Bread and Puppet Theater (2009)

Bread and Puppet Theater (2009)

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This case looks at a venerable, founder-driven theater and its planning for the future. Every morning on the Bread and Puppet farm in Glover, Vermont, Peter Schumann rises at the crack of dawn, straps on his apron, and sets to the task of baking the day’s bread. With matted white hair, an overgrown beard, and skin tanned and taut from decades of working outdoors, Schumann looks nothing like the image most would associate with one of the most significant innovators of contemporary theater.

Or perhaps that is exactly what he looks like. At age seventy-four, he is the primary creative force behind the Bread and Puppet Theater, the company he founded over forty-five years ago. He directs most of the theater’s pieces, which include plays, dances, and circus acts, designs all the puppets, and can even be found performing in the shows, either shredding on a fiddle or balancing on fifteen-foot high stilts.

As Schumann ages and approaches retirement, will Bread and Puppet continue beyond him? It is a question that has arisen sporadically over the years, but at a coming meeting of the Board of Directors, the issue is will be given much careful thought and consideration.

Publication Date: 2011-03-28

Suggested Citation: Elizabeth Elliott, "Bread and Puppet Theater (2009)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case 09-24, March 28, 2011

Keywords: Theater, Performing Arts, Leadership Transition, Organizational Direction, Governance, Strategic Planning, Scale, Donor Relations

Teaching Notes: Yes (please contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu)

About the Theater Management Knowledge Base

This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.