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TOMTE (Gnome) - shadow puppet theater by Tom Lee with Lisa Gonzales


TOMTE (Gnome) - shadow puppet theater performance
Sunday, November 4, 10:30-12:30
Doors open at 10:30AM, performance starts at 11 followed by a hands-on workshop

Designed and performed by Tom Lee with Storyteller Lisa Gonzales
Adapted from “The Tomten” by Astrid Lindgren from a poem by Victor Rydberg

Tomte is a Swedish gnome who takes care of a family and their farm, though they never see him. On a cold winter night, Tomte teaches us about the importance of kindness and looking after all living things.”

Free and all are welcome. Reserve here or first-come, first serve at the door. For more information, please contact Matthew Searle, Assistant Director of Experimental Station at or 773.241.6044.

This event is part of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival’s Neighborhood Tour which provides free, family-friendly puppetry performances in neighborhoods with the ultimate aim of cultivating a widespread and diverse audience for internationally significant, culturally transformative works of puppetry.


Lisa Gonzales is a dance maker, performer, and associate professor at Columbia College Chicago. Interested in the complex array of meanings revealed by bodies in relationship to environment, Gonzales’ work often investigates some aspect of the power and frailty inherent in humanness. She has shown her work in diverse spaces such as DTW in New York, The Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall in Chicago, the historic Lu-Ling Theater in Taipei, Taiwan, at the Dostoyevsky Theater in St. Petersburg Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, and in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Gonzales is co-founder of The Architects (a dance collective dedicated to the performance of improvisation) and considers the politics of a collectively organized group teaching collaboratively and making performance work improvisationally and non-hierarchically to be an important artistic and social practice. She has been described as a performer of “stunning power and nuance” by the New York Times. Gonzales attended Middlebury College and received her MFA from the Ohio State University. She is grateful to her mentors and collaborators for inspiring her life-long commitment to dance and creative practice.

Born in Korea and raised in Hawai’i, Tom Lee is a designer, director, and puppet artist. His work frequently incorporates live-feed video and projection design with puppetry, exploring the synthesis of manipulated objects, miniatures, and figures with the language of film and animation. Growing up in Hawai’i, Mr. Lee was exposed to Asian theatre traditions that have had a profound impact on his work. Following the professional acting program at Carnegie Mellon University, his interest in performance and design found their synthesis in puppet theatre.

Lee’s puppetry performance includes War Horse on Broadway and Madama Butterfly with the Metropolitan Opera, among many others. Tom has created numerous original pieces, including Shank’s Mare, a collaboration with Japanese puppet master Koryu Nishikawa V, which will tour to Japan this summer. Shank’s Mare received the 2016 Arlyn Award for Outstanding Puppetry Design. Tom is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers and taught design and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College for ten years.

Tom and Lisa were introduced while working on the puppet piece, Hiroshima Maiden, by Dan Hurlin.


Lisa Gonzales’ website
Tom Lee’s website
Tom Lee on twitter
Youtube reading of “The Tomten” by Astrid Lindgren
Tomten poem by Victor Rydberg in English and Swedish

Earlier Event: November 3
November 3rd Farmers Market
Later Event: November 10
November 10th Farmers Market