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Honorary degree citation - Peter Schumann

By: Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, June 2018

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Peter Schumann, independent theatre company founder, director, visual artist and social activist.

When he moved to New York from his native Germany in the early ’60s, Mr. Schumann and his wife Elka founded a company based in a unique theatrical language which combined his skills in painting and sculpture with drama, dance and puppetry.

Bread and Puppet Theater has been a highly prolific and original troupe, set on empowering communities. Since its early days in the anti-Vietnam war protest movement, it has brought political and experimental theatre to parades and venues small and large around the world, everywhere involving locals in its productions as performers and volunteers. And wherever they go, Schumann bakes the hearty sourdough rye following the recipe from his  Sileasian home village. After every show the audiences are served bread. Bread  nourishes their body; theater, the mind and soul.

Cinquante-cinq ans après avoir fondé la troupe Bread & Puppet, Monsieur Schumann est toujours actif. À sa ferme écologique, située au Vermont, il construit des marionnettes et organise des spectacles locaux ainsi que des tournées. Il coordonne également des ateliers internationaux qui favorisent le militantisme communautaire sous diverses formes; il s’est récemment  rendu à Prague, en Palestine et en Haïti .

His longtime educational outreach includes a robust summer apprenticeship program, where under Schumann’s direction, Concordia students and others learn about puppetry and performance creation, as well as how to live sustainably, with artistic integrity and social consciousness.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Mr. Peter Schumann, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

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