View profile of Festival founder and Artistic Director, Blair Thomas.
BLAIR THOMAS, Artistic Director
The founder and Artistic Director of Blair Thomas & Co., Blair Thomas has twice earned the highest international honor for creators of original work in the medium, the UNIMA Excellence in Puppetry Award (2001, 2004). In addition, Thomas has received the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award (2001, 2004), the After Dark Award (2002), and a number of Joseph Jefferson Citations. Currently on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Thomas has taught at the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and held the first-ever Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland, College Park. Co-founder and past Artistic Director of Redmoon Theater, Thomas has vigorously contributed to the Chicago theater scene as an actor, director, puppeteer, designer, and teacher for three decades, contributing to his status as “Chicago’s unofficial puppeteer-general” (TimeOut Chicago). Now President of the UNIMA-USA Board of Directors, Thomas represents the American chapter of the oldest international theater arts organization in the world.
BLAIR THOMAS & CO.
Blair Thomas & Co. is a national and international touring puppet theater company founded in 2002 in Chicago by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas. In the past they have made over a dozen original puppet theater pieces including: Cabaret of Desire, a staging of short works by Federico Garcia Lorca; The Ox-herder’s Tale, an interpretive staging of the Buddhist parable of ten painting of enlightenment; A Kite’s Tale, a collection of piano pieces staged with silent narratives including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition; and a stage production of Pierrot Lunaire, Arnold Schoenberg’s song cycle with the Grammy award-winning chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird.
THE FESTIVAL TEAM
Sandy Smith Gerding, Managing Director
Kelley Dorhauer, Business Manager
Nic Barnum, Production Manager
Dayna Calderon, Production Manager/Festival Neighborhood Tour
Kristin Haverty & Sarah Goone Catapult Coordinators
Production Assistants: Jacky Kelsey, Daniel Robles Lizano, Jesse Mooney-Bullock, Nicole Nienow, Mike Oleon, Marley Smith, Lucinda Sponholz
Interns: Breanne Dengler, Samuel Barr, Molly Bryson
Anne Cauley, Development Director, Creative Partners
Maggie Keiser, Development Associate, Creative Partners
Alex Monroe, Grants Manager, Creative Partners
Jess Mott Wickstrom, Graphic Design and Website
Andy Wickstrom, Video Editing
Sarah Best Strategies, Social Media
Jay Kelly/L.C. Williams & Assoc.Publicist
Julia Rohed/League of Chicago Theatres, Box Office Manager
Covey Law, Artists Visas
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHERYL LYNN BRUCE
CLAIRE RICE, Chair
RICK STONEHAM, Treasurer
COLLEEN SIMS, Secretary
CHUCK THUROW, Vice Chair