About the National Puppetry Conference

The O’Neill's National Puppetry Conference was established by key founding members Jane Henson, George Latshaw, Richard Termine, Bobbie Nidzgorski, Bart P. Roccoberton Jr., and Jim and Margo Rose. The mission of the Conference is to encourage puppet artists to create and communicate through the visual and kinetic form of the puppet, to push beyond their personal boundaries, and develop new works for Puppet Theater. Participants collaborate with renowned guest directors, puppet artists, and playwrights to develop innovative productions conceived by guest artists, as well as presentations initiated by the Conference participants. 

For eight days each summer, puppet artists have the opportunity to explore various performance styles through rehearsals and workshops on writing, music, “puppet anarchy,” and marionettes. The Conference culminates with two public performances, featuring new works which explore the extraordinary range and power of the puppet. 

Past conference participants have gone on to work in such puppetry venues as HERE Arts Center (New York City), Dixon Place (New York City), La Mama (New York City), The Red Moon Theater (Chicago), The Puppet Showplace (Brookline, Massachusetts), The Sandglass Theatre (Vermont), Trouble Puppet (Austin), The Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta), Zeum (San Francisco), and Automata Theater (Los Angeles) and more.  Their work has also been seen in commercials, and in films such as Being John Malkovich, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and The Muppets, and on television including “Sesame Street,” “Between the Lions,” and “Bear in the Big Blue House,” and many others. 

On the global stage, our puppeteers have gone on to produce and perform in shows in Afghanistan, Iran, Australia, Scotland, India, Uganda and China, to name a few.

The National Puppetry Conference is dedicated to the legacies of Bill Baird, Jim Henson, Rufus and Margo Rose, Don Sahlin, Martin Stevens, Burr Tillstrom, Brad Williams, Nikki Tilroe, and George Latshaw in the spirit with which they shared their artistry and themselves.