Arts & Humanities

Assistant Professor Joshua Legate Elevates Puppetry Artistry in 'HUMAN' Production

By Carter Ottley |

Assistant Professor of Design Joshua Legate was recently hired as the projection designer for the premier production of "HUMAN" featuring Nehprii Amenii — the 2023 Puppetry Now Artist in residence.

Legate designed, organized and executed all conceptualization and implementation of video work for "HUMAN." This included everything from conceptual design meetings with the director and production team, to production and animation of media content, articulation of the technical specifications and arrangement of equipment in the venue, and programming of the playback software for production and presentation.

“It was a joy because video was used extensively in this production. Every scene used video as a part of the environmental design,” Legate said. “It was a living, breathing component of the final project in the same was that lighting, scenery and costumes are essential in creating the greater collaborative whole.”

The production explores the magic of humans through the eyes of sea creatures. Humans are extinct and the world as we know it has ended. An innocent and joyful seahorse named Naaci, a beautiful and wise mermaid named Yemi, and a sensitive octopus named Akashi must decide if Akashi will give up his heart to give humans a second chance.

It premiered on Jan. 19, 2024, at The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts and will go on a national tour once it has concluded its run in Atlanta.

Legate said he did not know much about the Puppetry Now Residence Program or The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts before he was hired.

“I am not an expert in puppetry. I'm just a theater nerd who has been lucky enough to be invited into some humbling creative circles,” Legate said. “One of my friends had a mutual friend who needed a designer. That was how I ended up on a Zoom call with Nehprii.”

Legate was immediately impressed by her passion and enthusiasm for creative collaboration.

“It wasn't until I arrived in Atlanta that I fully realized the extent of this production,” Legate said. “We were in partnership with The Jim Henson Project and New Victory Children's Theatre, and I felt humbled by the intelligence, creativity and community of everyone involved.”

The team was full of other artists who were excited to engage in the exploration of art and storytelling: Paige Seber, lighting design; Josh Langman, sound design; and William Harmon, CPA production manager. Hanna S. Kim also created additional media content for the production.

The Caine College of the Arts Department of Theatre Arts uses puppetry in productions. The recent showing of “A Christmas Carol” in partnership with The Caine Lyric Theatre included puppetry work designed by Professor of Scene Design Dennis Hassan. Hassan is also leading the charge to incorporate puppetry in the upcoming production of “The Tempest” this April.

“Puppetry has been a stunning and celebrated art form across all cultures and continents for as long as there has been live theatrical performance. The impacts of puppetry as performance, education and therapeutic practices are just as impactful today as ever,” Legate said. “Working with puppets might allow audiences to lower their inhibitions and more readily connect on an emotional level to the story being told. Especially today, we need every opportunity to reconnect on an emotional level.”


Carter Ottley
Communications Specialist
Caine College of the Arts


Joshua Legate
Assistant Professor of Design
Caine College of the Arts

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