Imagine your internet world come to life. All that creativity, knowledge, information and history suddenly becomes real. It breathes, it talks, it has dinner with you and meets you for late night cocktails. Artistic inspiration drawn from bits and bytes, pixels and RGB’s in your face. The most eclectic, focused, energizing meetup you can conceive. That’s a puppet festival.
Puppeteers of all kinds, from all disciplines, from all over the country and across the globe. Workshops, performances, exhibits, and people. Real people who do what you do, love what you love, and who get it. Who get you, and your passion for puppetry.
Puppet festivals are inspiration made real. Imagination brought to life. Creativity shared, bonds made, and friendships forged that will last beyond the festival. You will be changed, and your puppetry will grow.
How can I get a Festival near me?
This is a How To guide for Puppeteers of America Festivals.
The key elements of a puppetry festival are a site and a festival director. It usually begins with a volunteer who is willing to serve as festival director, but sometimes it starts with well suited and economical facilities. If you are interested in helping to organize a regional or national festival or know of a site that you believe would be a good location for a festival you should begin by contacting the PofA Executive Director or a member of the Board of Trustees or your Regional Director in the case of a regional festival. They can help guide you through the process of putting together a festival proposal.
Any member of Puppeteers of America can present a festival proposal to the Board, through the Budget and Finance Committee. This can be a Regional Festival (typically a long weekend) or a National Festival (week long).
Begin by putting together a small staff. Positions you will probably need to fill are festival director, business manager, site manager, registrar, artistic chair, workshops director, exhibit director, and communications.
Then he/she must find a site where the festival can be held. Needed are performance spaces, workshop spaces, an exhibit space that can be locked, and other spaces as needed. Lodgings and meals must also be considered in the proposal.
A Budget must be put together. The form may be downloaded by clicking this link. pofa_festival_budget_sheet Budget and finance are always willing to help with this, so please ask.
The Festival Proposal and Budget is then submitted to Budget and Finance for review, questions, suggestions, and revisions. When these are incorporated, the final Budget and Proposal are presented to the Board for approval. This needs to be ready for the summer board meeting, one year prior to a Regional, 2 years prior to a National Festival.
If any seed money is requested, that needs to be stated in the proposal. At festival end, all seed money must be returned to PofA.
The Board will request the Festival Director to sign a financial agreement to this effect.
The rest is up to the Festival Director and the Festival Committee.
- Design a logo, create a webpage.
- Develop performance and workshop application forms (A good place to begin would be to ask a past festival director to send you their forms as a jumping off point.
- Create a calendar with deadlines: Site contract signed, application forms sent out with dates for fulfillment, Registration open date, etc.
- Talk with past festival directors. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Innovation is important, but some things remain constant.
Good luck and have a great festival!