The Department of Theatre and Dance is an unbelievably diverse one, populated with countless aspiring actors, directors, designers, playwrights, stage managers, and more; but sometimes, someone with a really one-of-a-kind focus shows up! Theatre major Wayne Bird ’14 proves this with his unique and original concentration: puppetry! Whether it’s building them or operating them, Wayne has created quite the interesting course of study by focusing on puppets!
The Department and Theatre and Dance sat down with Wayne to talk about his experiences with puppetry.
T&D:What is your major?
T&D: What’s your main focus in theatre?
Wayne: The technical name is Object Theatre, but it’s puppetry.
T&D: How did you first get involved with theatre?
Wayne: In my senior year of high school, I went to a new school, and I thought “I kind of like acting, so I guess I’ll try out for a play. Luckily, the theatre teacher there was a great guy. That year I went and saw The Lion King on Broadway, and that’s what got me into puppetry.”
T&D: What is your favorite show you’ve worked on at UMW?
Wayne: Moon Over Buffalo, for one, it’s a great show, it’s really funny, and it’s probably the most responsible I’ve had to be here, because I was the production assistant.
T&D: What are your plans after graduation?
Wayne: Live. I’m not sure yet whether or not I’m going to work in the theatre, but more than likely I’m going to go into some sort of manual labor job, like construction or painting, since that’s what I do during my summers.
T&D: What is your favorite word? Least favorite word?
T&D: What is your favorite kind of candy?
Wayne: Reese’s Pieces.
T&D: If you could work on any play or musical, which one would it be?
Wayne: Avenue Q, because it’s a very adult show and they use puppets, and I rather enjoy that.
T&D: Do you have any interests outside of theatre?
Wayne: I really enjoy video games and movies, I just like building things, making things, whether they’re craft items like messenger bags or bracelets or whatever. I just like doing crafty things.
T&D: What attracted you to puppetry as a focus?
Wayne: The one thing that really inspired me was The Lion King on Broadway, because the puppets in that show are just fantastic. As a kid I watched the Behind-the-Scenes of movies like Jurassic Park and Labyrinth, and I always loved The Muppets. You can do things with puppets that you can’t do with people, and that’s something that’s always attracted me to puppetry.