Set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the 1990s and told through a collection of original 70’s R&B-inspired art pop songs, THE END OF TV explores the quest to find meaning amongst the increasingly constant barrage of commercial images and advertising white-noise. Two sides of the American Dream – its technicolour promise as delivered through TV ads, and its failure, witnessed in the dark reality of industrial decline – are staged in cinematic shadow puppetry and lo-fi live video feeds with flat paper renderings of commercial products. The show is driven by a sweeping chamber art pop song cycle performed live by a five-piece band.

THE END OF TV depicts the promise and decline of the American rust belt, through the stories of Flo and Louise, both residents of a fictional Midwestern city. Flo is an elderly white woman who was once a supervisor at the thriving local auto plant. Now succumbing to dementia, the memories of her life are tangled with television commercials and the “call now” demands of QVC. Louise, a young Black woman laid off from her job when the same local auto plant closes, meets Flo when she takes a job as a Meals-on-Wheels driver. An unlikely relationship grows as Flo approaches the end of her life and Louise prepares for the invention of a new one. Their story is intercut with commercials and TV programs, the constant background of their environment.

MANIPULATE Festival will screen the performance of THE END OF TV at the Chopin Theater, July 2018.


Manual Cinema is an Emmy Award winning performance collective, design studio, and film/video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry cinematic techniques and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity and theatricality.


Screenplay / Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman

Direction & Storyboards / Julia Miller

Adapted for the screen / Lizi Breit, Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Julia Miller, Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Sound Design / Kyle Vegter

Puppet Designer / Lizi Breit

Associate Puppet Designer & Storyboard Artist / Drew Dir

Assistant Director / Sarah Fornace

Costumes & Wigs / Mieka van der Ploeg

Masks / Julia Miller

Stage Manager / Shelby Glasgow

Production Manager / Mike Usrey

Puppet Build Interns / Zofia Lu Ya Zhang and Kathryn Ann Shivak

Puppeteer (Flo) / Kara Davidson

Puppeteer (Louise) / Aneisa Hicks

Puppeteer (Ensemble) / Jeffry Paschal and Vanessa Valliere

Vocals, Live Sound FX & Live Video Mixing / Maren Celest

Flutes & Vocals / Deidre Huckabay

Vocals, Guitar & Keyboard / Ben Kauffman

Cello & Vocals / Lia Kohl

Vocals & Violin / Marques Toliver

Drums / Kai Black

Bass / Kyle Vegter

THE END OF TV premiered in June, 2017 as a commission by The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT.


THE END OF TV is a part of our Digital Festival, through which you can experience boundary-pushing visually led performance and animation, broadcast direct to your home. Please note that you must have access to the internet and a laptop, tablet or similar device in order to attend this event.

Each event will receive a live ‘premiere’ as part of an evening line-up, and will be subsequently available to catch-up until midnight on Sunday 7 February. You can purchase a DAY 7 PASS which allows you premiere and catch-up access to all the works featured on that day.