"puppet showplace"

Puppet Showplace Celebrates 40th Anniversary

40th Anniversary Legacy Gala

Monday June 2, 2014

6:30 - 9:30 PM

at the

George H. Wightman Mansion

43 Hawes Street

Brookline, Massachusetts 

Join us this Monday, June 2nd, at the beautiful George H. Wightman Mansion for an evening that celebrate our 40 year history as New England's puppet theater, as well as the art of puppetry! With performances by some of our favorite puppeteers, a silent auction of incredible items, cocktails, and delicious catering provided by Whole Foods Brighton, this will not be a night to miss!

The George H. Wightman Mansion 


Throughout the evening, we will have performances taking place all over the Mansion, including live music. Many of our favorite puppeteers from across the years will be performing in rotation, so everyone will be able to see their talent and skill.

-Featured Performers-

Tanglewood Marionettes

Dream Tale Puppets

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre

Great Small Works

Resident Artist Brad Shur

Brenda Huggins and Phil Berman

Ronald Binion

John Lechner

Mask Ensemble with Avital Peleg

Michelle Finston and Christine Dempsey

Gavin Cummins

With musical performances by: 

Brendan Burns & Tony Leva, Phil Berman & Paul Watkins


Aside from our performances, we will be having a silent auction inside of the Mansion. There will be many items available to bid on, the majority of which were donated by our very generous partners in the community. Check out a sampling of our wonderful donors below:

Fundraising Goals:

All Legacy Gala contributions will support our three major fundraising initiatives:

Artists' Fund:

As New England's puppet theater, we are always expanding our roster of artists. This fund provides audiences access to regional premieres of exceptional puppetry productions from companies they may not have seen before.

Facilities Fund:

As a cultural destination, we are planning upgrades and renovations to the spaces that make up the theater, enhancing the physical aspects of what makes our theater a gateway to creativity and self-discovery.

Mary Churchill Memorial Fund

: As a community partner, we are committed to increasing access to live performing arts for school children regardless of their ability to pay. Named for our founder, this fund is exclusively available to school groups who otherwise would not be able to attend our performances, in order to reach a broader audience of children.


Join us in honoring these remarkable individuals in the areas of excellence in puppetry arts and exceptional creative leadership!


Dr. John Bell & Trudi Cohen

Great Small Works

John Bell is Director of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and an Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut. He and Trudi Cohen met as puppeteers in the Bread and Puppet Theater where they both worked from 1975 to 1986; and are founding members of the Great Small Works theater collective, based in NYC.

John received his doctoral degree in theater history from Columbia University in 1993 and is the author of many books and articles about puppet theater, including co-editing the forthcoming Routledge Guide to Puppetry and Material Performance. Trudi has been producing director of Great Small Works’ three most recent International Toy Theater Festivals in Brooklyn, NY; and John is artistic director of the 2015 Puppeteers of America National Festival. Trudi and John play in the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, and are organizers of the annual HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands in Somerville, MA.


Dr. Susan Linn

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Susan Linn is Director of

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

. Her book, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood launched the movement to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.

Dr. Linn is also an award winning ventriloquist and children’s entertainer and is internationally known for her innovative use of puppets in child psychotherapy, which she pioneered at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Among many other honors, Dr. Linn received a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for her work on behalf of children. Her work with puppets has been honored by the Union Internationale de la Marionette and Puppeteers of America.


Frogs, Frogs, and More Frogs!

"Puppeteers of New England"

Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse  work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

We're going froggy this weekend here at Puppet Showplace! Join Andrew and Bonnie Periale of the Perry Alley Theatre for a hopping good time as they perform the well-known tale "The Frog Prince," along with two other froggy fables.

"The Frog Prince and Other Frogs"

by Perry Alley Theatre

Thurs & Fri, May 29 & 30, at 10:30 am

Saturday, May 31, at 1 & 3 pm

No performances Sunday



Hop along with Perry Alley Theatre through the wonderful world of Frogs. This show includes the beloved “Frog Prince,” in which an exceedingly silly Princess is helped by an enchanted frog and learns not to make promises she can’t keep. Then, in "The Evolution of Frogs"-- Dive with us into the depths of ancient oceans to follow the evolution of one-celled creatures into clams, worms, fish and finally ancient frogs—a riveting romp through pre-history. Finally, in "Frog and Eggplant"--Two friends are dissatisfied with their lives, and wish they could trade places. A spirit overhears them and grants them their wish, with disastrous (and hilarious) consequences!


Andrew and Bonnie Periale founded Perry Alley Theatre in 1986 and moved to their current home and studio in NH in 1988. Together, they’ve produced a dozen major shows and many shorter pieces for touring. Andrew and Bonnie have performed at numerous national and regional festivals, at the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta), the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry and many other venues across the U.S. as well as in France and Italy. They have produced the magazines for UNIMA-USA for 28 years, establishing Puppetry International magazine in the early 1990s.

Recognition includes The Paul Vincent Davis Award, the George Latshaw Award, 3 Henson Foundation grants, 2 UNIMA Citations, an Emmy nomination, finalists in the International Festival of Film and Television and, from UNIMA-USA, a Lifetime Achievement award.


Traditional Tales Enchant Brookline This Week


Puppeteers of New England


Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse

work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

"The Three Wishes And

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"

by Spring Valley Puppets

Thurs & Fri, May 22nd and 23rd, at 10:30 am

Sat & Sun, May 24th and 25th. at 1:00 and 3:00 pm


This week is filled with delightful mischief as two popular fables take the stage at Puppet Showplace! Join Michael Graham of Spring Valley Puppets from New Haven, CT as he and h

is hand-crafted glove puppets weave a magic all their own.

"The Three Wishes"

"Thoroughly enjoyable! Informative! Exceptional quality!" 

Comprehensive Arts Program - New Haven, CT

"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"


...[A] delightful performance! Beautiful scenery and charming puppets ... 

a professional production that delighted the students and staff.

Parkway School - Greenwich, CT

About the show:

Stunning craftsm

anship and delightful special effects bring two traditional tales to life in this elegant puppet production. In "The Three Wishes," a magical elf wreaks havoc in the household of an elderly woodcutter and his wife while teaching us a lesson about getting stuck in our routines. Then, a little lamb proves that she's not so helpless in an original adaptation of "A

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". Based on Aesop's popular fable, this story is enlivened with a colorful Mexican setting, a humorous communication gap, and a surprise ending!

About the performer:

Michael Graham

has performed with puppets since he was a young boy. He founded the Spring Valley Puppet Theater in 1977. Since then, he has performed throughout New England, primarily for schools and libraries. His work has been featured numerous times at regional and national festivals of the Puppeteers of America, and he is a recipient of the prestigious UNIMA citation of excellence. Michael designs and makes all of his puppets by hand, writes his own scripts, creates the scenery, and performs many of the voices. 

He graduated from Western Connecticut State College with a degree in Elementary Education and Spanish, and has created many bilingual adaptations of folk tales. Michael has been a guest instructor at the University of Connecticut Puppet Arts program, the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (IPPA) at the O'Neill Theatre Center, and has presented casting and hand puppet construction workshops for puppetry guilds in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Mother Goose in Brookline this May!

"Puppeteers of New England"
Series of puppet shows that celebrate exciting and diverse 
work by puppetry artists from the Northeast.

It's a weekend filled with your favorite Mother Goose rhymes at Puppet Showplace...or rather...FATHER Goose!  Join Jim Napolitano of Nappy's Puppets from New Haven, CT for hilarious renditions of your favorite nursery rhymes. His signature shadow puppet style will have you in stitches!

If that's not enough laughs for you, then join us Saturday, May 17 for two special performances of "Mother Goose and Friends" by Sparky's Puppets from Providence, Rhode Island.  Help us celebrate these two amazing performers from New England during our "Puppeteers of New England" series. VIEW FULL CALENDAR

"Father Goose's Tales" by Nappy's Puppets
Thurs & Fri, May 15 & 16 at 10:30am
Sun, May 18 at 1 & 3pm

About the show: There is trouble in the nursery! Mother Goose has taken the day off, and Father Goose must do all of her chores, including the storytelling! But try as he might, Father Goose just can't get the stories quite right. "Father Goose's Tales" is a hilarious modern retelling of favorite nursery rhymes, stories, and children's songs that will delight audiences of all ages. Each performance includes a puppet demonstration and lots of audience interaction!

About the performer:

Jim Napolitano, a.k.a. “Uncle Nappy,” is a Connecticut native and one of America’s most-loved shadow puppeteers. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program, and has taught puppetry to students of all ages throughout New England. For over 20 years Nappy’s Puppets has toured nationally to theatres, festivals, libraries, and museums, delighting audiences of all ages with quality shadow theatre productions.

Jim has also worked extensively as a freelance artist and puppeteer. As a member of Bits and Pieces Puppet Theatre he performed musicals with giant puppets across the country and around the world, including at the National Cultural Center in Japan and the National Theatre in Taiwan. His television credits include Between the Lions, The Book of Pooh, and segments for Nickelodeon, Scholastic Home Video, and HBO Pictures. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

"Mother Goose and Friends" by Sparky's Puppets
Sat, May 17 at 1 & 3pm

About the show: See your favorite tales come to life in this fun and interactive show, with the one and only Mother Goose as your guide! Watch Grandmother teach a wolf some manners in "Little Red Riding Hood." Then, help the hard-working "Little Red Hen" bake a loaf of bread. Meet "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "The Three Little Pigs." Finally, bring a "Gingerbread Man" to life with some make-believe ingredients...and a pinch of magic!

About the performer: Kathleen “Sparky” Davis began dramatizing stories with hand puppets while working as a children's librarian. Since 1980, Sparky's Puppets have delighted children and family audiences at schools, libraries and festivals throughout New England. Every summer, Sparky creates a special show for the Rhode Island statewide public libraries' summer reading program.

Sparky loves to see children's reactions to their favorite stories brought to life with endearing puppet characters. She is known for her quick wit and hilarious sense of humor. A preschool child at a recent show was heard to say. "It was so funny I burst out laughing!"

April Vacation Week at Puppet Showplace!

"Animal April" 
Series of puppet shows featuring your favorite 
animal characters concludes with...

"Trickster Tales!"
by Barefoot Puppets
Fri, Apr 25 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, Apr 26 & 27 at 1 & 3pm

April vacation week is HERE! Joining us from Richmond, Virginia, the Barefoot Puppets are performing two titles during the 2014, April school vacation week. Both shows feature exciting animal character and nature themes! Learn about Galapagos Island in "Galapagos George", and then travel to West Africa with Anansi the Spider in "Trickster Tales!" VIEW CALENDAR

"Trickster Tales" by Barefoot Puppets; Richmond, Virginia.
About the show: Can a spider defeat an elephant at tug-of-war? Overpower a python? Capture a cloud of hornets? With Anansi the Spider, world famous trickster, all things are possible...if you only have a plan! This show brings traditional stories from West Africa to life with expressive rod puppets, original music, and lots of puns. Performed on a large, twelve-foot stage with colorful scenery and amazing scene changes. It's a high-energy show with lots of laughs!

Heidi Rugg, Barefoot Puppets and Galapagos George.
About the performers: Having spent most of her early childhood barefoot in Hawaii, it only seemed natural that Heidi Rugg would name her company Barefoot Puppet Theatre. Performing barefoot is very fun – but it's also very useful for operating the foot pedal sound system her husband engineered. Barefoot Puppet Theatre began miles away from Hawaii, though, in Richmond, Virginia. Heidi founded the company in 1997 after apprenticing as a puppet builder with Handemonium Puppets in Washington, D.C. In 2001, with a growing touring schedule and a growing family, her husband Sam Rugg joined the company to help with building stages, managing accounts, and handling the technical side of lighting and sound. For more information, please visit www.barefootpuppets.com.

Animals Teach A Lesson In Friendship

Animal April continues with...

“The Carrot Salesman” 
by Brad Shur, Artist in Residence 
with live music performed by Chris Monti

Apr 17 (Thu) | 10:30 am
Apr 18 (Fri) | 10:30 am & 1 pm
Apr 19 ( Sat) | 1 pm & 3 pm

Join Mr. Bunni, star and sympathetic hero of “The Carrot Salesman” as he searches for new customers and new friends. This show features beautifully designed, 2-dimensional puppets created by Artist in Residence, Brad Shur, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Imagine a giant pop-up book that comes to life right in front of your eyes! This gentle and interactive show is perfect for ages 2 & up.

About the Performance:

Join Mr. Bunni, a door-to-door vegetable salesman, as he journeys beneath the earth, into the sea, and even to outer space in search of new customers. Will he ever sell enough carrots to please his boss? Or will his new friends teach him a valuable lesson? This imaginative table-top performance features a live actor, colorful 2D paper puppets, and plenty of audience interaction. 


All performances of "The Carrot Salesman" will feature live music performed by local musician, Chris Monti.

Brad Shur and Chris Monti in rehearsal for "The Carrot Salesman"
About the Performer:

Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs 6-7 different shows each year in multiple puppetry styles. He also teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult.

Brad Shur in "The Carrot Salesman"
Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Brad toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder, Brad has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. Brad is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

More Animal Adventures at Puppet Showplace!

"Animal April"
Series of puppet shows featuring animal characters and nature themes continues with...

“Raccoon Tales” 
by Paul Vincent Davis, Artist in Residence Emeritus
performed by Brad Shur, Artist in Residence
Apr 10 & 11 (Thu & Fri) | 10:30am
Apr 12 & 13 (Sat & Sun) | 1 pm & 3pm


If you look carefully among the trees and bushes of the forest, you might see a creature peeking from behind the leaves! Meet a trickster raccoon, red coat bushy-tail fox, timber wolf, and brown bear in "Raccoon Tales," a collection of Native American tales from the Seneca tribe of New York. Join us for an exciting week of trickster tales staring the cleverest raccoon around!

Red Coat Bushy-Tail Fox
About the Show:

Get transported into the forest with the trickster Ring-Around-His-Tail Raccoon as your guide! The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other. Will they ever learn their lessons? "Raccoon Tales" features three humorous vignettes inspired by the Native American just-so-stories of the Seneca tribe: "How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick Each Other," "Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn’t" and "Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail." The show is performed with hand-crafted glove puppets made by Paul Vincent Davis.

About the Seneca tribe:

Seneca is pronounced "SEH-neh-kah." It comes from the name of one of their villages, Osininka. In their own language, the Senecas call themselves Onandowaga, which means "people of the mountain." The Senecas originally lived in New York state.  Many Seneca people still live in New York today, but others were forced to migrate to Oklahoma or Canada.

There are lots of traditional Seneca legends and fairy tales. Storytelling is very important to the Seneca Indian culture.

About the performer:

Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs different shows each year in multiple puppetry styles. He also teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult. As protégé of master puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis, Shur trained extensively in the art of glove puppetry and currently performs two of Davis’ classic shows, "Raccoon Tales" and "Clown Circus," at venues across New England.

Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Brad toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder, Brad has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. Brad is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Paul Vincent Davis with Brad Shur, and Robin character from Brad's new glove puppet show, "Robin Hood"

Circus Artist Defies Multiple Sclerosis in NEW Puppetry Performance


"Reverse Cascade"

by Anna Fitzgerald, UCONN Puppet Arts Program

Apr 10-12 (Thur-Sat) at 8pm


Join us this April for another exciting "Puppets At Night" performance for adult and teen audiences. The Boston premiere of “Reverse Cascade” is a powerful theatrical tribute to circus artist Judy Finelli, who fights to remake her performance career after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Created by Finelli’s student Anna Fitzgerald (UCONN Puppet Arts Program), “Reverse Cascade” features virtuosic manipulation, found-object puppetry, and original music. Recommended for ages 13+.

What happens when the skills you have spent your life acquiring are stripped away from you by a debilitating disease? Do you give in, or find a well of deeper inner strength? Can we truly ever abandon what we love? Find out in this inspirational true story.

Found object puppetry brings to life the inspiring story of circus performer Judy Finelli.

About the Performance:

After building a career as a circus performer and juggler with remarkable physical control, Judy's body began to fail her. For years, she searched for an answer and was eventually given a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Slowly, Judy lost control of her body, her spirit, and the juggler that was inside of her. But the circus called her back, and Judy found new ways to challenge herself, pushing her body to the limits once again.

"Reverse Cascade" by Anna Fitzgerald

Through the simple magic of found object puppetry and live music, this production will lead you through a story inspired by Judy Finelli's amazing journey from legs, to wheels, to new heights. Students from University of Connecticut's famed Puppet Arts Program are proud to bring the Boston premiere of one of its newest works to Puppet Showplace Theatre.


About the Performer: 

Anna Fitzgerald is a puppeteer from Baltimore, MD and an MFA candidate in Puppet Arts at the University of Connecticut. She has performed at The Green Mountain Puppet Festival, Baltimore’s Artscape and Whartscape, EnvisionFEST Hartford, and in theaters around the country. Anna began working in puppetry as a company member in Liebe Wetzel’s Lunatique Fantastique in San Francisco. 

She co-founded UnSaddestFactory Theater Company in Baltimore producing, directing and performing in several original plays and organizing and producing three sold out Ten Minute Play Festivals.

Before moving to Connecticut, she studied Theater at The Baltimore School for the Arts, Mime and Social Theater with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, Justice at American University, Clown at lthe Clown Conservatory of San Francisco. She continues to write and perform her own puppet work on stage while dabbling in short stop motion films and exploring the new possibilities of visual arts.


Post Show Discussion:

Following the Thursday April 10th performance, Boston opera star Barbara Quintiliani, also diagnosed with MS, will lead a post-show discussion on “Opportunities and Obstacles for Artists with Disabilities.”

Throughout the run, paintings from “Snow on the Brain,” Marguerite McDonald’s visual exploration of her own experience living with MS, will also be on display. This discussion and exhibit are co-presented with VSA Massachusetts, the state organization on arts and disability.

About MS:

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is an unpredictable disease that damages the central nervous system.

Find out more: 

Life in Spite of MS


Nature and Animal Stories at Puppet Showplace!

Animal April
Series of puppet shows featuring your favorite creatures!

UP NEXT: "Turtle's New Home"
by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer!
Thurs & Fri, April 3 & 4 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, April 5 & 6 at 1 & 3pm

Join us this Spring at Puppet Showplace for a series of puppet shows featuring your favorite animal characters. Adventure with animals from Galapagos Island, journey into the forest with a trickster raccoon from Native American stories, or travel to the jungles of africa to meet your favorite Spider Anansi and his friends.  First in the series is an original story by local puppeteer Deborah Costine about animals native to New England. VIEW FULL CALENDAR

"Turtle's New Home" by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer!
About the show:

New England animals are the stars of this charming story about friends in a wetland habitat. The little pond where Blanding the turtle has lived for many years is no longer safe because a road has been built between there and the place she goes to lay her eggs. When she meets young Castor the Beaver, who is eager to build a dam, she sees that her problems might be solved! Along the way, we also meet a young boy and his nature-loving babysitter who learn together how to look closely at nature.

"Turtle's New Home" by Deborah Costine, Puppeteer!
About the performer:
Debbie is an artist, naturalist and National award-winning puppeteer whose mission is to inspire the love of nature in children. She co-founded The Gerwick Puppets in 1974 and, with Len Gerwick, designed, and built 14 productions during which time she created over 200 puppet characters and presented over 5,000 performances throughout New England.

Deborah Costine, Puppeteer and the cast of
her UNIMA award-winning show, "A Woodland Cinderella"
Eventually Debbie formed her own solo company -and produced shows appropriate for ages 3 and up, Including “The Three Pigs and Other Tales, “The Twig Family in the Oak Tree” and “A Woodland Cinderella.” “Turtle’s New Home” is the newest production and received funding from the Jim Henson Foundation. It is an endearing story about friendship, habitat needs and “puppet” children learning how to look closely at nature. www.deborahcostinenaturepuppets.com

Yiddish Folktales at Puppet Showplace!

"Puppets Around the World"

Series of puppetry styles and folktales from across the globe continues with...

"The Magic Soup and Other Stories"
by Artist in Residence, Brad Shur
Mar 27 & 28 (Thu & Fri) | 10:30 am
Mar 29 & 30 (Sat & Sun) | 1 pm & 3 pm


When the things are looking down, how do you find the strength to persevere? Join Brad Shur as he shares one young adult’s story of challenge and triumph, through family history and family dinner.

This collection of yiddish folktales features your favorite stories from the Jewish tradition of Eastern Europe: “The Naked Truth and Resplendent Parable,” “The Egg Seller,” “The Very Small House,” “A Coat for Poverty,” “Pleasing All the World,” and “The Magic Soup." All of the puppetry elements and set pieces are designed and crafted by Brad Shur, Puppet Showplace in Residence.

Resplendent Parable character from "The Magic Soup and Other Stories"
About the Performance

What do you do when your relatives are coming over for dinner, but there's no food in sight? A young man's search for a family recipe ends up bringing folk tales to life...in his kitchen. Based on a collection of traditional Yiddish stories, "The Magic Soup" teaches that it is those with wit, humor and imagination who have the best chance of filling their bellies -- and fulfilling their dreams.

Trickster character, Hershel of Ostropol.
About the Performer

Brad Shur is a versatile puppeteer who has created and performed characters made of everything from pixels to papier mache. As the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theatre he performs regularly and teaches puppetry classes to students of all ages, Pre-K to adult. As protégé of master puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis, Shur trained extensively in glove puppetry and currently performs two of Davis’ classic shows at venues across New England. In January, he completed production for "Robin Hood," Shur's first original glove puppet show. Shur’s other original works include "The Carrot Salesman," "Dr. Doohickey and the Monster Machine," "The Yankee Peddler: Stories and Songs from Old New England" and "The Magic Soup and Other Stories," featured at the Puppeteers of America National Festival 2013.

Brad Shur with puppet character, the “Naked Ugly Truth”
in “The Magic Soup and Other Stories”.
Prior to becoming the Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace, Shur toured the country as a performer with Big Nazo (Rhode Island), Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee) and The PuppeTree (Vermont). As a builder Shur has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, Avenue Q, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Don’t miss the “Naked Ugly Truth” in “The Magic Soup and Other Stories”.

March Puppet Slam: Puppets Around the World

"Puppets at Night"
Series of evening puppetry performances for adults and teens presents...

Chinese Theatre Works (NYC)
"Puppet Showplace Slam: International Edition"
Saturday, March 22 at 8pm


Every other month Puppet Showplace stays open late to deliver the finest in grown-up short form puppetry entertainment. Each cabaret-style piece is performed by a different artist or artists, and the content can be wide-ranging: some acts are elegant or poignant, others are satiric, irreverent, or humorous, and still others can be passionate, political, or spiritual in nature. 

In honor of the World Day of Puppetry, March's Puppet Showplace Slam will bring together puppetry styles and stories from around the globe. Performers include Chinese Theatre Works (NYC), Israeli mask artist Avital Peleg, Margaret Moody of Galapagos Puppets, Puppet Master Jake, Accordionist Ian Theo Mitchell, and more!

Cash bar! Beer and wine will be served.

Celebrate the World Day of Puppetry with Chinese Folktales!

"Puppets Around the World" series of puppetry styles and folktales from across the globe continues with...

Hao Bang-Ya Horse
by Chinese Theatre Works (NYC)
Thurs & Fri, Mar 20 & 21 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, Mar 22 & 23 at 1pm & 3pm


March 21st is the World Day of Puppetry. Come celebrate with us at our final "Puppets Around the World" shows. This week, join Chinese Theatre Works of New York City for a puppet-filled trip through new year traditions.


About the show: 
Celebrate the Year of the Horse in this fun and interactive show featuring a jolly selection of hand puppet vignettes based on popular songs and well-known Chinese sayings. Discover both ancient and modern pearls of Horse wisdom, such as: “The fastest Horse can’t catch up to a Promise once given,” “Ma Ma, Hu Hu” (Literally “horse, horse, tiger, tiger,” meaning something that is so-so), and “Patting the Horse’s Rear-End” (flattery gets you nowhere). 

Characters from the Chinese Zodiac

Audiences will also learn about Chinese New Year customs and foods (red envelopes, fish and “nian gao”) and be introduced to other animals of the Chinese zodiac including Tigers, Rabbits, Dragons and Snakes. Sing-alongs, games, and a hands-on post-show hands-on demonstration will make the Chinese language and cultural experience accessible to even the youngest audience members! 

*Some parts of the program are performed in Chinese, with English translations and explanations.

Chinese Theatre Works co-artistic directors, Kuang-Fong & Stephen Kaplin leading a shadow puppet lecture and demo.
About the Performer: Chinese Theatre Works (CTW) was created in 2001 out of the merger of two non-profit institutions with long histories of bringing both traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to local, national, and international audiences. Now based in New York City, CTW's mission is to preserve and promote the traditional Chinese performing arts (including opera, shadow theatre, puppetry, dance and music); to create new performance works that bridge Eastern and Western aesthetics and forms; and to foster understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture in audiences, artists students, scholars and educators around the globe.

Learn more about Chinese Theatre Works here.

Learn How to Create Character Voices!

Adult and Teen Classes at Puppet Showplace Theatre

Fundamentals of Silly Voices  
with Brenda Huggins, Teaching Artist
4 sessions, Tuesdays March 25 - April 15 | 6:30-8:30pm


Are you a puppeteer, storyteller or librarian? Are you a parent who wants to incorporate character voices into story-time with your little ones? Sign-up for "Silly Voices" and learn how to bring exciting characters to life with your voice. Class starts soon, sign-up today!

About the Class:

In this fun and rigorous class, participants will discover how their voice works and learn how make it work for them. Through interactive vocal warm-ups and exercises, students will explore their own vocal ranges and learn techniques for breath support, projection, and maintaining vocal health. The class will make connections between voice, character, and storytelling using group activities and multiple styles of puppetry and object theatre.

This class is recommended for anyone interested in expanding their repertoire of consistent and expressive character voices, from professional performers to puppetry enthusiasts. 

Participant Testimonial
"Fundamentals of Silly Voices" is a course Brenda Huggins taught at Puppet Showplace Theatre in 2012, and at the 2013 National Puppetry Festival. Here is what a previous student has to say about their experience...
Kaitee Tredway and her puppet, Washburne

"I left Silly Voices with a toolbox: warm-ups, visualization exercises, access to different resonating chambers, and perhaps most importantly, the confidence to experiment and play within my own voice"

- Kaitee Tredway, 
local actor and puppeteer

About the instructor:

Brenda Huggins is a singer, actor, puppeteer, costume designer, theatre and opera director, and teaching artist with an M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College. Her background in classical vocal music as a graduate of Western Connecticut State University with a B.A. in Music lead her to develop a unique approach to voice performance that is a combination of techniques from across music and theatre disciplines.

Brenda Huggins with Puppet Playtime character, Bella Monster
Brenda has taught this innovative philosophy in the Greater Boston Area for over 5 years as a private voice teacher and workshop instructor for youth, college students, and adults. Brenda led a workshop of this cross-discipline voice performance technique at the 2013 National Puppetry Conference in Swarthmore, PA. Brenda is the co-creater and puppeteer of Puppet Showplace Theatre's Puppet Playtime, an interactive puppetry performance series with live music for very young audiences. Learn more about PUPPET PLAYTIME.

Learn how to master your own vocal technique in an encouraging classroom environment!

Chinese Folktales at Puppet Showplace!

"Puppets Around the World"
Series of puppetry styles and folktales from across the globe continues with...

Tales of a Mysterious Land
by Applause Unlimited
Thurs & Fri, March 6 & 7 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, March 8 & 9 at 1pm & 3pm


Scene from "Tales of a Mysterious Land" by Applause Unlimited
Last week at Puppet Showplace, Christopher Hudert of Applause Unlimited dazzled audiences with his storytelling and puppetry performance during "Aesop's Fables."  Travel with us this week to China as we explore Chinese Folktales with masks, puppets, and Christopher's signature storytelling performance style!

Characters from the Chinese Folktale, "The Long Hair Girl" by Applause Unlimited

About the show: Discover the rich diversity of Chinese folklore through three folk tales brought to life with puppets, masks, and theatrical storytelling. Learn how the waterfall got its name in the story of “The Long Hair Girl.” Then, in “The God of Faces,” meet a talented old painter who finds out that doing your best work has value beyond measure. Finally, silliness ensues in “The Story of the House” when three unlikely characters try to share the same dwelling. Drawn from Buddhist, Tung, and Shui traditions, these stories are sure to stir the heart and stimulate the imagination of audiences young and old!

Christopher Hudert of Applause unlimited in a scene from "Tales of a Mysterious Land"
About the Artist: Applause Unlimited cofounder Christopher Hudert began his theatrical carreer at an early age, performing with The Children's Theater of Richmond, Puppetfest Productions, and other Virginia-based companies. While pursuing a degree in Theater Education, Christopher joined the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured for 9 years across the United States and Japan. After achieving the rank of Boss Clown, he left the circus to create his own company with master puppeteer Terry Snyder. Since its founding, Applause Unlimited has received two UNIMA Citations of Excellence, the highest recognition in American puppetry, and has performed in theaters and at festivals worldwide.

Meet the Man Behind the Sock Puppet

Behind-the-Scenes of “The Joshua Show” with Joshua Holden

Puppets at Night, a series of evening puppetry performances for adult and teen audiences at Puppet Showplace Theatre presents “The Joshua Show” by Joshua Holden, Fri & Sat, Feb 28 & Mar 1 at 8pm. This award-winning performance features classic vaudeville physical humor, original live music, puppets and even tap dancing! Tickets: www.puppetshowplace.org

Interview with Joshua Holden...

How did you become a performer?

I started performing in community theatre at the age of 7 after seeing my first live performance at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly. It became very clear to me that this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. In my junior year of high school i was awarded a scholarship to attend the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick and graduated from there the following year. I feel so proud to be in Boston doing what I love.

How did you create “The Joshua Show”?

I lived a nomadic life for nearly four years while traveling the US with various national tours. At the end of this long chapter of my life, I had no home base and no obligations. I went on a road trip with a friend, and while passing through Chicago, I was invited to perform in a puppet slam. It felt way too scary to create an original piece in such a short amount of time and I initially said, "No, I wouldn't know what to do" My friend responded with, “Well, what do you daydream about?” and I jokingly said, "I want to be the next Mr. Rogers and host my own television show." She said, "then do it!" So, that’s what I did! I made two puppets, and called the piece “The Joy Friends.” It was only 10 minutes long, but people were so excited about what they saw at the puppet slam that I decided that I would continue working on it.

Joshua Holden, puppeteer in "Peter Pan 360"
Who did you collaborate with to create “The Joshua Show”?

I have worked with two very talented musicians: Alex Knapp & Tim Hansen. Tim is an Australian composer that I met in New York about a year and a half ago. When the piece was still in development, we tried out new material at puppet slams and workshops. Tim wrote an adorably awesome song celebrating what it’s like to be a sheep called “When you’re a sheep” back in 2008 and we worked it into the show. He has now since moved back to Australia but when he said he would be in the U.S. this February, I had to have him as part of the performance of “The Joshua Show” at Puppet Showplace!

Joshua Holden with Tim Hansen, composer and musician.
Why do you incorporate puppets and tap dancing in your show?

I present myself in “The Joshua Show” as a gentleman and I create work that is genuinely accessible to both kids and adults. I strive to create work that spreads joy to my audiences. Bringing puppets to the show is a no-brainer because they are instant joy makers. Tap dancing is one of the happiest forms of dancing and it's intergenerational. It pumps up the energy of the show.

Joshua Holden with puppet character from "The Joshua Show"

What was your experience at the 2013 National Puppetry Festival?

Applying for the National Puppet Festival was scary but exciting. I only had a 10 minute piece when I applied. I was accepted to perform at the festival under the agreement that I would expand the piece to 45 minutes in length. Over the course of a year I traveled all over the country from New York City, to Chicago, Philadelphia and even Reading, MA adding more material with each performance. When I finally got to the festival, I was overwhelmed with the national puppet community and the abundant talent surrounding me. When I was awarded “Fan Favorite” and “Best Performance” at the awards ceremony, I was shocked and incredibly proud that all my hard work had paid off.

Who inspires and influences your creative work?

I often find myself looking at classic children's television hosts. Mr. Rogers is my biggest influence. Everyone was affected by him as a humanitarian and everyone's best friend. Yes, he was a bit sappy, but he made you feel so good about yourself and his positive messages resonated with everyone. When I look at what’s happening in today's entertainment, we don’t have that classic host with a cast of characters. I want to create a platform similar to Mr. Rogers and talk about the issues we are dealing with in todays world.

Joshua Holden with Mr. Nicholas in "The Joshua Show"
What do you hope to communicate to the audience?

This show is 100% from my heart. It's about celebrating our differences and finding joy in everyday life and about respecting your feelings and the feelings of others. It's about loving this awesome life we get to live each and every day.

What is next for the Joshua show?

I'm currently creating new material for "The Joshua Show" that I will be filming and putting on my YouTube channel in attempts to expand my audience and reach as many people as I can. I'm greatly honored to announce that in the spring of 2015 I will be performing at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA for thirteen shows.

More Puppets Around the World!

Aesop's Fables
by Applause Unlimited

Thurs & Fri, Feb 27 & 28 at 10:30 am
Sat & Sun, Mar 1 & 2 at 1:00 & 3:00pm


From "The Country Mouse and The City Mouse", "Aesop's Fables" by Applause Unlimited
Up next in the “Puppets Around the World"series...Aesop’s Fables!

Though little is known about the mysterious Aesop, a poor man in ancient Greece, his stories have stayed with us for centuries. Enduring the test of time, Aesop’s fables have been passed down through different generations and cultures to take on the form they exist in today. Short, imaginative tales, Aesop’s fables utilize animals and nature to reveal greater truths of the human condition, and convey morals for humankind to accept.

Renaissance era depiction of what Aesop may have looked like.

Applause Unlimited's production includes three of Aesop’s classic stories: “The Ant and the Grasshopper” in which a busy ant teaches us the importance of being prepared; “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse” in which we learn that some risks aren’t worth taking; and “The Tortoise and the Hare” in which a wise tortoise teaches us that boasting will not win a race.


Christopher Hudert (Applause Unlimited) began his theatrical career at an early age, performing with The Children's Theater of Richmond, Puppetfest Productions, and other Virginia-based companies. While pursuing a degree in Theater Education, Christopher joined the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured for 9 years across the United States and Japan. After achieving the rank of Boss Clown, he left the circus to create his own company with master puppeteer Terry Snyder. Since its founding, Applause Unlimited has received two UNIMA Citations of Excellence, the highest recognition in American puppetry, and has performed in theaters and at festivals worldwide. 

Christopher Hudert (Applause Unlimited) performing "The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen"
We invite you to revisit these classic tales through the magic of puppetry, and join us as Aesop’s fables come alive on stage at Puppet Showplace Theatre!

More Adult Classes at Puppet Showplace!

with Brad Shur, Artist in Residence

8 sessions, March 3 - April 28 
(No class April 21)
Mondays, 6:30-9pm
Members save 10% on registration!


A wise man once said there is no greater joy on earth than working with one’s hands. Get busy with yours by designing and building your own puppet with the guidance of artist Brad Shur, and bring your puppet to life from the very first design. Class starts soon, sign-up today! 


Brad has been professionally involved in puppetry for almost 15 years. He began as a performer with the Providence puppet and mask company Big Nazo while studying film and animation at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has worked in various capacities with Wood & Strings Theatre (Tennessee), and Vermont PuppetTree, and as a builder has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.

Brad Shur, Artist in Residence
All of the puppets Brad uses in his performances come from his workshop, where he builds them by hand from wood, paper, plastic, foam and fabric.

Learn about Brad's touring performances.

Adult students working on their puppets at Puppet Showplace Theatre. For more pictures of Brad’s adult class last year check out our flickr photos here.


Puppets are moving sculptures carefully crafted to be brought to life. Engineering and design play crucial roles in shaping a puppet character's personality and movement abilities. In "Puppet Building 101" participants will create their own original sculpted rod puppet from scratch. To begin, class members will learn how to turn their ideas into drawn designs, ready to be produced. From there, participants will sculpt plasticine, apply paper mache, pattern and sew fabric, and apply other materials to turn their designs into fully functional, performance-ready works of art! Although the puppet made in class will be a rod puppet, the skills and techniques used are applicable to many types of puppet construction.

This is an intro-level class. Lessons are cumulative so consistent attendance is important. Participants will be expected to work on projects outside of class time.

Get creative, and bring your original puppet design to life!

Find more info about upcoming spring and summer classes at Puppet Showplace ON-LINE

Travel Around the World this Vacation Week!

Puppets Around the World Kicks-Off This February

Puppet Showplace Theatre presents a series of puppet shows celebrating world culture and puppetry styles, "Puppets Around the World" from Feb 18-March 30. First up in the series is "An Arabian Adventure" by Tanglewood Marionettes. We are presenting two performances a day, Tues-Thurs during February Vacation week! VIEW FULL SCHEDULE

"An Arabian Adventure" 
by Tanglewood Marionettes
Tues-Thurs, Feb 18-20 at 10:30am & 1pm


About the show: “An Arabian Adventure” tells the tale of a Persian prince who is thrown into a dungeon because of his love for a beautiful princess. Facing danger at every turn, the courageous prince must battle his way out of the underground prison to save his princess from a tragic fate. The production features over a dozen beautifully hand-crafted marionettes, exquisite “story-book” style scenery, and a soundtrack that combines traditional Western and Middle Eastern music.

About the performers: Founded in 1993 by Peter and Anne Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette company whose unique productions have been seen by hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country. With seven shows currently in their repertoire, the company performs year-round at venues ranging from school assemblies to renowned cultural institutions.

Jennifer Tebo and Peter Schaefer of Tanglewood Marionettes
Performer Peter Schaefer was born into a Boston-area family of puppeteers and has visited Puppet Showplace since he was a child. After apprenticing with the Bennington Puppets, Peter launched his own company, “Mountain Marionettes,” before joining with Anne Schaefer and fellow Bennington puppeteer Stephen Hancock to form Tanglewood Marionettes.

Performer Jennifer Tebo discovered her love of puppetry while pursuing a degree in Theater and Classical Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has been touring with Tanglewood Marionettes since 2004 and plans to spend a lifetime in puppetry.

The company has received two UNIMA awards, puppetry's highest honor, for their productions "An Arabian Adventure" and "The Dragon King."

UNIMA Awarding-Winning production of "The Dragon King"
by Tanglewood Marionettes
Tanglewood Marionettes believes above all that a performance is a communal experience, with connections established not only with the performers, but also between members of the audience themselves as they laugh together, gasp together, and cheer together when the good guys prevail!

"Poste Restante" at Charlestown Working Theater

Squirrel Stole My Underpants Creator Performs for Adults
by Guest Blogger: Bonnie Duncan, (They Gotta Be Secret Agents)

Bonnie Duncan and Tim Gallagher in "Poste Restante"
Poste Restante: A madly inventive mix of acrobatics, paper, laughter, dance, flight, puppetry, longing, and film…all stuffed neatly into a box.

Before creating "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" at Puppet Showplace, I focused my performing work on adult audiences.  "Poste Restante", a piece I made with my dance partner Tim Gallagher, is returning to Boston Feb 20-23rd at Charlestown Working Theater. 

Beyond being a lovely piece of theater, here are the...

Top 5 Reasons you should go see Poste Restante:

1.  If the child in you enjoyed Squirrel Stole My Underpants, the adult in you will be charmed, wowed, and touched by Poste Restante.  It’s the perfect date-night piece of theater.  Or, bring the kids to our Sunday, Feb 23rd show at 2:00 pm---it’s family-friendly!

2.  You can have it all:  Soulful Acrobatics!  Cheeky Theatre!  Refreshing Dance, Puppetry, & Film!  Tim Gallagher and I perform a brilliantly imaginative form of physical theater, effortlessly moving back and forth between acrobatics, puppetry and dance. Our poetically beautiful, absurdly logical show is by turns funny, dazzling, and, in the end, surprisingly poignant.

3.  Poste Restante brings communication down from a high-tech, instant, "now,now, now" process to a more tangible, visceral level where letters and boxes travel through real space and time, and survive countless potential mishaps along the way.  “The charming performance piece is a love letter to the deep human need we have to connect and the terrible trouble we have in succeeding.” – Culture Map Austin

4.  We perform under the name “They Gotta BeSecret Agents” which is apt, considering how we usually spend our daily lives:  I am the mother of 3 kids under the age of 5, living in Jamaica Plain; Tim is finishing up medical school in New York City and will begin a 4 year residency in Emergency Medicine in June.  We created and currently rehearse this show on the weekends, traveling between cities, mailing various items and ideas through the mail.

5.  This show won “Best Touring Show” (Austin Critic’s Table), “Best of the Fringe” & “Best Physical Comedy” (San Francisco Fringe).  It’s received standing ovations from audiences across the US and Europe.  The Prague Post called Poste Restante "Inspired choreography that is so stark and evocative... this crowd pleaser is not to be missed.”  It was developed with support from the Jim Henson Foundation, Puppeteers of America Endowment grant, Cambridge Arts Council, and the Mass Cultural Council. 

See you and your friends there!

- Bonnie

Learn Mouth and Rod Puppetry at Puppet Showplace!

Furry Monsters 101 with Jonathan Little, Little's Creatures

4 sessions, February 25 - March 18

Tuesdays, 6:30-9:00pm
Members save 10% on registration!


Some characters are too good to keep bottled up. Let out your inner monster with the "Furry Monsters 101" class at Puppet Showplace Theatre taught by master puppeteer Jonathan Little of Little's Creatures. This class is for adults and mature teens ages 16 and up.

Students practicing with puppets made by Little's Creatures at Puppet Showplace.

Take a page of the Muppet, Sesame Street, or saucy Avenue Q handbook and create your own character through the use of a professional hand and rod puppet. Work with “Little Creatures” puppet company founder Jonathan Little, and give life to your inner characters. Will your puppet character be sassy? Meek? A childhood hero or an inner demon? Explore an exciting, visual storytelling medium in a supportive classroom environment with fellow adventurers.

Jon Little of Little's Creatures, Fury Monsters 101 instructor at Puppet Showplace


Jonathan Little is the founder of Little’s Creatures, a full service puppet company based in Medford, MA. Little’s Creatures has built puppets and performed for individuals and companies across the United States and abroad. Current puppetry projects include the Time Machine Guitar TV series and the National Fire Prevention Association’s “Sparky the Fire Dog” fire safety videos. Jon has been a Puppet Showplace teaching artist since 2011.

Jon and Chris Little, Little's Creatures performing Sparky the Fire Dog.

He received his own puppetry training from some of the nation’s best television puppeteers including Muppeteers Martin P. Robinson, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Tyler Bunch, Tim Lagasse, and Jim Kroupa. For the past four years, Jon has worked as the teaching assistant in Jim Kroupa’s mechanism workshop at the Eugene O’Neill National Puppetry Conference. In addition to performing, Jonathan is skilled in the fine arts, including sculpture, film, video, drawing, and painting. He holds a degree from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He is a skilled dancer, with over 14 years of ballet training (Red Shoes Ballet, South Shore Dance, and Boston Ballet). He has also trained in comedy improv with ImprovBoston.


In Furry Monsters 101, participants will learn the proper technique of hand and rod puppetry. Professional puppeteers know how to make these characters appear as living, breathing beings with their own thoughts, desires, and motivations. After learning the basics (breathing, lip-synch, focus, and body position), participants will also be able to bring their own characters to life too. Their hands will start to have minds of their own!

For samples of last year’s students’ creations in the Furry Monsters class checkout Little’s youtube page:

Participants will also cover essentials such as character interpretation, rhythm and timing, storytelling, puppet-assisting , working with props, creating a puppet film, improv and comedy, television monitor technique, and puppet/actor interactions. This is an ideal class for actors, comedians, die-hard Muppet fans, dancers, animators, or anyone interested in learning puppetry.

For those ready to embark on the hilarious, rewarding adventure of bringing your own puppet character to life, “Furry Monsters 101” is the perfect opportunity!

You can find more info about upcoming classes at Puppet Showplace online. CICK HERE.