Virtual Festival Program

New to 2023 is our virtual National Puppetry Festival.

Puppeteers of America will produce a program of unique webinars, broadcasts from highlighted workshops, panels, and many of our festival performances. We seek to address health, economic, and geographic inequities that may prevent puppet fans from participating in our main festival.

  • Streaming will be provided through our Registration software WHOVA (Download Here) which will provide a link to each event for live streaming and to view on demand during the festival. WHOVA can accessed on mobile and desktop devices.
  • Performance broadcasts are not staged for virtual streaming. This means the camera may be static in response to movement or other production elements. 
  • All times are listed for the Eastern Time Zone.
  • We have listed what has been confirmed and what will not be part of the Virtual festival below. Please review carefully to avoid disappointment. 
  • Most events (with the exception of the 7pm ET and 9pm ET activities) will be on demand until Monday, 8/8/23.
  • We offer a choice of the entire Festival week pass for $200 or individual day passes for $50. Evening shows (7pm ET and 9pm ET) are available for individual purchase here: Click here to purchase tickets for individual events at The Clarice

Webinar Masterclasses

Each Masterclass is 60 minutes in length and can be accessed on Demand through the Festival.

Wednesday, July 19th 11:00am

Designing Wooden Marionettes by Puppets in Prague

Learn everything you need to consider designing a wooden marionette from Mirek Trejtnar, founder of Puppets in Prague and puppet master who has been teaching marionette technology for over 30 years to thousands of students. His online lecture will focus on the two types of marionettes: the traditional Czech style on a wire and marionettes hung on strings. 

How should you choose what type of marionette to make? What do you need to keep in mind when making your design?  What sort of wood do you need to use for carving?  How do the controllers differ? What joints are the most effective for your puppet design? You will also learn about Czech puppet history  and why UNESCO included it on their list of intangible world heritage in 2016.

Thursday July 20th 11:00am

Overcoming Adversity: Building a Business in Puppetry

Aran de la Peña is the founder and CEO of Pro Puppet Makers, a leader in puppet and practical
effects design both on screen and stage. Aran is a L.A. born Latino Puppet Designer, he has designed for Disney Concerts, Pixar, and Dreamworks, among others. Most recently his designs have been featured on Disney+ in both Encanto Live and Coco Live at the Hollywood Bowl. He has worked on multiple shows for ABC, FOX, Netflix, Logo, and HBO, along with several commercials and music videos. Åran works with his team of artists out of his workshop in Southern California, who continue to strive to bring innovation and novelty to productions worldwide.

This event is both in-person at the National Festival and Virtual. Festival Registration is not required to attend in-person for Community Days. Free Event Tickets are Required: Reserve Them Here

Friday July 21st 4:00pm

A Day with Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Live from Los Angeles, Join the wonderful puppeteers of the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, live from Los Angeles! They will speak about their work, puppet life at the Theatre, their upcoming work, and have offered to give us a studio tour! More Details coming soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     credit: Chloe Rice (L)   

credit Ian Byers Gamber (R)

Saturday July 22nd 11:00am

Puppets Have Been Known to Fraternize with Actors

Wes Sanders and Debra Wise - co-founders of Underground Railway Theater and co-authors of a digital book detailing the creation of award-winning productions, will talk about (and demonstrate with videos and photos) the various combinations of puppets and actors they have experimented with in 45 years of URT practice. (for direct access to the ebook, go to and use code TL59P to obtain a free copy on offer during the Festival).

This event is both in-person at the National Festival and Virtual. Festival Registration is not required to attend in-person for Community Days. Free Event Tickets are Required: Reserve Them Here

Special programS

"Puppeteer to Puppeteer...with Sid Krofft - Extended Interview"

On Thursday, July 20th, we will focus on the "Path Makers" aspect of our theme of Generations. Join us as we have the special honor to sit down with the inimitable Sid Krofft and discuss his long career in puppetry. The Virtual Festival will have the entire extensive interview on demand in its entirety. We are thrilled to add this valuable contribution to the Puppeteers of America Archives. 


    With regrets the following will not be available for the Virtual Festival.

  • Wednesday, July 19th, 1pm & 4pm ET: How to Snag a Sea Monster
  • Thursday, July 20th, 1pm & 4pm ET: Quijote
  • Friday, July 21st, 1pm & 4pm ET: Migraciones/Migrations
  • Saturday, July 22nd, 1pm & 4pm ET: Rent Party
  • The Academic Symposium for Puppetry in Education and Therapy
  • The Fringe Festival
  • The Puppet Parade
  • Most workshops

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