About Wishing Chair Productions
Children in Nashville have been enchanted by Nashville Public Library’s puppet shows since Tom Tichenor’s first production in 1938. Wishing Chair Productions, the library’s resident puppet troupe, continues the puppet tradition by creating word-class shows that delight children and adults alike.
Brian Hull leads a talented group of performers, who create puppets, scenery, and music for original productions. The troupe continues performing original Tichenor shows, such as The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings. Wishing Chair also produces original shows. Many, like Anansi the Spider, reflect the diverse storytelling traditions and cultures of Nashville. Others reimagine classic works like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Wishing Chair Productions partners with cultural institutions like the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Drawing on Nashville’s own talented musicians and theater professionals enables the troupe to bring each story to life with wonderful music and inventive storytelling.
The Wishing Chair Puppet Truck program began in 2005. The Puppet Truck works in conjunction with the library’s Bringing Books to Life! program to perform live shows at community events. The Puppet Truck allows the library to reach children and school groups who aren’t able to visit the library’s Children’s Theater.
In June 2008, the Nashville Public Library hosted Nashville’s first International Puppet Festival, financed by the Nashville Public Library Foundation. Puppetry artists from Italy, France, Germany and China joined local artists for three days of performances and workshops. They dazzled more than 15,000 children and adults over the weekend. This bi-annual event is one of the library’s most popular programs.
Each year, over 69,000 children attend the puppet shows and storytimes at the Main Library. Annual attendance for Puppet Truck performances tops 27,000.
top row: Brian Hull, Mary Tanner Bailey, Morgan Matens
front row: John McSparran, Pete Carden, Bret Wilson
The Tichenor Legacy
Tom Tichenor was only 15 when he staged Puss In Books at the Nashville Public Library in 1938. In 1947 he was hired as part-time staff member and began regular marionette shows for the library.
Wishing Chair Productions is proud to preserve Tom Tichenor's memory through the continued use of his beloved marionettes and puppets.