Blair Thomas Knows Puppets

Blair Thomas. Photo courtesy of Saverio Truglia via "Chicago Reader"
Blair Thomas. Photo courtesy of Saverio Truglia via "Chicago Reader"

Blair Thomas, adjunct associate professor in the School's Performance department, discusses his inspirations to pursue puppetry as a serious art form and his work as founder and artistic director of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival in a Chicago Reader feature story. 

Recalling the exact moment that inspired him to pursue puppetry during a workshop by Els Comediants, a Barcelona-based circus collective, Thomas says to the Reader, "It put me on fire," Thomas remembers now. "I was so excited about that. It took one day for me to have that influence. One exposure."

Learning that there were radically different ways to tell stories influenced Thomas' aesthetic and professional projects. From his solo stage works and cofounding Chicago Puppet Studio to showing off new styles and applications of puppetry at the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, Thomas is Chicago's puppetry connossieur. "If you're doing something associated with puppetry in Chicago, you have to think about Blair. He's an institution," says House Theater company member Chris Mathews.