FirstWorks Brings Heather Henson and IBEX Puppetry to RI for Residency and New England Premiere Performance

PROVIDENCE, RI – Members of the community are invited to attend a number of exciting events and thought-provoking performances as FirstWorks welcomes puppet artist Heather Henson and her production company, IBEX Puppetry to Rhode Island. Henson, the daughter of puppet legend Jim Henson and a RISD alumnus, has had a long creative partnership with FirstWorks.

A variety of public events are scheduled to take place at venues around the region starting on January 24, 2019 and culminate on January 31 and February 1, 2019 with the New England premiere run of “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” at Moses Brown School’s state-of-the-art Woodman Center in Providence, RI. As part of FirstWorks’ commitment to arts education, private residency events include film screenings and artist-led puppetry workshops at schools throughout the state, and three sold out Arts Learning matinee performances of “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” for K-12 students.
FirstWorks is a Providence-based non-profit dedicated to building the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs.

“Ajijaak on Turtle Island” brings together an ensemble of Native American performers to tell the tale of Ajijaak, a young whooping crane who must face her first migration cycle on Turtle Island (North America) after being separated from her family. “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” was written by Grammy Award winner Ty Defoe, with lyrics by Defoe and Dawn Avery, music by Avery & Larry Mitchell, Kevin Tarrant and Defoe, and is based on original storyboards written and drawn by Henson. Puppets built by the world-renowned Jim Henson’s Creature ShopTM, indigenous songs and dances, kite-flying and video projections create an immersive experience that honors contemporary Native American cultures and illustrates the harmonious relationship between humans, animals and the environment.

Performance tickets range from $22.50 to $40 and are available now online at or by calling the box office at 401-421-4281. Special discounts for students, Native American community members, working artists and groups of 10 or more are available by calling FirstWorks at 401-421-4278.

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PUBLIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: WHO: FirstWorks artist residency with Heather Henson and IBEX Puppetry

WHAT/ WHEN/ WHERE: Film Screening and Panel Discussion Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Dedee Shattuck Gallery, 1 Partner’s Drive, Westport, MA FirstWorks and Dedee Shattuck Gallery present a screening of short films selected from Heather Henson’s “Handmade Puppet Dreams” film series, followed by a panel discussion with local stop-motion
animators and puppeteers Adam Buck and Rachel Nadeau. Recommended for ages 17 and up Registration required – email to RSVP $5 suggested donation at the door

Family Film Screening and Workshop Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Jamestown Arts Center, 18 Valley Street, Jamestown, RI FirstWorks and the Jamestown Arts Center present a screening of family-focused short films selected from Heather Henson’s “Handmade Puppet Dreams” film series, accompanied by handson activities for children ages 7 and up. Pre-registration is recommended – $5 fee

FirstWorks Artist Up-Close Conversation with Heather Henson Monday, January 28, 2019 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. talk and Q&A Rhode Island School of Design Chace Center Michael P. Metcalf Auditorium, 20 North Main Street, Providence, RI Free and open to the public Made possible with support from RISD Liberal Arts Department Humanities Fund

FirstWorks and Heather Henson Present “AJIJAAK ON TURTLE ISLAND” Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, February 1, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. Woodman Center at Moses Brown School, 250 Lloyd Avenue, Providence, RI An immersive environmental spectacle of puppetry, Native American inspired song and dance, video projections and soaring kites.