In October, 2015, I created an immersive, one-on-one interactive puppetry experience called Bound To Travel with collaborator Brandi Hoofnagle. It was commissioned by 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta, GA, as part of their Curious (Literary) Encounters weekend, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts' The Big Read project. We were asked to revive the installation performance the following year on behalf of the theater for the 2016 Decatur Book Festival.

Bound To Travel is a literary travel agency specializing in sending clients to their next literary journey, based on a special blend of questions that may sound obscure, but will most assuredly point them in the correct direction. Once the interview process is complete and the book is selected using the agency's unique algorithm, the two travel agents present to the client a "Live Brochure," highlighting a key moment in the book. This technology is inspired by toy theater, with puppets that at literally created using literary text.

This project is a favorite of mine. I love to create intimate theatrical moments that are inspired by the audience itself. I also enjoy the challenge of creating ongoing installation performances. We performed Bound To Travel for three hours each evening during the run. Bound To Travel is available for book festivals, libraries and literary events and I would be happy to remount this experience. Contact me to discuss this!

Here's a quick promo interview that 7 Stages used for social media:

When you arrive at CURIOUS (LITERARY) ENCOUNTERS you'll have the opportunity to visit with our travel agents who will give you a ticket for a spectacular journey. Want to know more about the ladies (Amy Rush and Brandi Hoofnagle) behind this agency?

Q. Which novel inspired your piece and why did this book intrigue you?
A. I was inspired by a poem in the collection "The Poetry of Emily Dickinson" called "There Is No Frigate Like a Book." It's a very short poem and in it, she simply is celebrating reading as a way to set the mind free. A frigate is a warship. She says that a book is like a ship - you can travel around the world - but it won't cost you very much! I decided to create an intimate theatrical experience that includes improvisation and toy theater. One of my favorite performing partners is Brandi Hoofnagle - I'm glad she's on board! We're performing “Bound To Travel” - a literary travel agency that has set up shop at 7 Stages. Audience members can make appointments (come early!) and the two welcoming agents who will help them decide which journey to take via the books found on The Big Read list.

Q. How does the piece you created for Curious Encounters relate to the other work you do?
A. I enjoy creating theatrical experiences that give audiences an opportunity be a part of the storytelling process. I also am interested in personalized, intimate performances. Most experiences involve puppetry in some form and, often, improvisation.

Q. What do you want audiences to take away from your piece during Curious Encounters?
A. Audiences will have a unique and entertaining experience, but also, hopefully be inspired to pick up a book sometime soon. We're not going to be heavy handed about it, but hopefully our enthusiasm for the written word will rub off like a ink from a page!

Q. What are you #LitCurious about?
A. I'm #LitCurious about how each interaction (performance) will go. One of our performing partners is the audience and that makes each show different.


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