Our 2022 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite will be presented Aug. 5th, 6th & 7th at the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center in Saugerties, NY. The featured production will be KEEP THAT LAMP TRIMMED N BURNING – a historical drama drawn from the annals of the 1869 Saugerties Lighthouse. Tickets will be available online and also at the site on performance evenings. Showtime is 7pm. PLEASE BRING LAWN SEATING The Tidewater Center is located at 61 East Bridge St. in Saugerties, Ny 12477.

Photo by Anna Landewe.


The 2021 Puppet Suite was presented Aug. 18, 19, 21 & 25 at the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center in Saugerties, NY

Saugerties-based Arm-of-the-Sea Theater will open its new waterfront performance venue – The Tidewater Center – with five performances of its annual Esopus Creek Puppet Suite August 18th  – 22nd. This outdoor event fuses live music with large-scale mask and puppet characters in a celebration of puppetry’s ancient communal roots and its emergence as a vibrant modern art form. Motifs in this year’s Puppet Suite include a Catskill Forest Rhapsody, Sonata of the Great Flood, Elegy for the Departed, and A Reckoning with the Remedies. The ensemble cast includes music director Eli Winograd and company veterans Kira deCoudres, Anna Hafner, Soyal Smalls and Ryan Smith, along with community participants. Marlena Marallo created the visual elements and Patrick Wadden directs the action. The shape-shifting production promises an array of delights and insights for young and old alike.

Arm-of-the-Sea was founded by Marallo and Wadden in 1982. The company tours its original productions to venues far and wide, channeling the evocative power of the arts as a force for joy, insight, and community uplift. The organization is developing The Tidewater Center as a cultural park for arts, aquatic science, and local heritage on the site of a 19th century papermill. The new open air performance space is situated between towering mill ruins and the tidal Esopus Creek. “We’ve been an itinerant troupe for decades,” notes co-director Patrick Wadden. “Now we’re establishing our own ceremonial site where a mountain stream meets sea-level. It’s a very a liminal place, fitting for the ephemeral nature of theater. And, thanks to the truckloads of clean quarry material deposited and sculpted by our contractors, it’s also tick-free and Covid-safe.”

If you would like to support the next phase of the Tidewater Center development, please visit:


The 2019 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite:

                 Our 2019 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite took place Aug. 16, 17 & 18. Due to inclement weather, performances were held at St. Mary’s Church Hall in Saugerties. The show, KEEP THAT LAMP TRIMMED ‘N BURNIN’, was drawn from the annals of the 1869 Saugerties Lighthouse, in celebration of its 150th anniversary.  The production was also given four performances on Sept. 28 & 29 as part of the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.       This project was undertaken in partnership with the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy and made possible with support from the Upstate Coalition for a Fairgame Arts Grant, The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and the NoVo Foundation. And by public funds from the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Services and Promotion Fund, administered by Arts Mid Hudson and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.  


Art & Sustenance – Marlena Marallo

Story – Patrick Wadden

Direction – Trey Daniels & Patrick Wadden

Music Makers – Eli Winograd, Madeline Grace, Liana Gabel, Sarah Underhill

Lighting – Monica-Jean Smith

Studio Art Assistant – Rae Stang

Research Collaborators – Anna & Patrick Landewe

Production Assistants – Frank Cohen, Anna Hafner, & Camila Cueves Rapu

 The Players:

Victoria Decker – Kate Crowley

Lauren Smith – Ellen Crowley

Lynda Carre’ – The Father

Nix Vudelle – Steamboat Captain

Mira Liane Bowin – Birds, Sailboats, Banners

Sean Crimmins – Eli Parker

Camila Cuevas Rapu – Eagle & Mallard Duck

Trey Daniels – Mallard Duck

   Video by Kira deCoudres. Music by Eli Winograd, Liana Gabel & Madeline Grace


Click photo to view Video Collage from the 2018 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite. Video by Kira deCoudres. Photo by Jim Peppler. Copyright Jim Peppler/2018.

Our Story takes place in mythic time on Esopus Creek in Saugerties amidst the ruins of the Sheffield Diamond Paper Mill. Following the mill’s demise in the 1960’s, a dense thicket of trees and vines grew to shroud the site, providing a hide-away for generations of local kids. Like this play, their copious spray-paint hieroglyphics mark tenuous passage through a ruining and rising world.
The Shakers
Art & Sustenance – Marlena Marallo
Story & Direction – Patrick Wadden
Music Makers – Rhys Ellis, Dean Jones & Eli Winograd
Voice Artists – Bob Blacker & Dina Peone
Director Emeritus – Bob Lavaggi
Assistant to the Director – Kira deCoudres
Lighting – Nick Goldfrank

The Players
Trey Daniels – Wolfie
Kira deCoudres – Rachel
Ernest Goodmaw – Maddy & Lou
Rylie Jones – Puppeteer
Soyal Smalls – Mack
Patrick Wadden – Connie
Nadja Welden – Puppeteer

ARM-OF-THE-SEA THEATER’s 2018 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite takes place this weekend – Fri. Aug 17, Sat. Aug. 18 and Sun. Aug. 19 at 8pm. DUE TO UNSTABLE WEATHER, THE PERFORMANCES ARE PRESENTED AT ST. MARY CHURCH HALL, 23 CEDAR ST., SAUGERTIES, NY
This hometown spectacle, inspired by local history and current events, features Marlena Marallo’s hallmark visuals and original music by Rhys Ellis, Dean Jones, Dina Peone & Eli Winograd.  View promo video HERE. 

Admission by donation: $12 Adults, $5 Kids, $25 for family of four. Proceeds will benefit Arm-of-the-Sea’s waterfront revitalization project, The Tidewater Center for Arts & Science.     

This event made possible, in part, with support from the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Services and Promotion Fund, administered by Arts Mid Hudson. 


The 2017 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite


SAT. AUG. 19, 2017  @  8PM

Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park, Saugerties NY

Suggested Donation: $12 Adults, $5 Kids                                           

Bring Lawn Seating!   Come Early to Picnic!   Info:845-246-7873



The Microbial Maestro, from DIRT! THE SECRET LIFE OF SOIL. Photo by Allyse Pulliam

2016 Suite Poster 001THE 2016 PUPPET SUITEAUG. 19, 20 & 21  SAUGERTIES, NY

The Esopus Creek Puppet Suite is our annual hometown summer spectacle presented at Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park in the Village of Saugerties, NY. This year we’re putting a new spin on the event by presenting a three-night PUPPET SUITE RETROSPECTIVE, featuring three works from the company repertoire. All three productions combine visual storytelling with live music in a homegrown style of magical realism.

“Puppet theater is a venerable art form that’s enjoying a surge of popularity right now,” reflected Arm-of-the-Sea co-founder Patrick Wadden. “By offering a different show each night, audiences can see a range of our recent work and compare notes. On top of that, we’d like to attract new fans to this style of theater—– so the opening night is free!”        Each evening will begin with several short works, followed by the featured production. The multi-layered pieces are designed to enchant oldsters and youngsters alike.


Anna Haffner, Patrick Wadden and Soyal Smalls in a prelude from the Esopus Creek Puppet Suite  August 20, 2016. Photo by Jim Peppler; Copyright Jim Peppler 2016.

The featured production on Friday August 19 will be HOOK, LINE + SINKER, which celebrates the timeless art of fishing while giving the lowdown on Hudson River fish. Saturday August 20 will feature THE REJUVENARY RIVER CIRCUS, an allegorical tale about the life of a river. On Sunday August 21 the troupe will present CITY THAT DRINKS THE MOUNTAIN SKY, the epic story of water for New York City. All shows feature Marlena Marallo’s stunning visuals. Company performers include Soyal Smalls, Anna Haffner, Laura Kopczak, Dean Jones, Eli Winograd and Patrick Wadden.

The Esopus Creek Puppet Retrospective begins at 8 pm at Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park on East Bridge Street, in the village of Saugerties. Admission is free on Friday Aug. 19.  Admission on Saturday and Sunday is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family of four. Tickets are available at the park entrance each evening of the event. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early and to bring lawn seating.

 This 4 minute video features scenes from the 2012, 2013 & 2014 Puppet Suites  

The 2014 Esopus Creek Puppet Suite ~  August 23 & 24 ~ Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park ~ Saugerties, NY
  • 2014 Puppet Sutite poster
  • Written & Directed by Patrick Wadden
  • Artistic Director  & Creator of Masks, Puppet Figures & Set:  Marlena Marallo
  • Costume Design for Augusta Savage and Mallard Ducks: Jean Whelan
  • Assistant Artist & Duckling Painter: Olga Micinska
  • Assistant Stage Directors: Bob Lavaggi & Jason West
  • Musical Direction:  Bill Ylitalo with Thomas Workman & Brian Farmer
  • Vocalists:  Sarah Underhill, Barbara Wild & Bob Blacker
  • Sound: Bill Curtis
  • Lights: Johnathan Rowan
  • Site Coordinator: Deborah Conathan
  • Augusta Savage an daughter Irene, 2014 Suite, Photo by Doug FreeseThe Players:  LeeAnne Richards plays the Drake Mallard, Ellen Crowley & Death
  •  Soyal Smalls plays the Hen Mallard, Ed Fraleigh & Augusta’s daughter
  •  Jason West plays Pete (Gumpy)  Campenelli
    •                          Laura Kopczak plays Connie Lynch, Audrey & the Old Woman
    •                         Davey Hval plays the Sturgeon, the Tiger & the Crab
    •                        Patrick Wadden plays Martin Cantine & Augusta Savage
Members of the Youth Brigade play the Frogs, the Millworkers, the River, the Wolves, the Deer, the Circus Troupe and the Firemen.  The Brigade is Ava Cooper, Hannah Cooper, Allie Joers, Nickie Joers, Sophia Kamrass, Monika Berlinska-Glasser & Miles Berlinska-Glasser.
Special thanks to: Saugerties Mayor Bill Murphy and the Village trustees and staff,   Deborah Conathan,  Rae Stang, David Radovanovic  / WhatsTheBigIdea,   Susannah Kricker, Tina Piccolo, Steve Thomas, Dana Schildkraut, Patrick & Anna Landewe and the  Cantines Island Co-Housing Community.  
The Martin Cantine Paper Mill!

The Martin Cantine Paper Mill!


Arm-of-the-Sea sponsored a mini Art & Science Camp this week in Saugerties at SebSi Studio. Initiated and directed by board member Marie Daniels, the camp involved nine young people and focused on frogs. They will present a short performance at the Friday evening Puppet Suite.

 The Esopus Creek Puppet Suite is part of Arm-of-the-Sea’s Stories From Here initiative which seeks to creatively involve area residents in local history and culture. Elements of this show were created with students at Cahill School in Saugerties and Morse School in Poughkeepsie. 
Production Notes
 This Puppet Suite is the third in a trilogy of plays inspired by local history. It draws from events of the early 20th century and features entrepreneur  Martin Cantine, street cleaner Peter Campanelli, and Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage.  The storyteller, Cornelius “Connie” Lynch, was a mason and  proprietor of Lynch’s Marina, located just downstream from this park. The C. A. Lynch Fire Company, just up the hill, bears his name.  We have taken outrageous poetic liberties to compress disparate events spanning 40 years into one cycle of the seasons.  
  •  The Martin Cantine Company operated as one of the town’s largest employers from 1899 until 1975. The strike depicted in the play took place in 1920. Among his
    many civic contributions, Martin Cantine donated 31 acres of  land to the Town, which became the Cantine Athletic Fields.
  • After being a resident here for twenty years Augusta Savage returned to New York with her daughter and died in obscurity shortly thereafter. Today her role as artist and educator is widely acclaimed, and an art museum in MA and community center in FL bear her name.
    • Pete Campanelli was known a Saugerties’ Ambassador of Good Will. When you walk the Village bluestone sidewalks, remember the man who swept those stones for thirty years.
This project made possible with support from the Puffin Foundation and the Klock Kingston Foundation,  And by public funds from the New York Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  Use of Tina Chorvas Park from the Village of Saugerties Trustees. Food donations for cast meals generously provided by: Lucky Chocolates, ‘Que, Slice’s Pizza and Sun Porch Bakery.  Please patronize these local establishments!            In addition to the above contributors, our  2014 Season is made possible by support from: Hudson River Improvement Fund, Catskill Watershed Corporation, Stewart’s Shops, Macy’s, Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Saugerties Kiwanis Club and the TD Charitable Foundation.

2013 Suite programThe 2013 Espous Creek Puppet Suite  ~  A BEND IN THE CRICK OF TIME:True Tall Tales From Olde Saugerties  ~   Aug. 23, 24 & 25, 2013 ~ Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park in Saugerties NY.

A Bend in the Crick of Time wove together scenes and stories from 19th century Saugerties. The principal narrative followed wounded Civil War veteran William Wolburn as he returns home and tries to pull his shattered body and mind back together. Spurning his family’s farm, Wollburn instead takes up residence on the Creek at Fisherman’s Rest Social Club. Guitar in hand, he becomes something of a local Orpheus — transfixing all who hear his laments. One night, attempting an impossible feat, he falls into the Creek and is swept towards the river, only to be rescued by Lighthouse Keepers  Kate and Ellen Crowley.  The rest, as they say, is history.Cast and production credits are available.  Read press coverage.  A video of the August 24th performance can be viewed. For more about the show go to:  https://www.armofthesea.org/portfolio/2013-esopus-creek-puppet-suite-a-bend-in-the-crick-of-time


The 2012 Puppet Suite was entitiled UNDER MILL WHEELS. Press coverage available here and here.   And you can view a three-part video of the show: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.