Monday, November 3, 2014


Avenue Q Workshop With Joshua Holden

URI Theatre I by Lauren Mazzola

The URI Theatre Department was fortunate enough to take part in a Master Puppet Workshop conducted by Joshua Holden over the Columbus Day weekend, in order to get ready for their production of Avenue Q.
Professional Puppeteer, Joshua Holden 
According to the Department Chair Paula McGlasson, Avenue Q was chosen because the musical introduces a new art form, which is very different than last semester’s production of Chicago. Instead of focusing on a play that requires a great deal of choreography and dancing, this production will require students to learn the art of puppetry.

Avenue Q, also referred to as the “R-rated version of Sesame Street,” stars a cast of puppets, who will be brought to life by URI students. In order to transform our student cast into master puppeteers, we called in award winning puppeteer, Joshua Holden to help us take on the new art form and transform our student cast into master puppeteers.

Holden is a professional puppeteer who was in the original Broadway production of Avenue Q. The gifted puppeteer is base in Brooklyn New York and currently tours around the nation with his one-man show, The Joshua Show. In addition to performing around the nation, he travels to different universities to conduct Master Puppet Workshops, which help students prepare for different productions of Avenue Q.

Everything he has accomplished has stemmed from his early passion for performing. “I’ve been performing since I was a little boy and went on to The Chicago College of Performing Arts for acting,” said Holden, “After school I was asked to be an apprentice for Master Puppeteer, Blaire Thomas, and from there it started to snowball and I started getting better at what I did, and booked the Avenue Q show.“

The URI cast was able to make a promising connection with Holden because of his acting background. Holden explained that everything he has learned has come from his acting experience, “Everything I do comes from a base of acting and it is an advantage of what Universities can learn from this workshop. I speak the language of an actor, and that’s how I approach puppeteering – through the language of acting. This is why I can teach these students in their acting class.”

Before the workshop took place the professional puppeteer explained the great deal of work that is involved in mastering puppetry, “These actors are doing so much to prepare for this show; we are teaching them a whole entire new art form in a very short amount of time. It has taken me seven years to get where I am today, so I try to make sure that I can teach them little bits that they can incorporate into their show while teaching them to critique themselves positively without getting sucked into frustration.”

By the end of the Columbus Day weekend, Holden was hopeful and confident that the URI production of Avenue Q would be a great success. “This is such a wonderful creative organization. In the end, the URI cast of Avenue Q is going to be great. The team of people here are so supportive and so loving that failure is not an option. These students will be able to learn from their mistakes and achieve success.”

To find out more about Joshua Holden go to: http://theambassadorofjoy.com/

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