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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 9, 2007

Cashore Marionettes Conclude UI Residency With Jan. 27 Hancher Loft Performances

Marionette virtuoso Joseph Cashore will conclude a University of Iowa residency with a performance of "Simple Gifts" at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in Hancher Loft. Hancher Loft is an intimate performance space that seats the audience on the Hancher Auditorium stage, with entry through the Hancher Stage Door.

The Cashore Marionettes performance is recommended for adults and children no younger than the age of 8.

"Simple Gifts" offers a series of scenes that explore the emotions and meaning of life.

Set to music by Vivaldi, Strauss, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Verdi, Copland and others, each vignette features a remarkably lifelike character, manipulated with uncanny technical skills. For example, Cashore manipulates 33 strings to capture the movement of a galloping horse.

And award-winning visual artist as well as a puppeteer, Cashore has been designing and performing with his marionettes for more than 30 years. Among his many awards is a Henson Foundation Grant -- yes, the Henson of Muppets fame -- to promote puppetry to adult audiences.

The Cashore residency is a collaboration among Hancher, the UI Center for Teaching, the Iowa City Community School District, and faculty and students in UI art education and counseling.

Fifth- and sixth-grade students from 13 elementary schools will attend a series of intimate performances through Hancher's Stage Door Series of educational events, Jan 23-26.

Art education faculty member Rachel Williams and 13 of the students in her service-learning course, developed through the Center for Teaching 2006 Service Learning Institute, have designed a curriculum for public school art teachers focusing on teaching students to create and use marionettes.

Williams and her students held sessions with elementary art teachers to create marionettes that elementary students can replicate and use during their art classes. The results of those sessions will be on display at Dick Blick in downtown Iowa City through mid-February.

Because the Cashore performances often provoke strong emotional responses, the project has helped school counselors anticipate and be prepared to discuss the performance with the elementary school students. Tarrell Portman teaches a graduate-level counselor-education course that she developed through the 2005 Service Learning Institute. Students in the course collaborated with local school counselors to develop curricular materials related to the emotional content of the Cashore performance.

The project will involve more than 1,100 elementary school children, including some home-schooled students, and nearly 40 classroom and art teachers, 10 school counselors and more than 25 UI students in counseling and art education.

The materials developed by the project will be provided to the Cashore Marionettes for use in future projects involving schools.

The Cashore Marionettes performances and residency are supported by University of Iowa Community Credit Union and Iowa House Hotel, the Iowa City Community School District Foundation, and by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Tickets are $20; UI student $15; senior citizen $18; youth $14. Discounted concert tickets are available as part of volume purchases: A simultaneous purchase of five events or more qualifies for a 15-percent discount.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: <>.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;