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Theaters, too, are sacred spaces. Along with democracy, they’re part of our cultural heritage from Ancient Greece along. Theaters enable public discourse and explorations of new points of view; they’re places where the public will gather for a collective experience. They’re important both to our cultural life and to the health of our democratic society.
Philadelphia lost a sacred space in May when Mum Puppettheatre suddenly shuttered its doors after 23 years in operation. This world-class performance group and training ground for future puppet masters uniquely used puppets and masked actors interchangeably to create movement-based theater, often without words. It was a unique training ground for future puppet masters. Yet for all Mum’s unique creativity and intelligence, it just ceased to exist— and, sadly, not many people seem to have noticed.
Nothing lasts forever, of course, and most theater troupes would be delighted with a 23-year run. Still, what does it say about Philadelphia’s supposedly vibrant theater scene that such a jewel of our cultural treasury could vanish with hardly a whimper?♦
To read responses, click here and here and here and here.
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