Acclaimed puppeteer Ronnie Burkett comes to Vancouver BC

When Ronnie Burkett first started doing The Daisy Theatre, coming March 21 to April 9  at the Historic Theatre at the Cultch on Commercial Drive, the show was conspicuously lacking in personality. In fact, it was lacking three personalities: What the puppeteer calls “the holy trinity” of Schnitzel, Esme Massengill and Edna Rural, veterans of star-making appearances in previous Burkett shows.

After traveling the world, Ronnie brings his production to Vancouver, BC.

Ages 16+. Patrons under the age of 16 will not be admitted.

Audience favourite Esme Gassengill returns in The Daisy Theatre, running from March 21 to April 9 at the Historic Theatre at the Cultch. Alejandro Santiago

“It was only halfway through the run when, walking the dogs one night, I thought, ‘For heaven’s sake, it’s really rare that a performer, especially a puppeteer, will get a signature character,’ ” Burkett recalls. “And I had retired three great signature characters. So the next day we started redesigning and rebuilding them and put them into the show.”

The Daisy Theatre was originally prepared for Toronto’s Luminato Festival in 2013. Initially, the show incorporated mini-plays by 10 Canadian playwrights that Burkett had commissioned. But that didn’t go over so well.

“The audience told me they didn’t like it,” Burkett says. “Some worked, some didn’t. But pretty quickly the Daisy just got its own thing going.”

In its current format, The Daisy Theatre “is kind of like a vaudeville show,” says Burkett. It’s a combination of set pieces and improv, with new characters and returning favourites, song-and-dance numbers and scenes from theatre classics.

The latter category includes what Burkett calls “Canada’s worst actress” doing “a bastardized version of the crypt scene from Romeo and Juliet.” A newer character is an elderly male English teacher who loves to perform Tennessee Williams’ female roles. “I’m not in any earnest way doing Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams,” Burkett says. “They’re springboards for these characters.”

Since he formed Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes in 1986, the Alberta native’s adult-oriented fantasias have made him one of the world’s best known puppeteers. The Daisy Theatre is his 13th show, following hits like Penny Plain, Billy Twinkle, 10 Days on Earth, Provenance, and the trilogy of Tinka’s New Dress, Street of Blood and Happy.

Burkett had been preparing a new scripted piece for this year, but the demand — it’s returning to Vancouver for the fourth time — for The Daisy Theatre has pushed back the new show.

“The Daisy, I think, is something I’m going to do until I die,” says the 60-year-old Burkett. “I might put it to bed and do something else, but it will always happen because it’s a really good reminder of how to play with the audience. And it’s a great little lab because I’m not held to a full script or conceit.”

The Daisy has been a welcome relief from the scripted material, he says, not just because of the subject matter but also the size of venues that he has been playing.

“What The Daisy Theatre did was reminded me that puppets work best when they’re small and subversive,” says Burkett. “I don’t want 800 people in the audience anymore. That was a goal for years, to get into the legitimate venues. When I did I realized it was too big. Nobody was close enough to see the puppets. I couldn’t smell the audience, and they couldn’t smell me working.”

When it comes to the smell of the audience, Vancouver rates highly by Burkett’s standards — especially since new people keep coming out to the shows, along with returning customers. And that audience is diverse.

“I look out at a Vancouver audience, and there’s no one demographic. Everyone’s out there. That’s the great, democratic thing about the Daisy Theatre,” he says. “And it’s good to laugh with an audience again. Some of the work had gotten so dark and so serious that it was just like, ‘I’ve gotta lighten up.’ The Daisy allows me that.”

From the upcoming events section of The Georgia Straight in Vancouver:

Editor’s choice

The Daisy Theatre at the Cultch

It’s a show that changes every night, and for those who have seen it, it’s like an addiction. Which of his warped and wonderfully wrought characters will puppet genius Ronnie Burkett bring back for the return of the Daisy Theatre? Will it be drag queen Dinah Dooya? Lounge singer Rosemary Focaccia? Fairy child Schnitzel? Or “Canada’s oldest and worst actress”, Miss Lillian Lunkhead? We can’t tell you—the man has more than 40 to pull from—but if you’ve never caught the one-of-a-kind marionette show for adults before, you’re in for a wild mix of cabaret and vaudeville on strings, of course. Over the years, we’ve raved about the show: “These moments surpass anything you get from most evenings at the theatre.” Go see what the fuss is about, or lose yourself in the twisted world for a second or third time.

The Daisy Theatre is at the Cultch from March 21 to April 9.

My ex-wife and I had done puppet shows for years and I had the good fortune to see one of Ronnie’s performances after my divorce. I highly recommend his shows to every adult. More about Ronnie on his Facebook page, and The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Is a known dog killer teaching your children at Place des arts Coquitlam spring break?

Special place in hell for those who harm children and animals

A known dog killer has taught puppetry, lantern making, and other arts and crafts to children attending Place des arts in Coquitlam, BC in the past and may be teaching your child this spring break.

But parents don’t know if a killer is teaching their children because Place des arts has left off the name of the instructor for these classes, but included the name of the instructor for all the other classes during spring break.

Parents should always know who is teaching their children, and in instances where a facility such as Place des arts doesn’t list who the instructor is – for one reason or another – parents should phone the facility and get the name of the instructor or instructors.

Some festivals or community centers offering activities for children don’t show who is teaching their children. Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Haney, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Whistler and other areas often hold activities for children during spring break. As a precaution, parents should phone and ask who the instructor is and then check the Internet for any information which could be of interest to a parent.

Just last year B.C. Corrections issued a public notification after a pet-killer, described by a judge as a “psychopathic and narcissistic … sexual sadist,” was released from jail with plans to live in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver hired a Hells Angel without too much – if any – background check. Would you want your child taught by someone without a background check of any kind?

Here is the link to the letter my lawyer wrote after she checked the facts about Liz Summerfield killing my dog during our divorce, during the time she refused numerous court orders to turn over bank records of what she had done with all the money she removed from our joint accounts.

I just feel that, as a public service to parents, they have the right to know something about the people who are teaching their children, and I suggest parents Google the names of anyone teaching or instructing their children as a precaution.

Parents, check who is teaching your children. Don’t enroll your child without feeling absolutely safe and satisfied with your choice of instructor(s).

a lantern affair hat by liz

Who taught children at Lynn Valley – Sea to Sky Heritage Fair? Parents should know.

Special place in hell for those who harm children and animals

Parents with young children should know who is teaching their children at local festivals, art classes, or other public events. But does a parent really know who their children are meeting?

For that matter, how much research on instructors do festival organizers, art class organizers, or other public bodies do before entrusting children to the people they’ve hired?

I believe parents have the right to know who is teaching their child or children, and believe parents should be clearly told by organizers who the instructors are. Far too many times I’ve seen events listed without the name of the instructor.

It would be best for all concerned if public event organizers advertised the names of instructors or participants at public events so parents know with whom their children are coming into contact.

For example, on May 10, 2013, the Lynn Valley Main Library and Village the Sea-to-Sky Heritage Fair was held. One of the events was Heritage Hat making. No name was given.

The person conducting the Heritage Hat making may be good at what he/she does, but what does a parent know about that person?  How does a parent find out who is teaching their child or children if no names are given?

Would a parent feel any different about their child/children being taught Heritage Hat making if the person doing the instruction was a known dog-killer and liar?

Would a parent feel any different about the person teaching their child/children if a parent knew a letter to the BCSCPA warned them of a dog-killer who lied to veterinarian in order to have a family pet put down?

Perhaps such knowledge wouldn’t make a difference to a parent. Perhaps such knowledge wouldn’t make a difference to an event organized by a public body for something like the Sea-to-Sky Heritage Fair.

Maybe this year the Sea-to-Sky Heritage Fair organizers didn’t hire a known dog-killer and liar named Liz Summerfield, who also teaches puppetry, puppet making, papier mache, and other arts related crafts around BC, for this Heritage Hat making session. But how would a parent know if an organization doesn’t advertise who the instructors are?

The Sea-to-Sky Heritage Fair hired Liz in 2012, so perhaps they hired her again. Who knows?

I urge all parents to contact event organizers and ask them who is teaching their children if the instructors name is not known. I also urge parents to google an instructors name before allowing your children to attend public events.

It is only with full disclosure, of instructors or participants, by the organizers of an event that a parent can make a decision as to who to entrust their child or children.

Dog killer instructing BC lower mainland children.

Is your child being taught by a dog killer?

Parents living in the lower mainland of BC warned of dog killer teaching children.

Parents living in the Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore, Belcarra, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Surrey, and other lower mainland areas should search the Internet for information on anyone teaching or coming into contact with their child or children.

Has your child attended a class at Place des Arts, Place Maillardville, ArtsConnect, Port Moody Station Museum, Fair in the Square, or an event put on by the New Westminster Arts Council or your local school involving any of the following activities?

Children attending a lantern-making workshops or classes involving Easter or Christmas arts or crafts, heritage hats, masks or other arts/crafts may have been instructed by a known killer of a dog, a woman who lied to a vet in order to have a dog killed, and a woman who refused to comply with multiple court orders.

Read this list of posts on this dog killer.

Place Maillardville hosts dog killer as instructor.

Would you want your child attending a workshop given by a dog killer, thief, and a liar?

See Place des Arts dog killer articles here, here, and here.  BCSPCA letter here.

Place Maillardville supports a known liar and dog killer:

Place Maillardville hosts a free lantern workshop, from 1 to 3 p.m., with guest artist Liz Summerfield. The lanterns will be used in a ceremony, Light up the Square – a Lantern Affair – on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 4: 30 to 7: 30 p.m. This is a registered program (no drop-ins). To register, call 604-933-6166 or drop by Place Maillardville at 1200 Cartier Ave. in Coquitlam.

Liz may be welcomed by various community centers, festivals and art camps to teach children, and parents may well want her to teach their children, moreover, even readers of this post may see nothing wrong with a woman who lies and kills an innocent animal teaching their children. I just feel that, as a public service to parents, they have the right to know something about the people who are teaching their children and I suggest parents Google the names of those teaching or instructing their children as a precaution.
Stop cruelty to animals. Support your local animal rights organization. No family pet needs to die for the personal profit of anyone.

Maple Ridge Arts Council hires dog killer

Shortly after my wife Liz Summerfield filed for divorce, my son told me she’d killed my dog during the time she was being questioned extensively in court about all the money missing from our bank account. I can’t remember if it was the fourth, fifth or sixth time the courts had asked her to provided bank records explaining the massive amount of missing funds, but it was sometime around then when she killed my dog.

My lawyer was shocked at my soon-to-be ex-wife killing an innocent animal, and after verifying the account of the killing she prepared a letter for me about Liz killing my dog.

Liz is now teaching children at Place des Arts and other facilities and festivals in the BC region, including this one at Maple Ridge Arts Council. I believe it is important for parents to know some background about the people teaching their children.

Puppets, Performance & Paper Maché Camp
Instructors: Lisa Lake & Liz Summerfield
Create, script and stage a puppet character!
Ages 6–11, M–F, Jul 25–29, 9:30am–3:00pm, $195/5
Ages 6–11, M–F, Aug 15–19, 9:30am–3:00pm, $195/5

Lying, dog killing woman named Liz Summerfield teaching children

Liz Summerfield, who lied to the South Burnaby Vet hospital in order to have my dog killed during the time the divorce judge was hounding her for bank records, is teaching children arts and crafts.

Liz sometimes works at the Place d’es Arts or other community arts locations, and is an instructor at “ARTrageous ART for Kids””

*New* ARTrageous ART for Kids
Age: 6 – 11yrs
ARTrageous Spring camp fun for kids. In this art camp you will spend your morning with artist Lisa Lake exploring art in different mediums and set the stage and actually make a backdrop for the afternoon fun where you will join artist Liz Summerfield with her ARTrageous puppets and create your own outrageous character’s.  Please bring a snack and lunch.
Instructor: Lisa Lake & Liz Summerfield
Location: Craft Studio; The ACT
Fee: $175/5
M-F      Mar 21-25                   9:30 am-3:00 pm       #152548

Liz may be welcomed by various community centers, festivals and art camps to teach children, and parents may well want her to teach their children, moreover, even readers of this post may see nothing wrong with a woman who lies and kills an innocent animal teaching their children. I just feel that, as a public service to parents, they have the right to know something about the people who are teaching their children and I suggest parents Google the names of those teaching or instructing their children as a precaution.

Here is the link to the letter my lawyer wrote after she checked the facts about Liz Summerfield killing my dog and Liz’s lying.

Place Des Arts info:

Papier Mâché Puppets
Create your very own zany puppet characters. You’ll make the head of these rod puppets using papier mâché and form the body and hands from fabrics and felt.
Instructor: Liz Summerfield

Monday March 21 – Friday March 25


“Final Decree. A Dead Dog Divorce.” is based in part upon my divorce and is a story of a thieving wife whose lies were exposed by a cunning female lawyer. Available at all online retailers including Barnes & Noble, Kobo/Chapters Indigo, Apple, Sony, select libraries, Flipkart in India, and other retailers.

Is a woman who had an animal killed fit to teach?

What makes a good instructor? What makes a bad instructor? Is it attitude? Is it ability?

What do parents need to know about instructors their child or children meet?

Would a woman who lied to a veterinarian in order to have an animal killed be the kind of person you want teaching your child or children?

Liz Summerfield  is presenting a lantern workshop  at Place Des Arts in Coquitlam on November 21. Many years ago during our divorce she took my dog to the South Burnaby Veterinary Clinic and had him killed.

Date: 11/21/2010 – 11/21/2010
Time: 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Location: 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam, BC V3K 1G2

Light up the Square: A Lantern Affair by making your very own lantern with Liz Summerfield.