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Puppeteers of America

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Since the founding of Puppeteers of America the organization has demonstrated a deep commitment to puppetry in education. Dr Marjorie Batchelder McPharlin, who served as president of PofA, began teaching puppetry at Ohio State University in 1935. Through its publications, festival workshops, consultants, and committees PofA shares information and encourages puppetry in education.

Puppetry is an excellent tool for communication. We, as puppeteers, educators, and therapists can present concepts and facts, stories and feelings in diverse settings including; classrooms- from pre-school to high school, day care centers, libraries, hospitals, camps, museums, colleges, community centers, churches and senior centers.

We can make puppetry accessible to children, teens and adults and help them develop the skills and experience to express their own feelings and ideas, We can encourage anyone who picks up a puppet to bring an “animated object’ to life to have fun, convey information or to express feelings.

When puppets are used by a trained therapist or councilor the goal is to create a safe space for the client to express and discuss sensitive topics communicating to and/or through the puppet. The healing potential of puppets is literally at one’s fingertips.

We are happy to report that we are once again offering specialized programming for educators, therapists, and other interested practitioners during the National Puppetry Festival. More details TBA for the next festival, but in the meantime Click here to find out about the 2019 Professional Day for Teaching Artists and Therapists.

To contact the PIET Committee, please email

Please join our Facebook group!


The Puppetry in Education and Therapy Committee (PIET) is a network of educators, teaching artists, community builders, and therapists of Puppeteers of America who share passion for innovative application of the art of puppetry. PIET advocates for best research-based practices in the field, serves as a resource for practitioners as well as current research, contemporary approaches, and education through encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue.


  • Serve as a supportive community for diverse members who are committed to excellence in educational and therapeutic puppetry research and practice.
  • Promote inclusive practices and perspectives in the field.
  • Promote the uses of puppetry through civic outreach, creation of education policy, and interdisciplinary arts advocacy.
  • Inspire members to share experiences in the art of puppetry as it relates to the professions of education and therapy.
  • Create, gather, and disseminate contemporary puppetry resources for our diverse communities.


This is an award to honor those who dedicate their time to helping others to create in the field of puppetry. The award should be given biennially at each National Festival when a qualified recipient can be identified.


Past and present members of PofA currently working in their area of puppet expertise in an educational setting shall be eligible for this award. Nominees shall have worked for a period of at least five years, dedicating their time to helping others to create in the field of puppetry. The work of candidates for this award can be as teacher, librarian, puppeteer in residence, puppeteer in teacher training, recreational professional, or therapist in clinical or instructional settings. Nominees should exhibit the ability to inspire others with their personal skill or knowledge of puppetry as well as the ability to transmit that skill or knowledge to others.


The nominee shall have demonstrated an ability to reach others on a personal level, thereby allowing them to become expressive themselves through the art of puppetry. The nominee shall have received recognition from his/her community, places of employment, and/or peers. The award should be given to a person who has contributed to the field of puppetry education over a considerable period of time. The award is not intended to recognize a single piece of work or project. Nominations should be supported by materials that document the excellence of the work of the nominee.

Supporting Materials

Materials supporting a nomination should include articles by and about the candidate; copies of awards, citations, etc which can help to document the expertise and abilities of the nominee. Books, photos, videos or other materials that demonstrate the nominee has received recognition from his/her community, place of employment, and/or peers may be included.


Any member of PofA may submit nominations for this award.

Past Recipients

Past recipients of awards can be viewed here.

Puppeteers of America
310 East 38th St, Suite 127
Minneapolis, MN 55409