Bread and Puppet Theater
The Heart of the Matter Circus
Grounds open at 3 pm
Performance begins at 4 pm
Peter Schumann’s celebrated Bread and Puppet Theater returns to the fields of Montgomery Place with The Heart of The Matter Circus, the 2023 edition of its legendary activist circus pageant.
The Heart of the Matter Circus is a brand new show in the tradition of the iconic Bread & Puppet Circuses that began at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont in 1970. The show draws on traditional circus tropes and familiar Bread & Puppet iconography to draw attention to the urgent issues of the day. Stilt dancers, paper maché beasts of all sizes, and a riotous brass band make a raucous, colorful spectacle of protest and celebration.
Featuring more than 20 live puppeteers, musicians, and performers, the event concludes with sharing of the company’s famous sourdough rye bread with aioli. Bread & Puppet’s “Cheap Art”—books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread & Puppet Press—will be for sale.
This colorful, celebratory, and thought-provoking performance is suitable for all ages.
“This show is in response to our totally unresurrected capitalist situation, not only the hundreds of thousands of unnecessarily sacrificed pandemic victims but our culture’s unwillingness to recognize Mother Earth’s revolt against our civilization. Since we earthlings do not live up to our earthling obligations, we need resurrection circuses to yell against our own stupidity.”—Peter Schumann, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Bread and Puppet Theater
Bob Morris of The New York Times recently profiled Schumann and the debut of The Heart of the Matter Circus (August 15, 2023).Read the Profile
The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood. More complex theater pieces followed, in which sculpture, music, dance, and language were equal partners. The puppets grew bigger and bigger. Annual presentations for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day often included children and adults from the community as participants. Many performances were done in the street. During the Vietnam War, Bread and Puppet staged block-long processions and pageants involving hundreds of people.
In 1974 Bread and Puppet moved to a farm in Glover in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The 140-year-old hay barn was transformed into a museum for veteran puppets. Our Domestic Resurrection Circus, a two-day outdoor festival of puppetry shows, was presented annually through 1998.
The company makes its income from touring new and old productions both on the American continent and abroad and from sales of Bread and Puppet Press’ posters and publications. The traveling puppet shows range from tightly composed theater pieces presented by members of the company to extensive outdoor pageants which require the participation of many volunteers.
Today, Bread and Puppet continues to be one of the oldest nonprofit political theatre companies in the country.
Nearby villages and towns in the Hudson Valley boast a large selection of restaurants, as well as a variety of hotels, motels, inns, and bed & breakfasts.Eat & Stay
Our driving principle is to operate with a duty of care for all our community—artists, audiences, and staff alike.
In order to share performances with as many audience members as possible, we ask that you read our Health and Safety Protocols on the FAQs page and commit to participating in our community of care.Read the FAQs and Safety Protocols