Paul Vincent Davis, puppeteer extraordinaire and a resident of German Centre for Extended Care, recently received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the acclaimed National Capital Puppetry Guild. Via a Zoom ceremony attended by hundreds of members, the award recognized Paul, 87, as one the world’s most beloved and talented puppeteers.
“I’m extremely grateful for all this attention,” stated Paul. “Truthfully, I didn’t expect this at all, but I am very, very proud.” Paul, who was an early president of the Guild, began his lifelong fascination with puppetry at a very early age.
Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1935, Paul was constantly staging plays for family and friends. An avid reader, he devoured books on puppetry. He recalls performing a marionette show for his high school class and receiving a standing ovation. “That was a pivotal moment in my life,” said Paul. From then on, puppetry became his life-long passion. As artistic director for Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA for over 30 years, Davis brought the fine art of puppetry to life for thousands of children and adults. Paul was also a long-time member of the Brookline community, active in many organizations and a strong supporter of the city.
In his room at German Centre on the Deutsches Altenheim campus, Paul proudly displays three new framed citations he received as a result of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The citations, which honored his work throughout the years, were sent by very prominent individuals and organizations: First Lady Jill Biden; Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito; the City of Richmond, where he was born. Paul was pleasantly surprised by the citations. “It’s uplifting to know people care that much about puppetry,” said Paul. “Truly, these citations warm my heart.”
“The recognition Paul has received is truly heartwarming and so well-deserved,” stated Michael Lincoln, Executive Director of German Centre. “Paul is a gentle, kind individual who dedicated his life to bringing joy to others through puppetry.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Paul was in the form of a one-of-a-kind, hand-made dragon puppet, in a vibrant shade of emerald. The puppet sits atop a brass base with an engraved plaque. As far as where Paul will display this prestigious award, Paul admitted that was an easy decision. “This award will sit on my shelf with my other mementos. But he added, “Clearly, the award from the National Capital Puppetry Guild is among my most cherished possessions.”
Years ago, Paul made a wish to himself “to be the best puppeteer I could ever be.” From his legions of fans, esteemed honors, and award-winning plays, it’s obvious Paul’s wish came true, time and time again.