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Puppeteers raise $2k

Article Published: Dec. 9, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Two-thousand dollars.

It's what puppeteer and activist Alistair Burke of Star of the Seas Studios estimates was raised for the National Wildlife Federation at "The Shining Seas" last month.

"We opened the doors at 6:15 and were sold out by 6:30," he said. "We literally had people watching the show through the windows."

More than 100 people were turned away, inspiring Burke and the rest of the Star of the Seas Studios (SOSS) team to plan a repeat performance for Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. in Valborg Theatre at Appalachian State University. "It will be the same show but even more spirit involved," Burke said.

The show, entitled "The Shining Seas," benefits the National Wildlife Federation's efforts in the Gulf following a massive spill that some scientists say will impact the fishing industry for years to come.

With the help of about 40 community members, Burke and wife Kathy Ford, both professional puppeteers, decided to take action.

"That's one of the great things about art," he said. "It's a transformative kind of thing. It's a place where we can put our sorrow or our hurt or anger or our joy, our ability to celebrate what we have in this world ... that's what we envisioned, creating a community theater piece that would involve folks from throughout the community."

The show, the puppeteers' High Country debut, is more than a play. It's an experience, with more than 30 handmade puppets.

"It incorporates all manner of forms in it, from dance to spoken word to video," Burke said. "The main message of the play is a celebration of the oceans, these wonderful oceans that we have. It speaks to a stewardship of the oceans and how we can better deal with them."

The repeat performance sets sale at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets to the event will be $8.

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