Studio Babette Puppet Theatre was founded in 2007 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada by Marie Franek, BA, MA in theatre.
After a lifetime spent teaching drama to students, acting and directing in both amateur and professional plays and singing professionally in a band, Marie decided to follow her heart back to her roots in the Czech Republic where she was raised, back to the European tradition of puppetry.
Armed with determination and a singular sense of purpose, Marie founded Studio Babette Puppet Theatre. Two more members with a wealth of theatrical experience both on and off the stage, Helena Adamczyk and Kerry Corrigan, soon joined in the fun.
Studio Babette, now a three-man troupe, made its debut April 27, 2008, in the Opus Mundi Festival at The Pearl Company with Carlos and His Five Reasons, a table-top puppet show based on a Spanish folk-tale, starring Carlos, a little boy who must deal with his anger and the six strange yet funny witches he encounters.
Our second production, A Royal Pain, was a part of the Village Theatre Waterdown regular season, opening on May 1, 2009 at Memorial Hall in Waterdown. There were 9 performances. This play featured a cast of 11, the only show not produced entirely by the three members of Studio Babette.
Our third show, Pulcinella, il Cameriere (Pulcinella, the Waiter) was written for Festitalia September 2009, also at The Pearl Company. This show is designed for a teen-age and up audience, and can indeed get quite political, and quite racy!
Our next project was something dear to our hearts, a series of short shows for very young audiences. Little Fairy Tales for Little People, which debuted in March 2010 at the Dundas Museum and Archives, is designed for the pre-school set. Marie performs Little Red Riding Hood and Kerry performs The 3 Little Pigs and Helena performs Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.
In 2010, Studio Babette approached Dundurn Castle about the possibility of creating a show inspired by the diary of Sophia MacNab, written age 13, 1846, which would present an historical view of life in the castle in a novel and entertaining way. They were enthusiastic and Young Sophia: the Dundurn Castle Diary debuted in the atmospheric Cockpit Theatre at Straight from the Garden, a fall fair held on the grounds of Dundurn National Historic Site.
This show was made possible by an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant, which was used to purchase a sound and light system. Young Sophia: the Dundurn Castle Diary is now available to school groups at Dundurn National Historic Site who wish to see the production, along with a guided tour of the castle.
From Ruthven to Passchendaele came about when Ruthven Park and Historic Site heard about Young Sophia and contacted us about the possibility of building a puppet show around the story of the Thompson family of Ruthven in WWI. Many generations of Thompsons have fought in militias throughout Ontario's history with Brock's Rangers. This production honours the upcoming anniversary of World War One and the sacrifices made by all who served. It is also available to school groups during school hours, as well as playing at other historic venues.
These events are made possible through the generous support received from Veterans Affairs Canada's Community Engagement Partnership Fund.
Where Are You Cinderella? uses refurbished heritage puppets on a new set to tell a familiar story with a twist. These wonderful rod and hand puppets are a delight, large and colourful with sparkling costumes and funny lines. When a fairy godmother needs to earn her wings, only her magic can bring together Cinderella and her handsome young prince.
Happy Times Nursery Rhymes is our latest show, designed for the very youngest audience. It features well-loved rhymes and songs with plenty of audience participation and a guitar playing hostess.
The Ballad of Billy Green is a one-woman show performed to Stan Rogers' song. It was created to be performed at puppet slams. It is four minutes long. Billy Green was (or wasn't?) the hero of the Battle of Stoney Creek, June 6, 1814. We like to think he was!
Studio Babette now has eleven polished shows which are available for touring and bookings. Each show is listed with a recommended age but keep in mind, parents and grandparents enjoy our shows too!
- Little Fairy Tales for Little People - ages 1 to 8
- The 3 Little Pigs
- Goldilocks & the 3 Bears
- Little Red Riding Hood
- Happy Times Nursery Rhymes - ages 1 to 8
- Where Are You Cinderella? - ages 1 to 12
- Carlos and His Five Reasons - ages 3 to 12
- From Ruthven to Passchendaele - ages 8+
- Pulcinella, il Cameriere - ages 13+
- Young Sophia: the Dundurn Castle Diary - all ages
- The Ballad of Billy Green - all ages
A Royal Pain is only available upon special arrangement, as additional cast members are needed.