Paul L'Ecuyer, puppeteer, artist and musician became interested in puppetry at the early age of four years old while visiting a local puppet theater, "The Toy Cupboard Theater & Museums" in S. Lancaster, MA with his parents. His visit to the theater was such a magical moment, when he returned home drew a map which would lead him back if his parents would no longer take him. Throughout his youth, Paul visited the Fitchburg Public library and through books, taught himself about puppets and cartooning. He also became interested in music and began studying piano while in the second grade.
During his fourth grade year at St. Francis Elementary School in Fitchburg, Paul received a ventriloquist puppet as a gift. 'Charlie McCarthy' was an instant hit with his fellow classmates, and his teacher, Sr. Gloria, who allowed the shy young boy an avenue to express his talent. After much encouragement during a 'show and tell' demonstration of ventriloquism with his new puppet, his teacher brought him into every classroom of the school to perform the same skit. With as much success as his own classmates, Paul was no longer shy.
With the help of his sister Claire, who owned a tape recorder, Paul continued to develop his voice characters and began to design and build many puppets and plays through his elementary and high school years. Several teachers through his early education recognized and encouraged his artistic and musical talents as well as his unusual interest in puppets. Special men and women that Paul continues to thank as people who directed his path towards a life as a puppeteer; Sr. Gloria, Mr. Beardmore, Sr. Joseph-Marie, and especially, his high school art teacher, Mrs. Nelde Drumm whose keen insight and interest in her students continued to inspire, enlighten and direct Paul towards his life-long dream. His first job was that of a church organist at 'Our Lady of The Lake' parish in Leominster, and played the organ at weekend services and weddings for several years. During his junior year in high school, Paul developed a traveling puppet stage he called "Fantasy Theater" and performed at local events and festivals. Paul graduated in 1977 from Lunenburg High School and following graduation, attended New England School of Art and Design in Boston.
Upon his return home to Lunenburg in 1981, Paul was hired by Whalom Park Amusement Company. He developed hand puppet shows for the 'Kiddieland" area of the park, and produced the "Starshine Marionette" show where celebrity look-a-like marionettes performed their hit songs. Paul also managed the mascot costumed characters, and developed stage shows presented daily. He worked on much of the artwork throughout the park including graphics, signage, repainting and restoring props and rides. He remained at Whalom until 1989.
In 1982, upon finding the little map he drew as a young boy, Paul returned to the theater that first sparked his interest in puppetry. The puppeteer, historian, and school teacher: Herbert H. Hosmer Jr. was thrilled to learn that his puppet show had inspired a young audience member to pursue the same career. He invited Paul to study as a puppeteer's apprentice at his "The Toy Cupboard Theater & Museums". Paul continued to work at the theater while still working at Whalom until Mr. Hosmer's passing in 1995. In 1989, Paul was employed by the nationally known 'Vagabond Puppet Theater' of Atlanta, Georgia and toured much of the United States and the Bahama's with the company for two seasons. Upon returning to Mass. in 1992, Paul and fellow 'Vagabond' puppeteer, Jeffrey Koslik developed their own touring puppet theater calling it the 'Drawbridge Puppet Production Company'.
Based in Lunenburg, Drawbridge Puppet Productions is now in its fifteenth season of puppet and marionette performances. Mr. L'Ecuyer and Mr. Koslik continue to provide the art of puppetry and education for families, schools, libraries, and youth groups throughout New England. The shows are totally designed and created by the puppeteers, i.e; scenery, props, staging and of course the puppets and marionettes. Each Drawbridge Production contains an original script and songs by Mr. Koslik. At the conclusion of each performance, a backstage tour or an 'Art of Puppetry' demonstration is conducted for the audience.
In October, 2005 the puppeteers opened a permanent theater located on Massachusetts Ave. (Rte 2A) in Lunenburg, which hosts weekly shows open to the public, as well as private birthday and field trip productions. In addition to performances, the puppeteers will provide audiences and groups with puppet making workshops as part of the production or separately as a complete course. Paul also creates specialty personalized products, puppets and caricatures called "Cloneonettes" that resemble anyone through photographs; Visit the Gift Shop page for more information on "Drawbridge Productions".
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