New Pre-Festival Feature: Two-Day Intensive Workshops
July 17-18, 2017 • Registration Fee: $150
In addition to the daily workshop sessions, we will be offering some pre-festival, intensive workshops/trainings from Monday, July 17th -Tuesday, July 18th. These intensives will provide the opportunity for workshop leaders and participants to work more in-depth, without limited time restrictions due to festival performances and activities! Click here for more information and to register!
Eric Bass – Creating Puppet Theater from Social Testimony: How to Give Voice to a Story of Personal Injustice
Alex Griffin – Crafting Puppet Films
Greg Ballora – Building a Hand & Rod Puppet that WORKS!
Sea Beast Puppet Company – Instant Shadows Pop-Up Puppet Show: A Hands on Exploration in Production Development from Inception Through Performance.
The 2017 Festival will offer workshops from 8:30am-12pm, Wednesday, July 19th thru Saturday, July 22nd. Each day will be comprised of two, 90-minute sessions.
A Portable Stage for One-Man Cabaret Marionettes
This demonstration/lecture will reveal the design structure of a successful traveling stage used by Phillip Huber for cabaret marionette performance. A stage will be completely assembled and then disassembled to expose the techniques used to make the structure strong and compact for travel, while staying within the airline weight limitations for checked baggage. Possible modifications and alternative structure choices will be discussed and matched with different performance requirements.
This workshop is a lecture/demonstration with lots of touchy-feely samples! Applying silicone rubber to polyfoam puppets is a fun new combination. It offers surface treatments beyond fleece, fabric and flocking. From intense color that lets foam pores show, to flexible paint and sculptural buildups that can be smooth or textured. Silicone makes foam more durable, easy to clean and waterproof.
INTRO will cover:
• silicone as an art material
• 2 different cure types of silicone
• coloring silicone
• making silicone thinner/thicker/softer
• surfacing foam with silicone
• texturing foam with silicone
• coloring foam with pigmented silicone
• painting foam with pigmented silicone
• finishing/care and repair of silicone
• marrying different materials with silicone and foam
This exciting new technique is great for puppets, dolls, props, costumes, cosplay, steampunk, furniture, cushions and pads. By putting silicone on the foam surface where it shows, surprisingly lightweight rubber items can be fabricated directly, without need for a mold. Silicone is a chameleon. It can be colored and textured to look like plastic, wood, stone, metal, human, animal, vegetable skin, leather, scales. Participants will make sample swatches using a variety of colors, textures and techniques using Silicone Caulking that can be found at any paint and hardware store. Materials fee: $12
STEAM Punks – Introduction to Puppet Robotics
The cutting edge animatronic technology Jim Henson pioneered in the 1980s with films like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth” was complicated and expensive. Today’s microprocessors (mini-computers), like the Arduino and electronic components like servomotors are inexpensive and easy enough for children and artists to animate any figure they can imagine and build. This two session, hands-on workshop will introduce participants to animatronics. Participants will build simple karakuri-style mechanical puppets, animate them with littleBits circuits, and control their movements by modifying computer code for Arduino microprocessors. The puppets participants will take away can be operated mechanically. Participants can animate them electronically by attaching their own circuits and microprocessors after the workshop.
Participants will learn:
How to build a karakuri-style puppet with a cam and follower mechanism made from cardboard and other inexpensive materials.
How to build circuits using littleBits, that connect magnetically. Since littleBits require no soldering, beginners ages five to adult can safely learn to connect power, inputs, wires, and outputs in appropriate sequence.
How to modify existing Arduino sketches to control puppets. Arduinos are microprocessors that control a wide variety of “smart” devices including robots. The Arduino community has created an extensive library of open source code “sketches” that users (even newbies) can easily adapt to their own needs.
When Portuguese explorers reached Japan in the 16th century, the Japanese were fascinated with the new technologies they introduced, especially clock mechanisms. Japanese craftsmen were inspired to use cam and gear mechanisms they saw in western clockwork to create mechanically animated karakuri figures for parade floats, theatrical productions, and toys. Each participant will receive a customizable kit for assembling a karakuri puppet based on a cam and follower mechanism.
No previous coding or electronics experience is necessary but participants should bring a laptop computer. Please download and install the free Arduino IDE:<https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software>. Participants may also want to bring scrap cardboard, fabric, beads, or other materials for customizing their puppet.
Additional materials fee $30.00. Fee includes one customizable karakuri puppet kit. This fee also covers the cost of making littleBits components and Arduino microprocessors available to participants during the workshop.
Making Giant Puppets: a hands-on workshop
This will be a hands-on workshop to learn about different kinds of large puppets and to get a chance to build your own. We will discuss various types and styles of large puppets that can be used in parades, pageantry and theatre. We will also talk about a variety of materials that are ideal for use in these kinds of puppets, as well as some mechanisms to help bring them to life. We will also use my years of experience to help you keep your creations light and sturdy. After the initial classes, there will be some drop-in time throughout the week for finishing details on your puppets. At the end of the week, you will have an opportunity to show off your work! On Saturday afternoon, there will be a parade highlighting the 80th birthday of the Puppeteers of America. Let’s make it a big party with your big puppets!
CRANKIES AND HOW TO MAKE THEM: Make a cigar box crankie and learn everything you need to know to make a full size one!
A Crankie, moving drop, or moving panorama is a hand cranked device which contains and moves scrolling artwork. It’s a box containing a ream of paper or fabric rolled around 2 posts, which is then pulled across the front, much like film in an old camera. In my work, I use Crankies as scenery mostly, for shadow puppetry. We will talk about how to use them in this way and with other forms of puppetry, such as marionettes, to create dynamic moving scenery. We will also touch on storyboarding, transitions between scenes, and building interest throughout a piece.
In these two 90-minute sessions, you’ll learn what Crankies are, the variety of them that exist, and the skills you need to make one of these unique storytelling devices. Each participant will make an actual Crankie with a cigar box housing. We will provide cigar boxes, pens, paper, dowels, and cutting utensils. Please bring other materials you would like to work with. Bring a cutting mat if you need one. Materials should be thin and flexible. You may want to bring a story, poem, or song to base your Crankie on and imagery to inspire you. MATERIALS FEE: $15
If you have spent time drooling and pondering over the drawings of Hansjurgen Fettig, you know the allure of the rod puppet. The direct control and wide variety of shapes you can operate are just some of the reasons rod puppets are so amazing. It is pretty freeing to not always have to design a neck that you can get your hand through, as in Muppet Style. But many people look at Fettig designs, and become overwhelmed, don’t know where to start, or think it has to take a long time.
In this workshop we will look at a really simple, fast and cheap way to make a rod puppet that can nod its head up and down and turn it side to side. Often referred to as a “Fedatov”, this control is surprisingly easy to build and operate. I will present the principles of the mechanism, and then show how the rest of the puppet can easily be built around it. My design allows you to make the “skeleton” of the puppet first, get the parts working well, and then build the rest of your character on top of that. This allows you to build the mechs for a whole cast of characters quickly, and then settle in and sculpt those tender faces to your hearts content!
Because of liability (and this is not a “how to use tools” class) we will be working from a kit. But one of the most important parts of the class is that I will be showing you how the kit was made. This is the key to making the puppets quickly! We will also look at my approach to making arms and building arm rods for this particular style of puppet.
There is a materials fee of $15. If you can, bring some basic hand tools: pliers, needle nose pliers, craft scissors, matte knife or X-acto knife, a lighter, and a #1 phillips head screwdriver. We will have some tools available as well.
Needle Felting: Using a Natural, Renewable Resource to Construct puppets (i.s. Sheep are Cool!)
Felted wool is my favorite medium for making puppets. This method of construction allows me to sit in a comfy chair overlooking the bird feeder and make a vast array of charming puppets without getting wet, without waiting for stuff to dry, or without getting poisoned by toxic glues.
Workshop participants will explore principles of puppet design while learning how to create puppets from needle felted wool. While making either a rod puppet or a hand puppet, participants will learn a variety of construction techniques. Come learn more about working with wool! It is light weight, great for all seasons (the hand puppets actually let your hand breath and not get clammy), and is a renewable source. And, sheep like getting haircuts!
Additional materials fee: $10
Using shadow puppetry in the classroom is a unique strategy that enables learners to grasp specific curriculum goals in Language Arts, Social Studies, History, and Science within a creative and cooperative format.
National Standards emphasize the need for understanding diverse communities to succeed in our global society. Puppetry is a powerful visual and dramatic vehicle for expressing geographic, economic, and social concepts of daily life in multicultural environments. Puppet performances can enhance science curriculum with topics such as life cycles, animal classifications, habitat, weather, or electricity. And puppetry is a perfect fit for teaching fairytales and fables.
Puppet performance incorporates hands on skills such as drawing and cutting, critical and creative thinking skills such as designing, planning, sequencing, and presenting ideas, performance skills such as voice and gesture, and social skills such as teamwork, listening and self- esteem.
Participants will gain basic knowledge to create shadow puppets and effective scripts within a standard classroom environment. The workshop will include a brief history of shadow puppetry and discussion of materials, manipulation, vocal recording, shadow screens, color, lighting, and curriculum. Participants will create simple shadow puppets and stage a short performance.
Additional Materials fee – $3.00. Material fee includes puppet making supplies and a detailed twenty-page resource manual. Required tools will be provided during the workshop.
Expanding the Autistic Child Through Puppetry
This workshop focuses on how puppetry provides a powerful modality to help autistic children develop. Participants will be guided into the uniqueness of their cognitive learning process. Participants will then be introduced to a cognitive-developmental intervention approach that draws upon the ritualistic tendencies inherent in autism. It will be shown how such an approach aligns well with the underlying ritualistic structure of the storytelling employed through puppetry. Children with autism are often very visually engaged and respond well to the nonthreatening, yet dynamic, action of puppets. Participants will learn how puppets can be used to expand autistic children’s cognition and increase their flexibility. This workshop will also explore how cognitive-developmental strategies can strengthen children’s social awareness and engagement, as well as enhance self-awareness. This workshop is relevant to those of you who perform puppet shows to an audience that includes autistic children, as well as those of you who may work with individuals and small groups within an educational or therapeutic setting. Participants are invited to bring a puppet, and a performance script you have used in a show (not required).
This workshop will explore ways to become an effective teacher trainer in puppetry, and how to plan and present an effective training workshop. Our challenge as puppeteers is to provide teachers with good sound puppetry techniques; construction, manipulation, dramatic expression and to help teachers discover how the Arts and Puppetry Arts can give children the skills they need to be active learners. How is time spent on puppets, time well spent? When planning a workshop for educators today, we are faced with the serious task of illustrating how puppetry meets the new educational standards, as well as illustrating how puppets are relevant in schools that are on overload. Information is based on training received at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Puppetry for the Very Young: Experiential Performances
Elizabeth & Seth Shaffer
Theatre for the very young and puppetry for the very young has in the last few years begun to develop a presence here in the U.S. However, the roots of theatre for the very young with the use of puppets has been ruminating and expanding in Europe since the mid to early 1990s. With the growing of puppetry for the very young shows slowly surfacing in this country, this workshop seeks to provide participants at the festival with a look at what specific performance practices are used in developing and performing shows for the very young. During this workshop, participants will not only look to elements that make up this type of performance, but they will also develop their own puppetry for the very young piece, which puts these techniques into practice.
What could more fun than making a puppet show, especially if you’re a kid in school and it’s your classwork? Puppetry in the classroom is one of the most effective methods for educators to engage learners of any age. It provides pathways for students to apply their knowledge in fun and meaningful ways while creatively solving real world problems. The challenge for puppeteers who are teaching artists is communicating with teachers and other stakeholders just how well making and performing puppet shows integrate with classroom content to achieve learning targets and meet curriculum standards. Lesson plans are a tremendous aid for this and are an essential part of the process of preparing for a residency. They clarify what will happen during the residency and articulate how each milestone or step of the process aligns with the curriculum and what is expected from teachers, students and artists. They are the how, what and why of the residency. This workshop will examine effective methods for working with educators to plan residencies, match creative objectives with learning targets, and provide strategies for using puppetry to assess student understanding of content. It is meant to give those with little experience a basic understanding of what lesson plans are and how to use them to fit their puppet project into the classroom. More experienced teaching artists can hone their planning skills and share their experience. An extensive PDF handout will be provided prior to the workshop with lesson plan templates and other useful tools for making the puppetry residency a wonderful learning experience for every stakeholder.
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at operating puppets for TV? Maybe you have played around in front of a camera, but are looking for some specific training in what has become known as “Muppet-style”? Or maybe you are looking to improve your hand puppetry for live shows? With a camera and monitor, you are watching your puppetry from the audience’s perspective as you perform. This technique is a useful tool that shows the specifics of your performance very clearly.
This workshop will be a 3-hour intensive, and is geared to the beginner. We want to get you up and on camera, learning exercises that you can use to continue your work at home. We plan to cover basics of puppet and puppeteer posture, eye-line, lip sync, and starting on double hand rod manipulation. Starting in front of a mirror, we will work up to working on a regular scan monitor. We will supply puppets.
Choreography for Variety Marionettes
This workshop is a demonstration/lecture showing the process of discovering & displaying the marionette’s character, while organizing the strongest actions into a coherent routine using musical accents to their best advantage. Finding “snapshot” poses and creating smooth transitions will be explored. Directing and choreographic concepts will be discussed and illustrated as Phillip presents and then dissects several of his most successful marionette acts.
The craft of traditional Chinese glove puppet performance is revealed by Taiwanese puppet master, Wu-Shan Huang. Smaller than Western-style hand puppets, Daixi puppets are light and nimble – capable of both extraordinary gymnastics and delicate character movements. Huang will teach participants basic manipulation techniques and movement styles for the five types of standard Chinese puppet characters. He will teach essential manipulation skills such as walks, head and hand gestures, switching puppets from hand to hand, tossing and catching and coach puppets, flips and simple combat sequences. He will also demonstrate advanced manipulation techniques and coach workshop participants in creating short puppet movement choreographies and scenes.
Join Walt Disney Puppet Masters, James and Scott Silson, for a fun, interactive, HANDS-ON workshop designed to teach and develop a set of skills that will bring anything inanimate to life. Crafted from a combined 30 plus years of choreographing and directing puppetry throughout Walt Disney Parks worldwide, and honed through their theatrical and musical backgrounds, this workshop promises to be an inspiring and exciting journey through puppetry, designed to both challenge and entertain you. This 4-session program will primarily focus on hand and rod puppet technique with emphasis on physical acting, performance skills, and emoting through puppets. Although geared mostly to those with a basic level or higher foundation in hand puppetry, all levels of puppeteers are encouraged to attend.
Please note: This is a physically intensive workshop. Please come ready to move and wear comfortable shoes. If you miss the sign up, we happily invite you to audit this class.
This classic of Medieval English literature is presented with puppets and toy theatre as a full performance. Afterwards, Michael and Valerie will offer a behind-the-scenes workshop with insight into how to adapt text based tales into visual theatre, in this case with hand puppets, toy theatre, design and lighting, tech, live voices, music, etc. Tricks and effects will be revealed. No experience needed, but this performance is recommended for ages 16 years and over for this bawdy, adult tale with sex and puppet nudity. The Miller’s Tale is a collaboration with the McCune Collection of Rare Books and Art in Vallejo, CA, and is inspired by a book in their collection, the Kelmscott Chaucer, with design by William Morris and illustrations by Edward Burne Jones.
This workshop will introduce participants to basic methods for moving, directing, and creating performances with giant, three-person, rod puppets. We will begin by exploring the possibilities of working with giant puppets. Giant puppets can be powerful in rituals, theatre, routines, and other performances. Participants will consider how to conceive and create performances with giant puppets as a solo writer or through a collaborative process. You will learn puppetry skills for making a giant puppet come alive. We’ll have giant puppets for you to work with in teams of three or more. First, we’ll start with the basics: you’ll learn how to make a giant puppet walk. Then, you’ll learn to hug, dance, and to make gestures appropriate for their size. If you are used to working with small puppets, we’ll explore how to transfer skills from a small scale to an enormous scale. Each puppet team will develop characteristic gestures and/or a dance for their puppet. We will explore practical tips for recruiting and directing youth, adults, and intergenerational teams. Participants will explore how to introduce the idea of giant puppets for performances or parades for your own context. The workshop will be adapted to the interests of the participants, but it will not cover how to make giant puppets.
No pre-requisite skills are needed and there are no additional fees. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for moving. Participants who aren’t able to physically move or operate giant puppets can join teams to plan and direct the movement.
Explore the uniqueness of ventriloquism with Randel McGee! This workshop demonstrates the techniques used in ventriloquism and discusses a variety of performance styles. We will work on lip control, vocal characterization, character separation in performance, live show development, and marketing. Randel uses his experiences in theater, puppetry, storytelling, and singing for a unique approach to learning ventriloquism and presenting an act. In this in-depth class, participants will work to develop a short performance piece to share in class and perhaps at Potpourri!
No previous experience with ventriloquism is required, but any background in puppetry and vocal performing (singing or voice-over work) would be helpful. Please bring a puppet with a movable mouth: this may be a ventriloquist figure, muppet-style puppet, or sock puppet.
An additional fee of $5 will cover a notebook for the intensive notes and a hand mirror for monitoring/practicing lip control.
Ensemble Puppetry 101 – the Basics of Team Performance
This workshop will cover various aspects of group tabletop puppetry (multiple performers on a single puppet) as used in many theatrical forms (Czech Black, Bunraku-style, blacklight, etc.), and certain types of chroma-key video puppetry. Performers will gain experience working with others in the basics of creating cohesive, believable character movement.
Participants will work within an ensemble of 2-3 puppeteers per puppet on each of the various roles in tabletop puppetry (head alone, head and/or arm/body, arm(s), legs) and gain knowledge of how to believably balance and move the character as a cohesive, single-minded unit.
What will participants take away from this workshop? If they should perform within an ensemble or direct an ensemble of puppeteers they will have experience in the style. Also, they can apply this knowledge to improve puppetry manipulation technique in various other styles–using ideas of breath, thought, rhythm and movement origin.
Character Mask Performance Techniques is a workshop which will introduce participants to basic principles of working with character masks (full face masks) and creating mask theatre. Mask theatre is closely related to puppetry in its unique and dynamic ability to portray the human condition in a both profound and accessible way.
This workshop provides an introduction to the world of character masks and the techniques needed to inhabit and perform them. Participants will engage in rigorous, yet playful exploration of mask movement and devising.
Participants can expect an environment that is safe, engaging, challenging, collaborative, and invigorating. We will play, discover and learn with and from each other. Everyone can contribute! Everyone has a voice!
The workshop will culminate with a presentation of short pieces generated by participants during the session.
Participants are asked to:
- Wear clothes that allow full freedom of movement (no jeans, belts, tight clothing, jewelry, etc.).
- Wearing all black is strongly preferred and encouraged.
- Wear clothes with no logos or writing.
- Be prepared to work barefoot.
- Be prepared to engage in physical activity.
- Bring simple and fun costumes, accessories, and props – hats, scarves, baskets, etc.
The workshop is appropriate for any skill level. No puppet, mask, or performance experience required.
In this short and intensive workshop, Yael Rasooly invites participants on a creative journey in to the universe of Object Theater.
Participants will explore the dialogue and relationships with between the performer/ character and “ready made” objects. We will be looking at objects that are Charged, whether from the use of the object, its symbolic associations, or object that hold an emotional cargo, from personal memory and story.
We will be doing exercises and improvisations in groups, and also touching on the theme of individual solo creation, a starting point for future development. We will be using our bodies in relation to the objects and their manipulation, as well as the Voice, both in speaking and singing.
Above all the workshop aims to dive into the process of creation itself, giving tools for when working with others and working alone. Stepping into the inner space of invention and playfulness, passing through artistic blockage, improvising, working fast, with heightened sensitivity and with pleasure.
During the workshop we will look at how to give life to the puppets through precision of gestures and movements, and how to “write” a theatrical situation through play and improvisations. We will focus on the relation between actor and puppet, and look at how this relationship can be a “dramaturgical key”. Why is it interesting to tell a story using puppets? What can the puppet allow us to express in a different way an actor does? We will work around the themes of presence and absence: understanding how the puppet can help make concrete an emotion or a state, and allow us to express both human and social themes. A central part of the work will be how to combine being both an actor and a puppeteer, and “chorus-manipulation”; how a group of actors together can make a theatrical situation and at the same time give life to the puppet.
The participants will work with puppets in three scales brought by the company; human-sized, medium-sized and small puppets.
Playwrighting 101 & Play Clinic
This PowerPoint presentation will be followed by problem-solving participation. The session will begin with observations based on my half-century of experience, first about playwrighting in general and then specifically for the puppet theater. During the second half of the session participants will be encouraged to share their specific writing problems and we will attempt to address them for the benefit of all. Students who attend this workshop will learn the basics of story-structure for stage presentation, including creative visualization and storyboarding. They will also learn how to write engaging stage directions, invent lively dialogue, convey character and how to format a script. In addition, we will look at considerations specific to puppet theater and explore how to get help from various sources. Participants should have a working knowledge of the English language – including those “tools of the trade”: vocabulary, spelling and grammar – and a lively imagination! If they have scripts they are developing, participants will have the opportunity to share any difficulties they may be encountering. They will come away with greater confidence in their ability to write for the puppet stage, as well as practical information to assist them in doing so.
Has your puppetry ever THANKED you?
The time and effort you put into writing has benefits well beyond your puppetry.
This workshop will make you a better writer. PERIOD.
So ask yourself – Do you love puppets, but have a hard time coming up with new ideas? Love sketch comedy, but not really sure how it’s done?
Love performing, but deep down inside, you know your writing needs work?
If your answer is yes, then this workshop is for you.
Sketch Writing is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. And once you understand its mechanics, sketch can be repurposed toward various puppetry projects like fairy tale shows, slam pieces, movie scripts, and internet videos.
This is a two-part workshop. Our first session proposes: What is SKETCH?
Sesame Street utilizes it. So does Key and Peele, Monty Python, and SNL. All these various shows employ sketch mechanics, not to mention cartoons, pop songs, Super Bowl commercials and the list goes on….
Once we identify how sketch is used around us, we’ll analyze its different formats and explore writing techniques to develop your own ideas.
This primes us for our second session: How to WRITE sketch.
Now you will generate, develop and outline your ideas. In order to harness all the “puppet brain power” in the room, we’ll have round table discussions to explore the best ways of presenting those ideas.
No experience is required – just an open mind and the willingness to collaborate, as utilizing a “group mind” can save you a lot of headaches. Especially when we’ll be cramming LOTS of new ideas into that noggin of yours.
So bring pen and paper to write up a storm of ideas – both good and bad, because writing is not about precision, it’s about get something down on paper, and rewriting again and again and again….
So join us and become a better writer!
Your puppetry will THANK you.
There is misconception that using a puppet is enough to make an idea funny, while actual comedic material goes by the wayside. This workshop starts with the beginning tools of how to construct a joke, build a bit, find your genre and the best payoff, followed by more detailed skills for scripting of stand up, roasts, television/theater dialogue and most importantly, character development. Creating a puppet based on a single, funny idea does not give you a long shelf life of material (if that is your goal). We will discuss that discovery process. Within these workshop sessions you will require note-taking materials (writing utensils & notebook/computer/recording device).
Pulling Back on the Strings: Tools and Tricks for Using Puppetry for Social Change
Do you have an idea for connecting your puppetry skills with social justice work? Are you looking for new tools and techniques to engage in advocacy work with underserved communities? The “Puppetry and Social Justice” workshop is intended as a sharing-learning opportunity where participants will be exposed to key skills and resources for effective activism and will work in small peer teams to develop their own action plans for puppetry and social justice projects. In the first ninety minutes of the workshop, I will provide a brief overview of Ozark Living Newspaper’s puppetry and social justice projects from spring 2016 through spring 2017, then work with participants on group facilitation skills, fundraising strategies/resources, effective community partnering, and community organizing. In the second ninety minutes, participants will go through a step-by-step process with peer teams to create a short action plan for a puppetry and social justice project of their choice. Each team will help one team member develop his or her action plan. We conclude the workshop with a sharing of action plans and a written evaluation of the workshop. Participants of any experience level are welcome, and I especially encourage participation by artists who have already engaged in puppetry and social justice projects. The spirit of the workshop will be as much sharing as training, so please come prepared to join the conversation!
Do you have a good idea for a puppet show script, but wonder if it is good enough? Do you want to do a puppet show, but are stuck for a story idea? In this workshop, I will help you understand the ideas of what makes a good script in any genre, from comedy to horror! A well-written script needs to have key elements that will keep its audiences engaged and entertained. I will provide you with examples of how to write in script format, but most importantly, how to develop a story with dynamic characters and an engaging plot. We will also explore inspiration for story ideas and how to get through writer’s block. If you are working on a script already, bring it so that I can provide feedback on where you are with it. This workshop will also allow for time to develop and write the introduction to a longer script that you will finish at home.
BUSINESS & MARKETING
In the first half of the workshop, Art Grueneberger will focus on the big picture. Grueneberger will open up his company’s books and show exactly where his income as a puppeteer has come from over the last decade and how he’s used this data to predict trends, set long-term goals and look for the next big client. He will then take participants through interactive exercises that will help break down common barriers that get in the way of business success. He will also walk participants through a process of long-term goal setting so each participant will leave with actionable steps to achieve their business goals.
In the second half of the workshop, Pix Smith will cover the day-to-day best practices that top businesses use to maximize effort and minimize fatigue. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of running a successful and organized operation. Pix will cover information on negotiating pricing, closing the sale, customer relations, and other topics that help make it all work.
Press Kit 101
Have a great show you want to take on the road? This workshop is designed for those who wish to prepare an intriguing and informative press packet that will get your show noticed and ensure you get what you need to present the best possible show at the venue. Participants will learn how to create an effective touring press packet and develop strategies for booking a successful run including:
- Documenting for the press packet (photo, video, press)
- Distilling the essence of the company and the show into a succinct presentation through word, image and video
- Identifying and effectively detailing technical needs
- Developing a focused and realistic budget
- Creating the right fit with the presenter
- Communicating with the venue
This workshop is designed for those who wish to acquire the techniques of preparing a successful touring press kit. The focus will be on how to effectively tell the story that leads to a successful run. At the end of the workshop, participants will understand:
- WHY Press Kits Matter
- WHAT key elements should be included in a Press Kit
- HOW to work with venues from first contact to booking
The goal of this workshop is to give participants an efficient process to create a document that excites, informs, and gets a show booked!
To the uninitiated, marketing can seem like a deep dark mystery, but there are some simple concepts that can help anyone find the path to their audience. Learn these basics in this beginning-level lecture class aimed at making marketing accessible to newcomers to the marketing/PR realm (or anyone who’s been forced into it by necessity and still feels somewhat clueless). All material is aimed at providing practical advice for working artists. Topics include: What the Heck is a Marketing Plan (and Do I Really Need One)?; Between “Everyone” & “Your Mom”: Keeping Your Audience Real; and Bloggers Are Our Friends: Embracing New Media.
Collaboration: Strategies for a Successful Designer/Director Relationship
Working together shouldn’t tear you apart! Workshop participants will explore best practices for fomenting and maintaining successful artistic collaborations. Through supportive communication tactics, development of an organized and timely approach to visual research and renderings, and practical navigation of budget constraints, participants will learn how to project professionalism and foster confidence among fellow collaborators. Participants are invited to share their own collaboration challenges. These real life situations will support the strategies discussed in the workshop session. Participants will take away a clear approach to navigating the production process with success.
Fundraising & Grant Writing
In this workshop we will look at 2 methods of raising funds; online crowd sourcing and grant proposals. In both of these methods we will focus on writing a compelling story to entice donors to support your work. Each participant will draft an effective fundraising case statement. Please come prepared with a writing utensil and paper or laptop computer if you prefer.
So You Want Your Own Place?
Nancy Smith, Monica Leo, Liz Joyce
Have you dreamed of opening your own puppet theater – where you can set up your show and people will come to you, dollars in hand? Meet three puppeteers who have done just that in different areas of the country. Liz Joyce of Goat on a Boat in Sag Harbor, New York; Monica Leo of Owl Glass Puppetry Center in West Liberty, Iowa; and Nancy Smith of Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, Arizona founded and have run puppet theaters for decades. Hear about their business models and how they have adapted to survive and thrive in their very different communities. You will have the opportunity to ask questions. You will learn how all three got started and the realities of running a permanent venue.
Ready, Set, Puppetshow!
Ready to take your puppet show to the next level? Unsure of the process and protocols to make it happen? Get motivated and evolve your puppetshow using scale models, storyboards, and efficient prep work. No show yet? No problem! Bring your ideas and develop them- big or small. Let’s discover the inspiration to set your ideas in motion! Everyone leaves with an action plan, a storyboard, and drawing tools. This workshop is great for all levels of experience.
This workshop will take the participant through a basic understanding of marionettes, into simple construction and ﬁnish with short group performances. Following an explanation of basic principles behind string puppetry and demonstrations with a variety of types of marionettes, each participant will construct and string a simple marionette using poster board and plastic. The possibilities of the marionettes for movement and emotion will be explored through performance games in small groups. No previous construction or performance experience is necessary. Materials and tools will be supplied, but feel free to bring a scissors and/or stapler. Additional materials fee – $5.
John Bell & Trudi Cohen
A light-hearted lecture by Great Small Works’ own singing professor Dr. John Bell will introduce the 19th-century history of Toy Theater (also called paper theater), and the pleasures of its traditional practice in Victorian parlors, and contemporary revival on stages and in classrooms around the world. Participants will be shown some basic techniques and materials. And then they will break up into small groups and create their own original toy theater pieces. The workshop will culminate with everyone presenting the results of their efforts to each other.
Our workshop will present the history and practice of this intimate and highly accessible puppetry form. It will offer a chance to construct a simple toy theater stage and scenery and figures, and to put together a quick compelling story. Participants will learn the value of Toy Theater as a teaching tool, both in curriculum-based school environments, and in community programs. Most of all, they will discover the possibilities of this historic parlor entertainment for telling the grandest of tales with the simplest of means.
Anyone who would like to consider subject matter for their piece in advance of the workshop is encouraged to do so. A song, a poem, a location, an anecdote, a political idea, a hero, a news item, what I ate for breakfast, what I saw walking to the post office – there are infinite possibilities. And if you have a cardboard box you can bring, or any newspapers or magazines for image ideas, please do!
3D Television Puppetry
The objective of this workshop is to introduce puppeteers to 3D television technology, to raise awareness, and promote the use of 3D technology for filming puppets.
Techniques for filming puppets in 3D are demonstrated by performing puppets in front of a 3D camera while wearing 3D glasses and viewing a 3D monitor. Experience with TV monitor puppet performance is recommended.
My intent is to introduce puppeteers to performing puppets in 3D. This workshop explores a monitor technique that is a logical extension of television performing as pioneered by Jim Henson. I believe that if Henson had this technology available to him during his lifetime, he would have immediately implemented its use. Puppetry provides a unique source for creating 3D content for film, television and virtual reality that transforms our art form. By embracing and mastering this methodology, we can place puppetry in a realm that is distinct from computer generated images. I urge puppeteers to become proficient with this technique and support 3D technology.
The goal of this workshop (in addition to seriously wet fun), is to create and learn to perform puppets inspired by the Vietnamese tradition of water puppetry, in which scenes are performed in and on a body of water and the means of manipulation are concealed by the water. Participants will be expected to sit in a shallow pool for extended periods of time – bathing suits required! We will be using modern materials and themes. Basic materials will be provided – PVC tubing, brazing rod, nylon rivets, fishing line, etc., as well as some figures and materials that can be used for the puppets. Participants are encouraged to bring materials and figures that they think might work well as water puppets: rubber duckies, action figures, Barbies, and so on. We will experiment with multi-person puppets, such as water dragons. Session 1 will focus on construction. Session 2 will be dedicated to devising short pieces and developing a technique of manipulation that optimizes use of the water as a performance medium. Basic tools will be available, but additional tools are welcome, particularly pliers suited to bending wire, sturdy snips and scissors.
The Puppet and I: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique for Puppeteers – Perform with Greater Ease, Increased Awareness, and Enhanced Coordination.
This introductory workshop will explore the principals and strategies of the Alexander Technique (AT). AT is a scientifically proven, educational method and process. AT provides thinking strategies that are used to explore ease of movement and change harmful patterns that cause unnecessary tension, discomfort, and pain. AT can enhance performance. Performers and Athletes use AT to improve kinesthetic awareness, breathing, vocal production, and coordination. We will explore the principals of AT through kinesthetic exercises and games, and gentle, non-invasive, hands-on guidance during puppetry work.
To clarify AT principals even further, this workshop will encompass Body Mapping. A Body Map is one’s own self-representation of how one “thinks” they are constructed- people always move to how they “think” they are constructed, even if it goes again actual
construction. Body Mapping quickly and easily helps one to understand how movement works in our “real” skeletal and muscular system. People often misconstrue their own structure, and this misunderstanding can add greatly to undue tension and pain in an activity.
A life-size skeleton will help participants to visually explore how joints work. We shall explore the different sections of the skeletal system to see how they move and how they relate to the whole. Movement and structures of breathing will be of paramount importance in this part of the workshop. Participants shall engage in breathing exercises and strategies that have the potential to enhance their puppetry.
No previous experience with AT is needed. Workshop participants should bring a puppet with them to manipulate, (or borrow one from a colleague), so that they may explore AT in their puppetry work.
For more information about AT: www.alexandertechnique.com
THE OUTSIDE EYE – Directing for the Puppet Theatre
A skillful director can bring together the various elements of a production into a cohesive and meaningful whole. We will review and discuss basic concepts of directing from a visionary, structural, visual, emotional, practical, and logistical perspective. This workshop will take participants through the directing process from script selection through the opening week of performances. We will explore leadership qualities, interpretive analysis, collaboration, emotional arcs, manipulation techniques and character development, as well as the nitty-gritty work of production books, rehearsal schedules, blocking, and framing.
In PART TWO of the class, we will divide into small groups to stage simple scenes, offer constructive feedback, and rework the scenes. If any participants have specific projects they are currently working on, please let me know in advance so I can try to incorporate them into the class.
Participants will gain a wide understanding of the directing process along with practical tools to get started.
Rogue Artists Ensemble’s Using Technology in Live Theater: Video and Sound Playback
Using the performance of Zen Shorts as a springboard, members of Rogue Artists Ensemble will share their process for integrating video and sound playback into live performances. The workshop will feature photos and video of past Rogue Artists Ensemble productions illustrating techniques and application of software and playback systems for live performance. The workshop will share how to create simple sound playback systems in Qlab, a Mac software that has great potential, even in the free version. We will also cover how to integrate a physical button to control cue playback such as a Midi foot pedal. Bring a Mac laptop and each participant will get a thumb drive and we will walk participants through installing the software and basic programming exercises.
$15 materials fee for thumb drive which you can keep! If you have one of the new MacBook’s that has ONLY USB C, please make sure to bring an adaptor and we will have some on hand.
Sound is what gives any production life. Sound effects and music supporting a show help to weave a more compelling tale. But what is sound? The back and forth oscillation of objects vibrating in the air is what your ear picks up and your brain translates into sound. We experience sound when any object vibrates with a frequency within the range of our hearing.
This is a workshop in sound effects collecting, creation, and utilization. We will look at sound as groups of waveforms (vibrations) and as structured components and explore found audio and exotic instruments. I will also cover the use of resources from the internet, sound effects libraries and different types of electronic gear to create sonic materials along with various software packages to create, mix and sequence audio for public presentation.
Better sound makes better shows.
Come and learn the steps it took to restore and remount the work of puppeteer Dick Myers. In this workshop, Seth Shaffer will take participants through an abbreviated version of the two-year long journey he pursued to make the project happen. See rare photos and hear clips of the audio tapes that helped along the journey.
Are you curious about 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, CNC Routers, tool rental, space rental, and a supportive community of people just like you? The Maker Movement is growing strong in our country and puppeteers are naturally part of it. An integral part of the Maker Movement is Maker Spaces. This workshop will be an introduction to the Maker Community and Maker Spaces and the tools, equipment, knowledge, and opportunities that are available in them and how to leverage them to move your art forward into the 21st century. Makers are naturally sharers. Walk into any Maker Space and you will find people sharing their projects, classes, groups, etc. Access to all the resources one needs to create is available in Maker Spaces for cheap and sometimes free and you don’t have to be an engineer to be able to enjoy all the benefits of the space and the community. Jump in, you won’t regret it.
With guitar and upright bass, Brendan Burns & Tony Leva (of The Gottabees) demonstrate & explain ways to incorporate music into puppet shows. As co-composers of Squirrel Stole My Underpants & Lollipops For Breakfast, Brendan & Tony discuss when, where & how to use underscoring as well as suggest options for hiring composers/musicians, using online music creative houses and finding royalty –free music useable for live performances.
Forman Brown was a founding member of The Yale Puppeteers along with Harry Burnett and Roddy Brandon. They had a long and remarkable career that began in the mid 1920s, peaked in the 1940s and ‘50s with Turnabout Theater, and continued through revivals and workshops for many years after. Forman Brown was born in 1901, and died in 1996, shortly after his 95th birthday. His life spanned that most remarkable of centuries, and he was actively writing through most of it. He never tired of writing verse, though his career as a serious – which is to say “academic” poet – was relatively brief, ending with the publication of his second collection, Spider Kin in 1929. This workshop is a performance/lecture combination that includes historic images, and a discussion of Forman Brown’s significance in the world of puppetry as well as in the larger culture. It also considers the history of Turnabout Theatre and its significance. In Periale’s research and reading, he has collected many images and other materials from Brown’s relatives and colleagues and he hopes not only to enlighten participants regarding this remarkable chapter in our history, but to be enlightened by attendees, some of whom may have known or worked with the Yale Puppeteers.