Squallis Puppeteers to highlight story of Louisville civil rights activist | Information

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Squallis puppeteers are a Louisville institution known for oversized versions of people like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Marie Antoinette. Her latest project takes up the story of local legend Anne Braden in a much smaller form.

“We ordered the smallest typewriter that we could find on eBay and that, as you can see, plays an important role in the play,” said Isaac Fosl-van Wyke of Squallis Puppeteers.


To celebrate Women’s History Month, the group is making a virtual debut of their latest show, The Other America: A Story of Anne Braden. It tells the story of the civil rights activist in Louisville and her fight against housing segregation in Louisville in the 1950s.

“It’s not a well-known story even here in Louisville, so we’re thrilled to help our city remember that story,” said Fosl-van Wyke.

The online streaming of the show is part of the linchpin that the art organization had to meet in 2020 by adapting their normally live shows to a movie format so that they can be shared virtually.

“This is the first show that we came up with the whole idea that it was going to be a virtual thing,” he said.

The team spent hundreds of hours producing the puppet show, including creating a “crankie,” which Fosl-van Wyke describes as a primitive form of animation.


“It’s an enormously long roll of paper that is rolled up and then the images start to appear,” he said.

It is used with an overhead projector and shadow puppets to bring Braden’s memories to life.

“We have today with the table puppet, who is Anne towards the end of her life,” he said.

While the story of Anne Braden takes place more than sixty years ago, Fosl-van Wyke hopes that the audience can draw the parallels between now and then.

“I feel a lot of hope and am trying to bring that to this show so that kids can connect with stories from the past and see how they can answer questions now in the present,” he said.

Because he knows exactly what Braden would do in what is now Louisville.

“I’m sure she would be out there on the streets demanding justice for Breonna Taylor and I hope that viewers and listeners can discover their own role in this fight,” he said.

The show is recommended for ages 9 and up. A live demonstration of the show will take place on March 19th and registration is required. This can be done on Squallis’ social media. The entire show will be available on YouTube and Facebook through Sunday March 2nd. Donations are also accepted.

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