Awardee: Robin Frohardt

Performing Arts, 2016

Known for her rich aesthetic and highly detailed constructions, Robin Frohardt is an award-winning puppet artist, director and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. She pushes the boundaries of traditional puppet theater by combining her unique experience outside the theater—as a world traveler and adventurer—with her technical craft. After studying at the University of Washington, Frohardt moved to San Francisco where she founded the Apocalypse Puppet Theater and began working with The Cardboard Institute of Technology, an artist group that constructs large and detailed cardboard installations. Lured to New York to work with Swimming Cities, Frohardt spent several summers building and living aboard sculptural junk rafts. Her first full length piece, The Pigeoning, premiered with rave reviews in 2013 and continues to tour at home and abroad. Her work with cardboard continued in her popular short film Fitzcardboardaldo which was an official selection at several film festivals in 2013.

Project: The Plastic Bag Store

The Plastic Bag Store appears to be any New York City grocery or discount store, complete with signage outside and aisles stocked with colorfully packaged products inside. However, nothing is actually for sale here except packaging itself, packaging packed inside itself, where despondent cashiers with blank stares are endlessly double, triple and quadruple-bagging these products. This vibrant installation will be the context for a narrative, woven throughout the store,  performed by multiple puppeteers, and actors with original music. The darkly comedic tale explores such questions as: How will our descendants interpret, and misinterpret, our plastic refuse left intact thousands of years from now? Where does the human spirit exist and thrive in a world of disposability?