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The Man Behind the Marionette . . .

Joseph Cashore has been designing and performing his remarkable marionettes for over 30 years. At the age of 11, Joseph Cashore created his first marionette from clothespins, wood, string and a tin can.  It was while playing with this puppet that he was startled by the sudden but momentary sensation that the puppet was alive. This illusion had nothing to do with the appearance of the marionette and everything to do with the quality of the movement.

After graduation from college, Mr. Cashore made his second marionette. He quickly discovered that in order to have the fluid motion he sought, he would have to create his own control designs. For the next nineteen years, Mr. Cashore experimented with the construction of the marionettes and devised totally new control mechanisms.

During the late 1980s Mr. Cashore had a breakthrough. He had always admired Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and decided to make a puppet which would convincingly “play” the violin solo note for note. “It seemed almost impossible to get the quality of movement that I wanted,” Mr. Cashore explains. “But once I began to solve the technical problems and gain subtle control of the marionette body, I saw that there was the possibility for greater depth of expression with the marionettes.” That puppet, Maestro Janos Zelinka, was the turning point in Mr. Cashore’s career and became the impetus for his present productions.

Mr. Cashore has been performing full-time since 1990 across North America, Europe and Asia.  He has received numerous awards for his artistry including a Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fellowship for Performance Art, based upon his artistic accomplishment. He has also received a Henson Foundation Grant, an award intended to help promote puppetry to adult audiences. Mr. Cashore has been awarded the highest honor an American puppeteer can receive, a UNIMA Citation of Excellence. UNIMA states that Citations are “awarded to shows that touch their audiences deeply; that totally engage, enchant and enthrall.”

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