Who I am
My name is Christopher Richard, a lifelong resident of Fairhaven, MA, and the town’s Director of Tourism since 1996. This, however, is a private project, NOT connected with the Town of Fairhaven or the Office of Tourism. While there is a likelihood of this project enriching and benefiting the local community, it is also to help me fulfill a dream I’ve had since childhood.
At a very young age, I became a puppeteer after my mother took me to see Bil Baird’s marionettes at the high school in New Bedford, MA, the 1960s. Not long afterward, I saw a Punch & Judy show at a program at Fairhaven Town Hall, sponsored by the Millicent Library. By the time I was in high school, I was performing shows with my own puppets in local schools, libraries, and fairs, as well as for private birthday parties. Through my college years I continued performing with large, Muppet-style puppets I had made myself. Venues where I appeared included the Fairhaven Homecoming Day Fair, the Dartmouth Children’s Museum, the New Bedford Centre Street Festival, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, and smaller church festivals and company parties. My last public puppet performance was sometime in the mid-1980s.
Once I began working at a “real,” full time job, the puppets were packed away, only to be brought out occasionally to entertain my daughter when she was a child.
What I want to do
This GoFundMe campaign is to help me begin performing puppetry again in the SouthCoast Massachusetts area. I am most interested, specifically, in performing traditional Punch & Judy shows, which were first brought from Europe to America during the late colonial days. While never as widespread in this country as they still are today in the UK, Punch & Judy entertained generations of people of all ages and classes across the countryside in the 1800s and early 1900s, appearing on city street corners, in dime museums, as part of circus sideshows, and at small town picnics and fairs. It is my hope to bring this form of public entertainment back to southeastern Massachusetts adhering to Punch & Judy’s historical roots while entertaining contemporary audiences.
In our area, there is no one performing traditional puppetry that could be presented at historical sites, street fairs, cultural or holiday events, or private gatherings. A local Punch & Judy show could add a classic, crowd-pleasing entertainment which has long been unavailable. Your donation can help this happen.
A longer-term goal is to create a puppet theater in a permanent location for performances, party bookings, and workshops.
What you will be funding
The funds being raised in this campaign will be used to purchase a traditional set of carved wooden puppets from an English puppet maker, and to purchase the materials to construct a portable indoor/outdoor theater and other necessary equipment needed to perform.
Additional background qualifications
My strong background in puppetry, amateur theater (The Spouters, the Village Players, Your Theatre), historical reenacting (Fairhaven Village Militia), and public presentations (Fairhaven Office of Tourism tours, lectures, and programs), and well as my ability to work cooperatively with a variety of local non-profit and civic organizations, point to this endeavor being successful once I have acquired the needed puppets and equipment. Through most of my adult life I have worked and volunteered in ways that provide education and entertainment to young and old.
How you can help
With a small donation you can give audiences in the SouthCoast area the opportunity to enjoy live puppetry on a regular basis. For the amount that you might spend on a couple of movie tickets or admission to a high school play, you can contribute toward years of fun entertainment in our community.
You can also help by sharing this the link to this fundraiser on your Facebook timeline and other social media to friends who might support this endeavor.
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