Creating a work of solo puppet theater presents many challenges. For over 20 years, puppeteer David Stephens has explored and tackled those challenges by creating his own adaptations of classic fairy tales and folk tales for family audiences. In his workshop, attendees will learn tips, tricks and aspects to consider when trying to create your own one-person puppet show. Stephens will help participants get in the mindset for using their imaginations and creativity to problem solve during the show creation process. He will explore aspects such as how to select subject matter to adapt, puppet style and performance considerations and being mindful in regards to touring a one-person show. Stephens will have his own touring stage on site for participants to see how the stage itself plays an important role in facilitating a successful solo performance. Participants are encouraged to bring specific questions they may have about works they are creating.
David Stephens has been creating and performing solo works of puppet theater for over 20 years. Equal parts self-taught, apprentice to puppeteer Terry Snyder and formal training as a Puppet Arts graduate student at the University of Connecticut (2001), Stephens cannot remember a time when puppetry was not part of his life. As a performer, Stephens has toured the United States and Canada presenting one-man puppet shows, which he writes, directs, builds, produces and performs under the auspices of All Hands Productions. Two of his original works, The Reluctant Dragon (2008) and The Pied Picker (2017) have received Family Grants from The Jim Henson Foundation. He has designed and constructed original puppet characters for such clients as The Home Depot, Cartoon Network, and The Center for Puppetry Arts. Stephens was briefly a utility puppeteer on Sesame Street (Season 39), and has worked for The Jim Henson Company as a puppeteer and puppet captain for Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter (2008 & 2009). His work has been recognized by the Puppeteers of America (Best Playwriting for The Reluctant Dragon) and UNIMA-USA (2004 Citation of Excellence for Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff). His goal is to create quality works of puppet theater for families.