Board of Trustees

Puppet Showplace, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation as defined by Chapter 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.  As a nonprofit, the theater is governed by a volunteer board of trustees who are empowered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to act as fiduciary stewards of the organization.

John Lechner, President

Needham, MA - John Lechner is an author, illustrator, animator, musician, and puppeteer.  He currently serves as an Art Director for FableVision, an award-winning children's media company in Boston. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, he has published four books for children, and has performed his original stories at the Puppet Showplace Slam.  He also serves as President and newsletter editor of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry.

EDWARD ZLOTKOWSKI, VICE PRESIDENT

Somerville, MA - Edward is Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies at Bentley University where he founded the Bentley Service-Learning Center in 1992. He has written and spoken extensively on a wide range of service-learning and civic engagement topics, and served as general editor of the American Association for Higher Education’s 21-volume series on service-learning in the academic disciplines (1997-2006). He also served as editor of Successful Service-Learning Programs (Anker, 1998), Service-Learning and the First-Year Experience (University of South Carolina, 2002), and as co-editor of Students as Colleagues: Expanding the Circle of Service-Learning Leadership (Campus Compact, 2006). In 2011, Temple University Press published Higher Education and Democracy: Essays on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, a book he co-authored with John Saltmarsh. His non-service-learning work includes publications on English and German romanticism and the poetry of Denise Levertov. Dr. Zlotkowski is a senior associate at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. He received his B.A. in English and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University.  

ALISON PLANTE, CLERK

Brookline, MA - Alison is a composer for media, and currently serves as Assistant Chair of the Film Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music. She studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Cambridge. Her scoring credits include educational television, documentary features, national TV spots, trailers, and corporate identity music, live action and animated shorts, multimedia museum installations, and of course puppet theater. Alison is also a member and past president of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry, and a Brookline mom who loves to take her son to the Showplace.

MARIA FINISON, TREASURER

Brookline, MA - Maria has served in numerous managerial and administrative capacities at national culture organizations including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  She also worked as education program manager at the Boston Center for Adult Education.  As a new Brookline parent, Maria is thrilled to help foster the great wealth that Puppet Showplace brings to the community.

AYANNA MCPHAIL

Brookline, MA - Ayanna is a practicing attorney who received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.  Ayanna received her bachelor degree in Education from McGill University in Montreal.  Ayanna grew up in Brookline, attended the Pierce School and Brookline High School.  She has one daughter who loves live theater.

Margueritte S. Murphy

Boston, MA and Rochester, NY - Margueritte S. Murphy has taught at Bentley University and Bates College, and most recently has served as chair of the Writing and Rhetoric Program and as associate provost at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D from Harvard University in Comparative Literature. She is author of books on the French poet, Charles Baudelaire, and on the prose poem, and co-editor of a collection on the discourses of globalization. Currently she serves as advisor and faculty liaison to the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Hobart &; William Smith Colleges.

Nora Sanders

Brookline, MA - Nora is a strategy consultant who previously spent 10+ years in digital media sales and operations atGoogle, Inc. A Massachusetts native, she received degrees from Harvard College and the Boston University School of Management.  Nora is passionate about the story-telling power of puppetry and its potential within education.

Paul Vincent Davis, Trustee Emeritus

Brookline, MA - Paul Vincent Davis is widely recognized as one of the foremost hand puppeteers in the country.. In addition to performing, Paul has taught puppetry at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. And for seven years he served as a faculty member and on the Board of Overseers for the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center.

Alice Schaefer, Trustee Emeritus

Newton, MA - Alice has been with the Puppet Showplace Theater since 1990, when she became a member of the administrative staff.  She and her husband, Tom, presented puppetry performances for 20 years with their company, Schaefer Shenanigans.  Prior to moving to New England, Alice spent 15 years as a high school science teacher.   Alice currently serves on the boards of the Boston Area Guild of Puppeteers (BAGOP) and the New England Friends Home, an assisted living facility.  She also participates in networks for peer counseling and support for families and friends of the mentally ill.


Get Involved!

Trustees play an active role in shaping the theater’s direction by providing governance and support to the staff. Trustees spend an average 8-10 hours a month addressing the non-profit management of the institution.  Trustees also provide direct support to the theater through fundraising and participation on committees. We are always looking for individuals with a passion for performing arts and experience in any of the following areas: finance, fundraising, human resources, legal, performing arts, early childhood, and arts education. 

If you are interested in joining this dynamic group of community volunteers and helping Puppet Showplace Theater achieve its mission, please contact Managing Director Cat Meilus at business@puppetshowplace.org