Blair ThomasMarch 23rd, 2011
Blair Thomas has been a practicing puppeteer in Chicago for over 20 years. The summer of 2010 he performed a 5-week run of his award winning solo shows entitled Hard Headed Heart. In the fall of 2008 he conceived, designed and directed The Ox-Herder’s Tale, a Buddhist parable at the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as Cabaret of Desire, a staging of 6 short works by Federico Garcia Lorca. He also created an original staging of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the grammy award-winning chamber music group eighth blackbird . For the past 2 years he has been performing an original adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant that he created for the Chicago Children’s Theater. His first show for young audiences entitled A Rabbit’s Tale, a puppet pantomime staged to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and for a run at the Pritzker Stage in Millennium. Before that Blair staged Master Pedro’s Puppet Show with Chicago Opera Theater. In 1989 Blair had started Chicago’s Redmoon Theater and served as the artistic director and co-artistic director until leaving in 1998, during which time he was principal in the creation of all its productions, parades and pageants. Twice he has received the international UNIMA awards for excellence in the art of puppetry and twice awarded the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship awards. He was the first artist to fill the Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a graduate of Oberlin College. He and singer/songwriter Michael Smith are creating a new adaptation of Moby-Dick and he is also designing and directing a new adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Houdini Box for Chicago Children’s Theater.