaims her ground.

The original production of PENNY PLAIN is commissioned by The Citadel Theatre (Edmonton, Canada) and co-commissioned by The National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada)

Co-commissioning partners:
Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary, Canada)
The Cultch (Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver, Canada)

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(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

Billy Twinkle is a middle-aged cruise ship puppeteer who dazzles audiences with his Stars in Miniature marionette niteclub act.  His saucy burlesque stripper Rusty titillates the tourists, octogenarian Bunny invokes sidesplitting laughter with the inflatable balloon in his pants, Bumblebear juggles and roller-skates and steals the hearts of every audience, and society dame Biddy Bantam Brewster brings a bit of highbrow hilarity to the high seas with her drunken aria. Billy is the best in the business and on top of the world as he floats along through life.

Until he is fired by the cruiseline.  Standing at the edge of the ship contemplating a watery demise, Billy is abruptly called back to reality when his dead mentor Sid Diamond appears as a hand puppet.  Sid literally will not leave his side, and forces Billy to re-enact his life as a puppet show in order to remember and rekindle the passion Billy once had for puppets, people and the dream of a life that sparkles. 

For anyone stuck in the middle – mid-career, mid-love, mid-life - caught between our own past and future, this requiem for a golden boy shines a little light on the wonder of youth meeting the wisdom of age with a kick in the pants to finish what we started.

The original production of BILLY TWINKLE Requiem for a Golden Boy was commissioned by The Citadel Theatre (Edmonton, Canada) and co-commissioned by Canada's National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada), The Vancouver East Cultural Centre (Vancouver, Canada), The Arts Centre (Melbourne, Australia), Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), and barbicanbite09 (London, UK)

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(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

Darrel is a simply simple middle-aged man who lives with his mother. When she dies in her sleep, Darrel does not realise she is gone, and so, for ten days, he lives alone.  Tandem to Darrel’s day to day routine are the adventures of his favorite children’s book characters, Honeydog and Little Burp.  Their search for a home leads the dog and duck duo to an understanding of family, while Darrel’s ease in the world illustrates just how his mother has paved the path for him to be without her.  Episodes from the past, like faded colour snapshots from a family album, illustrate this mother’s love for her son in all its honesty and fierce, unwavering will.  Simple, tender, funny and unapologetic, 10 Days On Earth asks: If you were alone, but didn’t know it, would you feel lonely?

10 Days on Earth is a co-production with BITE (London, UK); CanStage (Toronto, Canada); queerupnorth (Manchester, UK); and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria).

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(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

Bawdy and wry, Ronnie Burkett's latest work plumbs the depths of the human experience in a play that is tender, erotic and frequently very funny.  Set in Vienna, Provenance explores beauty: our obsession with it, our fantasies about it, our addiction to it and our ownership of it. On a simple level it is the story of a young woman who falls in love with a painting and sets out to unravel its provenance. What she finds is so much more than she had ever imagined. Ageing cabaret stars, a rollerblading monkey and a line-up of characters from Canada to Vienna come to life in the hands of this masterful creator and performer.

Created Performed by Ronnie Burkett
Music and Sound Design by Cathy Nosaty
Lighting Design by Bill Williams

Provenance is a co-production with BITE (London, UK); CanStage (Toronto, Canada); Melbourne International Arts Festival (Melbourne, Australia); queerupnorth (Manchester, UK); and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria).

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Happy
(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

Happy introduces us to the engaging title character, a "happy-go-lucky" veteran and pensioner who wanders through episodes of grief in other people's lives.  Writer and performer Ronnie Burkett examines the impact of cataclysmic sorrow in human existence and the on-going discussion of whether happiness is the lucky domain of a select few or the result of constant struggle and striving beyond the layers of human despair. 

Tandem to the storyline presented by the character of Happy is the "grief vaudeville" of Antoine Marionette, a campy, other-worldly master of ceremonies.  Within this glittering silver realm, "the grey area of life", are arch presentations of sadness in song, pantomime and burlesque which mirror and parody the state of the central characters.

Created and Performed by Ronnie Burkett
Music and Sound Design by Cathy Nosaty
Lighting Design by Bill Williams

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(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

Tinka's New Dress is a fable for adults based upon the underground puppet shows of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Two childhood friends become puppeteers, each performing with the same beloved folk characters "Franz and Schnitzel'. Fipsi, ambitious and naïve, aligns herself with the ruling government, The Common Good. Carl, headstrong and outspoken, is forced underground as his satirical shows parody the censorship and oppression of The Common Good. More a commentary on the present than a glimpse into the past, Tinka's New Dress examines propaganda versus truth, compliance versus censorship, and the collective society versus the individual. Tinka's New Dress features a cast of 36 breath-taking marionettes, a stunning working carousel for the setting, and a haunting score by composer Cathy Nosaty. Adding to the immediacy of this allegorical tale, the two "Franz and Schnitzel" portions of the play are improvised at each performance. Tinka's New Dress is relevant and truly live theatre.

Created and Performed by Ronnie Burkett
Music and Sound Design by Cathy Nosaty

Choreography by Denise Clarke

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(THIS PRODUCTION HAS BEEN RETIRED)

When Mrs. Edna Rural pricks her finger and bleeds onto her sewing, she sees the face of Christ in a quilt square, and the Shroud of Turnip Corners changes her sleepy prairie town forever. As the media and the faithful converge, they are joined by a has-been Hollywood vampire seeking rejuvenation, and a karaoke-singing gay terrorist intent on revenge. And just as the blood bath begins, the man in the quilt appears in the flesh to the odd trio, revealing that the bonds of blood are thicker and stranger than their individual thirsts led them to believe. 

Created and Performed by Ronnie Burkett
Soundscape composed by Cathy Nosaty 
Light Design by Bill Williams

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