Canadian puppeteer. Ronnie Burkett works solo. His shows have a diversity and depth that reveal the extent of his range as an actor and playwright. He uses string puppets (marionettes) as well as other types of puppets. Their design wields a strong visual impact that speaks to the audience before any words have been uttered.
Ronnie Burkett spent his childhood in Alberta. At the age of twelve, he enrolled in a correspondence course in puppetry from his chief mentor, Martin Stevens; at fourteen, he was a travelling puppeteer, touring with his shows; at nineteen, he worked with Bil Baird at the Bil Board Marionette Theater in New York. He returned to Canada in 1980 and worked in television and touring shows for children.
He founded Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes in 1986, devoted to puppetry for adult audiences. His shows evolved into hilarious and corrosive comedies (Tinka’s New Dress – a dazzling, yet touching achievement in virtuosity). His performances – inspired by deep-rooted feelings and innovative ideas – have been repeatedly awarded for acting, writing and design, including two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards, an Obie Award, the President’s Award given by the Puppeteers of America, four Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, and the Siminovitch Prize in Canadian Theatre.
His original works include Fool’s Edge (1986), Virtue Falls (1989), The Punch Club (1989), Awful Manors (1991), Tinka’s New Dress (1994), Old Friends (1996), Street of Blood (1998), Happy (2000), Provenance (2002), 10 Days on Earth (2005), Billy Twinkle, Requiem For A Golden Boy (2008) and Penny Plain (2011). His scripts are published by Playwrights Canada Press.
Both the public and the critics, whether in the Americas or in Europe, have been sensitive to the issues he raises so forcefully. In this, he has expanded the power of puppet theatre.
- Burkett, Ronnie. Happy. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2002.
- Burkett, Ronnie. Street of Blood. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2002.
- Burkett, Ronnie. Tinka’s New Dress. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2002.
- Burkett, Ronnie. Provenance. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2005.
- Burkett, Ronnie. 10 Days on Earth. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2006.
- Burkett, Ronnie. Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy. Edmonton (Canada): River Books, 2008.
- Canadian Theatre Review. No. 95, Guelph, Ontario, Summer 1998.