2018 National Puppetry Conference Staff

Click on a name to view a full bio.

Pam Arciero - Artistic Director

Pam Arciero

Pam Arciero is a principal puppeteer with Sesame Street and Between the Lions, performing numerous characters, most notably Grundgetta Grouch and Leona Lion, respectively. She has worked on many adult and children's programs including Lomax: The Hound of MusicBlue's Clues: Blue's Room, Chappell's Show, Allegra's Window, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, TV Funhouse, Oobi, Eureeka's Castle, and The Great Space Coaster. She has performed in many commercials and films, including commercials for Zappos, Fuze, and Angel Soft, and the films Sundance Myths, Sundance Film Festival: Extreme Measures, Little Monsters, and Follow That Bird.

As a stage director, she directed Iftah Ya Simsim - Sesame Street Saudi Arabia, Elmo's World Live, Oscar's Big Game Show, Gotta Dance, Bird's Beach Party for Sesame Place, Play with Me Sesame Live, and Disney's Wahoo Wagon at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles.

Pam directed the film Whiskey Neat, and she has also directed Between the Lions and Oobi for television. Pam has taught for the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, the University of Hawaii, Sesame Street International, the University of Connecticut, and California State University, Fresno. She holds an undergraduate degree in Drama from the University of Hawaii and a master's degree in Puppetry from the University of Connecticut.

Jean Marie Keevins - Associate Artistic Director, Scholarships Coordinator, Participant Projects Director

Jean Marie is a Brooklyn-based producer, puppet artist and writer.  She is the lead producer for James Godwin's critically acclaimed The Flatiron Hex and multi-award winning Lunatic Cunning.  Jean Marie was the Executive Producer for Heather Henson & Ty Defoe's Crane as will as Henson's International Crane Backpack Show.  Jean Marie continues to write and produce original works with her collaborators including Zwerge and the upcoming Elephant in the Room with Sahr Ngaujah for her production company, Little Shadow Productions. Prior to her long tenure as the VP of Business Development at Puppet Heap, she produced, built puppets, stage managed, and puppeteered for productions around the world and domestically at venues including Carnegie Hall and the Cherry Lane Theater. Building credits include The Muppets, Baby Einstein, The Daily Show, Avenue Q, and Funny or Die to name a few.  Jean Marie has been fortunate to receive fiscal support from the Jim Henson Foundation and the Puffin Foundation and residencies at NIDSA, ArtPark, Space on Ryder Farm, The Orchard Project, The O'Neill and more. A graduate of the UConn Puppet Arts program, she is a recurring guest lecturer at New York University. Jean Marie is former board member of the international puppetry organization, UNIMA-USA. www.littleshadowproductions.com 

Lindsey Z. Briggs - Artistic Advisor

Z_Briggsjpg.jpgLindsey “Z.” Briggs has been working as a professional puppeteer since 2004.  She has had many opportunities to perform in television, internet shorts, pilots, live theater, independent films, and beyond.  Professional credits include:  Lottie Lamb and Meesh Meesh Monkey on the two-time Emmy award winning children’s television show Seemore’s Playhouse, seasons 1 & 2; Seahorse on SkWids educational videos by Southwestern Advantage, seasons 1 & 2; Bloo & Eduardo on Cartoon Network’s Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends float, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2006-2008; Girl Puppet for Yale Child Study Center Autism Project with Cheryl Henson & Stephanie D’Abruzzo; Octopus for I Like to Move in Here, Music Video for the artist Moby; and Cherry on the new pilot for the children’s cooking show Monica’s Mixing Bowl.  Z. has worked as a puppet wrangler for Avenue Q on Broadway and season 1 of the PBS kids show It’s a Big Big World.  She studied at the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts masters program for 3 years and currently works as the Foundation Manager for the Jim Henson Foundation.  Z. lives in Astoria, Queens with her husband and 2 children, and performs live puppet theater for families throughout New York City as co-artistic director of WonderSpark Puppets.

Tyler Bunch - Performance Coach

Tyler has been working as a professional performer based in NYC for the last 24 years (living in CT since 2000.) His career has seen him in regional theater, off-Broadway, the small screen, the silver screen and now digital screens as a puppeteer, actor/singer, and voice artist (search for him on IMDB). Mr. Bunch received an Emmy for his work as creative producer on the children's literacy program Word World and was nominated for a directing Emmy for another PBS program: It's A Big, Big World. Feel free to binge his latest work on Netflix as Hugo in Julie's Greenroom and on Amazon Prime as Stosh in The Tick. A practicing and professional improviser, Tyler is thrilled to be returning to the O'Neill. "Let's find the diamonds in your coal mine ... er ... mind."

Ronnie Burkett - Guest Artist, Text Creation & Interpretation

Ronnie BurkettRecognized as one of the foremost theatre artists on the international stage, Ronnie Burkett has been credited with creating some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986 and has stimulated an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre, continuously playing to great critical and public acclaim on Canada’s major stages, and as a guest company on numerous international tours abroad.

Melissa Dunphy - Director, Musical Composition

Melissa-Dunphy.jpgBorn and raised in Australia, Melissa Dunphy is an award-winning and nationally acclaimed composer specializing in political and theatrical music. Her works include the Gonzales Cantata, featured on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, song cycle Tesla's Pigeon, and What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?, which has been performed around the country by choirs including Chanticleer and Cantus. Dunphy has also received awards from ASCAP, the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, Boston Metro Opera, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, Boston Choral Ensemble, the American Prize, the Chicago Ensemble, and the Secret Opera; commissions include pieces for Ensemble Epomeo, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Opus Anglicanum (UK), mezzo-soprano Maren Montelbano, harpist Shana Norton, Voice of this Generation, the Kennett Symphony Children’s Choir, and Piedmont Children's Choir. Dunphy has been composer-in-residence for the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra, Volti Choral Arts Lab, and the Volti Choral Institute, and is currently the composer-in-residence of the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus. She is based in Philadelphia with her husband, Matt; the Dunphys are the owners and developers of the Hannah Callowhill Stage, a new performance venue which they hope to open in 2019, and they also play together in the rock band Up Your Cherry. She is also an accomplished actor, recognized in Philadelphia as "unquestionably the city's leading Shakespeare ingénue," (Philadelphia Inquirer). In 2017, Dunphy earned a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Pennsylvania.

James Godwin - Asst. Director of Participant Projects

James Godwin is a performance and visual artist and puppeteer. He is a founding member of the Elementals puppet company and "Uncle Jimmy's Dirty Basement." His work has been presented all over NYC and beyond in such venues as P.S.122, Dixon Place, DTW, Franklin Furnace, LaMaMa, and the Walker Art Center. He was also a cast member of Henson Alternative's off-Broadway show Stuffed and Unstrung. James’s one man show Lunatic Cunning was awarded “Best in Festival” for the 2013 P of A national festival as well as the Jim Henson award for innovation in puppetry and a UNIMA citation of excellence in 2014. The Flatiron Hex” was selected as one of the stage’s best moments by the New York Times, which dubbed him “ a Thomas Pynchon of paper mache.


Alice Gottschalk - Movement Director

Alice Therese Gottschalk built her first marionette at the age of sixteen. She is now teaching as a guest professor at several Universities such as the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Stuttgart and the University of Education in Heidelberg. Alice studied many years with Professor Albrecht Roser, as well as at the acting school Ernst-Busch in Berlin, and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany where she received her Diploma for Puppetry. Alice is travelling with her own shows throughout Germany and the World. She also directs, performs and designs for other companies (i.e. the State Theatre of Stuttgart).

Phillip Huber -Marionette Master, Manipulation

Phillip_Huber_Headshot_Photo-_Frank_Wilde.jpgWorld-renowned marionette artist, is best known for his work in the 3-time Academy Award nominated film Being John Malkovich and giving life to “China Girl” for Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Phillip’s career has featured nightclub performances at: The Lido, Paris, Casino De Monte Carlo, Monaco, Magic Castle, Hollywood, Hansa Vareite Theater, Hamburg, Georgspalast Variete Theater, Hannover. His television appearances include: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Le Plus Grande Cabaret Du Monde (France), Variete (Chile). His puppetry skills have enhanced many theatrical shows: Busker Alley with Tommy Tune, That's Christmas with Sandy Duncan, Christmas with Fiends & Nabors with Jim Nabors, It’s Magic with Harry Anderson, The Road to Hollywood directed by Walter Bobby, Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty by Dan Graham. His work is in constant demand at international festivals in Japan, S. Korea, Norway, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. Phillip’s show SUSPENDED ANIMATION has appeared on more than 50 luxury cruise ships worldwide.

Kurt Hunter - Assistant to Mr. Rose

smaller_Kurt_Hunter.jpgKurt Hunter is a Minneapolis-based puppeteer best known for his innovative solo marionette work. His introduction to marionettes was a performance by Tony Urbano’s company at the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts in 1975 during a family vacation. While attending Washington University in St. Louis he performed regularly with Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes, including a television special and several performances of Peter and the Wolf with the St. Louis Symphony.

He has designed and built puppets at the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company and performed with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.  As a solo marionette artist he has performed with the Minneapolis Chamber Symphony and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. For Open Eye Figure Theatre he has constructed marionettes for A Prelude to Faust and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and was a featured performer in three “Toy Theatre After Dark” festivals. He has studied with marionette masters Phillip Huber and Albrecht Roser. He is a frequent workshop leader in marionette construction and performance. In 2008 he received an UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in Puppetry for Sock Puppet Serenade.

Ulysses Jones - Master Craftsman

Ulysses JonesUlysses Jones is a puppet designer and performer.  He is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut’s Puppet arts program teaching movement based performance.  He has designed and built puppets and costumes for Thomas and Friends Live: Thomas to the Rescue and Thomas and Friends Live! On Stage as well as Broadway’s Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark and Gypsy.  He has built puppets and props for Avenue Q, Go Diego Go!, and Wicked, as well as The Jim Henson Company.  His performances have been seen on stage throughout the world in How to Train Your Dragon: Live Spectacular, Walking with Dinosaurs: the Arena Spectacular, andthe 2014 Sochi Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, on television in A New York Christmas to Remember, CSI, regional and national commercials, on screen in the film Bunraku, and in smaller productions at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sandglass Theater, and Connecticut Repertory Theater.  Ulysses lives in the woods of Connecticut with his wife and son and their steadily declining number of chickens.

Martin Kettling - Director, Writing


Martin Kettling is currently the General Manager at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. In 2010, Martin was part of the team at The O'Neill which was awarded the Special Tony Award for Regional Theatre. His work there included literary management, dramaturgy, teaching and Google Apps Script developer. As a dramaturg, he has worked on new plays with Rachel Axler, Rebecca Gilman, Lauren Gunderson, Jennifer Haley, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Gregory Moss, Ursula Rani-Sarma, and Anne Washburn.  He has also supported the development of work by Julia Cho, Nilo Cruz, Jason Grote, and Jeff Whitty. At Arena Stage in Washington, DC, he assisted the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, and served as writer’s assistant to Moisés Kaufman on 33 Variations. Credits in puppetry include working as dramaturg for Leslie Cararra-Rudolph, and presenting his trunk show Air Piracy in Steppenwolf’s Garage . Martin has worked internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the International Chekhov Festival in Moscow, the University of Passau, Germany, and helped found the Baltic Playwrights Conference.   He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and serves as an emeritus member of the Board of Directors for The Ruckus Theater in Chicago.

Jim Kroupa - Mechanisms Master (Pre-Conference)

Jim KroupaPuppeteer, Director, and Master Puppet Builder - Jim’s puppeteering skills brought him to the attention of Jim Henson, who engaged him to perform on Sesame Street, Little Muppet Monsters, the Muppet Meeting films, and assorted Muppet specials. Jim has also puppeteered extensively on Between the Lions, Bear and the Big Blue House, Book of Pooh, Johnny and the Sprites for the Disney channel, No Strings International, and the new PBS series Time Machine Guitar. His talents as a performer/puppet coordinator have brought to life an impressive list of commercials, such as the Wise Potato Chip owl, Ken-L-Ration Smorgasburger dog food, Post Crispy Critters cereal, Christmas spots for Bloomingdales, Hess Oil, Pepsi, and he now once again animates the bear for Snuggle Fabric Softener. As a partner in 3/Design Studio, Jim designs and builds puppets and specializes in creating mechanisms and special effects for such commercials as the invisible man for Mirinda, angel wings for Coronet’s Angel Soft Bath Tissue, and effects for features such as Little Monsters and Woody Allen’s Alice. He recently rebuilt many of the mechanisms and characters for Disney’s Muppets. As 3/Design’s principal performer/puppet director, Jim performs many of the characters, and was Batly on Eureeka’s Castle. 

Tim Lagasse - Video Anarchy Master (Pre-Conference)

Puppet Artist Tim Lagasse, who most recently worked on ABC’s The Muppets, and starred as Crash on Disney XD’s Crash and Bernstein, has been entertaining audiences with his unusual skill sets for almost 30 years.

Lagasse designed and fabricated the puppets for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Room and was a featured performer and director on PBS’ It’s a Big Big World!, Disney’s Johnny and the Sprites, and Nick Jr’s Oobi, among others. His creation of a series of short puppet films for the award-winning PBS children’s series Between the Lions garnered him three Daytime Emmy nominations. Last year he was lucky enough to be a senior fabricator on “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” for the Jim Henson Company

A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BFA in Puppet Arts, Tim was the first student to receive the Jim Henson Memorial Prize in Puppetry. He has also received a Broadcast Design Silver Award and a Union International de la Marionette Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry.

For more, visit www.timlagasse.com

Jonathan Little - Master Craftsman

Jonathan LittleJonathan Little is the owner of Boston based puppet company Little's Creatures.  He performed and built puppets for Kaiju Big Battle for 8 years in which he performed at venues up and down the east coast for thousands of fans. Jonathan also worked on three nationally distributed Kaiju Big Battle DVDs produced by Redline Entertainment. In addition to performing Jonathan is also skilled in the fine arts having graduated from The School of the Museum of  Fine Arts in Boston having studied sculpture, woodworking, film, video, drawing, and painting. Currently with his company Little's Creatures,  Jonathan has worked on TV pilots( The Curious Kitchen), Web Pilots( Tuck and Snippit for Threadbanger),  Time Machine Guitar web series, Speakeasy Stage Boston (Hand to God), Lyric Stage (Avenue Q), and built puppets for individuals and companies both in the United States and Internationally. He is also currently a teaching artist at The Puppet Showplace in Brookline, MA.

Iliya Magalnyk (Guest Artist)

Iliya MagalnykAccordion artist, composer, arranger and producer. Iliya Magalnyk was born in Moldova, where he received his education and started his career as a professional musician. In 1990 Ilya Immigrated to Israel and soon after became a prominent figure in the Israeli music world. For the past three decades he has been performing with many of the leading musicians in Israel, as well as renowned artists abroad.

Founder and musical manager of the “Magalnyk Klezmer Band”, an ensemble that has been performing for over 20 years, winning much acclaim in Israel and Europe.

As both accordionist, arranger and composer, Ilya has taken part in many plays for Israel’s leading theaters (Habima, the Cameri Theater, the Haifa Theater and the Han Theater), including working in collaboration with the Israeli Playwright Hanoch Levin.

In addition to the stage, Iliya has a long and substantial career in Radio TV and Film, from artistic musical documentaries to prime time appearances.. Ilya uses the accordion to combine different music styles, such as classical music, Klezmer, Yiddishkeit, French chansons, contemporary music, and Jazz, among others. He is known and celebrated for his original compositions, bold adaptation of classic repertoire, and exceptional virtuosity of his playing.

Jane Martineau - Director, Resident Company

Jane Martineau HeadshotBorn and raised in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Jane’s love of the theater started at an early age, but really took off when she went to college and performed in West Side Story and starred in Elizabeth the Queen. It wasn’t until she found her home in southeastern Connecticut that she discovered her love for teaching theater and the fine arts. Jane has appeared with Flock Theatre of New London as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Lady Macbeth, Leonata in Much Ado About Nothing, Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew, and as Ariel (voice and puppeteer) in The Tempest. She has written the book and co-written the lyrics for an original musical, On The Wire. Since 1979 Jane has been the Director of Theatre at The Williams School (a college preparatory school established in 1891) in New London, Connecticut since 1979. She was the recipient of The Williams School Outstanding Teacher Award in 2009. Theater and teaching are her passions. As a teacher, she incorporates the Sanford Meisner techniques, the movement and voice work of Arthur Lessac, improvisation based on the work of Del Close and Charna Halpern, shadow, tabletop and found object puppetry, and rapier and dagger.  Jane has worked at the National Puppetry Conference for eight years and is thrilled to return as the Resident Company Manager for a fourth year.

Bobbi Nidzgorski - Adjunct Artistic Advisor

Bobbi Nidzgorski was the first graduate of The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts MFA degree program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and Connecticut College in 1987. Her solo thesis production, Earth Peace, has since been performed at The New England Theatre Conference, The Wadsworth Athenaeum Avery Theatre, The Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Puppetry Festival, the Drama Studio in Springfield, MA, the 1989 National Festival of the Puppeteers of America, and throughout the east coast. She has been the Artist-in-Residence for the Southern Tier Institute, where she performed throughout the Binghamton, NY School System. Bobbi studied in Charleville-Mézières, France for six weeks under Larry Reed and Andre Tahon. In addition, she was on staff with the O’Neill Puppetry Conference for 21 years.

Bobbi also performs Earth Peace, Essence, and short puppet slam animal vignettes. Additionally, she conducts classroom and teacher workshops, performances, and demonstrations in various forms of puppetry including Mask Making, Shadow Theatre, Rod Puppets, and Marionettes

Yael Rasooly (Guest Artist)

Yael RasoolyDirector, Puppeteer, Actress and singer Yael is one of Israel’s leading independent performing artists. Since 2006, her theatrical and musical performances have performed in over 30 countries in some of the world’s most prestigious theater and puppetry festivals throughout Europe, the United States, South America and the Far East.

Yael was primarily trained as a classical singer and went on to study theatre design in London. She began developing her unique theatrical language at the School of Visual Theatre in Jerusalem, where she specialized in directing, puppetry and design. Yael’s theatrical language is based on a multidisciplinary approach, combining different forms of theatre, puppetry, visual art and music.

Yael’s solo performance PAPER CUT, is currently on an extensive tour around the globe. The show has won numerous international awards, including the Award for Best Artistic Conception and REALIZATION AT THE INTERNATIONAL ADULT PUPPET FESTIVAL OF PECS, HUNGARY (2010), diploma of distinction from UNIMA, the WORLD PUPPETRY ORGANIZATION (2010); GRAND PRIX AWARD AT THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL FOR SOLO PUPPETEERS IN LODZ, POLAND (2011); and EXCELLENCE AWARD FOR A SOLO SHOW AT THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL (2011).

Yael has also created THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE, a musical cabaret for actresses, dolls and objects, depicting the story of three sisters in hiding during World War II. The international premiere was held in 2012 at Théâtre de la Cité, Paris, at the Festival Scènes ouvertes à l’insolite. The show continues to receive raving acclaim from audiences, and future invitations for touring.

Yael’s solo production HOW LOVELY has performed in festivals such as the International Festival for Puppets in Charleville-Mézières (2009), the Avignon IN Festival and many more. Yael regularly Collaborates with international companies and artists in Europe, primarily in France. In 2015 she was invited to create a new show by Onze Festival performing alongside one of France’s most highly esteemed groups LA MACHINE touring in 11 locations across France.

In 2017 Yael has created and directed an International co-production with Estonia’s national NUKU theater, based on works of internationally acclaimed author Etgar Keret. The show “BON VOYAGE and other Lies” premiered at the 2017 at the Festival Mondial de la Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières. This was Yael’s 4th attendance as a performer in this festival, which is considered the leading international festival in the field of puppetry and visual theater.

Alongside her theatrical work, Yael has an international singing career. Her varied repertoire ranges from medieval and classical music to jazz, from small intimate performances to audiences reaching thousands. Since 2011 Yael has been touring her GRAMOPHONE SHOW, a musical performance of eloquence talent and spice, taking the audience back to the songs of the 1920s to 1940s.

Yael is also active in several ensembles in Israel and France. In 2016 she created THE YAEL RASOOLY TRIO, along with Accordeonist Iliya Magalnyk, which is currently touring worldwide, alongside five of her theater productions.

Martin P. Robinson- Video Anarchy Master (Pre-Conference)

Martin P. Robinson has been a professional puppeteer since discovering that it was the perfect link between acting and sculpture. A 1974 graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he has worked for Nicolo Marionettes, Addis Williams, Bob Brown, Paul Ashley, Bil Baird, Jim Henson, and for five seasons of Spitting Image in England. As a puppeteer on Sesame Street since 1981 he has won Emmys for his characters Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, Slimey the Worm, and those Yip-yip Martians. During his spare time he performed the Cat in the Hat on the Nickelodeon series The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. His company, Hairy Edge Productions, has designed/performed Allegra’s Window and Blue’s Room on Nickelodeon and Oobi on Noggin. Teaching has become an important aspect of his professional life as the puppet coordinator for Sesame International, hiring and training puppeteers for productions worldwide. Film credits include Follow That Bird, Muppets Take Manhattan, Elmo in Grouchland, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Producers. In 1982, Martin designed, built, and performed the plant in the original off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors for which he received a Drama Desk and an LA Drama Critics Award...also for the 2002 Broadway revival. Martin also designed for the production of Frogs at Lincoln Center, and two productions with orchestra for Carnegie Hall. He is a charter staff member of the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, and has been a guest artist a number of times.

More at martinprobinson.com

Bart Roccoberton - Director of Production

Bart-Roccoberton.jpgBart Roccoberton has worked as professional puppet artist since 1972.

For more than 40 years he has toured popular puppet performances to schools, libraries, colleges, theatres and museums from Washington DC to Montreal with his own troupe, The Pandemonium Puppet Company, and with students from the University of Connecticut and The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts.

As Founder and Director of The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (1984-1990), he became recognized, internationally, as one of the leading advocates for the Puppet Arts in the U.S and abroad. In 1996, Mr. Roccoberton was sent by the U.S. Information Agency as an American Cultural Specialist to work with professional puppet companies in Beijing, Fujian, Yang Zhou, Guang Zhou and Xi’an. He has been sent as a U.S. delegate to the International Congresses in Llubljana, Slovenia, Budapest, Hungary, Magdaburg, Germany and Rijecka, Croatia. He has also served as a counselor for the Professional Training Commission of the Union Internationale de la Marionenette centered in Charleville-Mezieres, France.

In August of 2015, Roccoberton served as Director of the National Puppetry Festival of the Puppeteers of America, which was held at the University of Connecticut. Since 1990, he has been Director of the Puppet Arts Program and Professor of Dramatic Arts in Puppetry at the University of Connecticut, and is a founding member of the O’Neill’s National Puppetry Conference where he currently serves as Director of Production. Roccoberton has a BA from Montclair State College in Speech/Technical Theatre and an MFA from The University of Connecticut in Puppet Arts.

Jim Rose - Marionette Master, Construction

Jim_Rose.jpgJim Rose, son of Rufus and Margo Rose, first performed with marionettes in 1943 in the Rose production of Rip Van Winkle.  He has performed with his own hand puppets since 1947, when he saw Burr Tillstrom's Puppeteers of America Festival performance of Kukla and Ollie in St. George and the Dragon.  Jim worked with his parents and with Martin and Olga Stevens on several film and TV productions including the WGN-TV Peabody Award-winning The Blue Fairy, and the Stevens-Rose film The Toymaker.  He graduated from Antioch College in 1956. While a student there, he appeared in over 40 plays of which 14 were by William Shakespeare. At the Yale School of Drama where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1963, he created puppets for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and for adaptations of two of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  Mr. Rose taught Drama, Art and English in high schools in Chicago and in Connecticut from 1956 until 1960. He taught for two years in the Theater Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and for 19 years at Antioch College. He has also led numerous workshops at Puppeteers of America Festivals and has taught in the Rose Marionette Workshop at the National Puppetry Conference, held at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Since 1982, Mr. Rose has presented his traditional puppets in annual 18th century fairs in The Fair at New Boston near Springfield, Ohio, at The Faire at the Forks in Chatham, Ontario, at the Trail of History in McHenry County, Illinois, and at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Virginia.

Richard Termine - Co-Director, Emerging Artists

Richard TermineRichard Termine attended the University of Connecticut and completed his M.F.A. in Puppetry in 1978 with a staging of de Ghelderode's The Death of Dr. Faust.  In 1980 he began his association with The Jim Henson Company as a puppet designer and builder for a variety of Muppet productions. For Sesame Street he designed and built the characters of Placido Flamingo and Wolfgang the Seal; his design work on the show was honored with an Emmy Award in 1987. As director and teacher, he taught with Jim Henson at the International Institute of Puppetry in Charleville-Mezieres, France in the summer of 1987, and has been featured as an artist-in-residence at various colleges including the University of Maryland, California State University Summer Arts and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Termine also served as the Associate Director of the Jim Henson Legacy Foundation for three years, producing an educational video series entitled Muppet Stuff, The Annotated Work of Jim Henson.  Since 1987 he has served as a trustee of The Jim Henson Foundation and is currently its vice-president.

From 1992 to 2001, Richard Termine was the Artistic Director of the O'Neill Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Richard's own puppet productions have been presented in New York at HERE, at Arts at St. Ann's and at The International Festival of Puppet Theater. His production of Nikolai Gogol's
Diary of a Madman, developed at the O'Neill, was presented at the 2000 New York International Fringe Festival and was featured at the 2001 Puppeteers of America Festival in Tampa, Florida. This production received a UNIMA Citation for Excellence in 2002. Since 2002 Richard has coordinated the Emerging Artists Projects at the National Puppetry Conference and in 2010 co-directed (with fellow O’Neill Artists Marianne Kubick and Lenny Pinna) the O'Neill 20 Year Remix a performance piece celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Puppetry Conference.

While working on the set of
Sesame Street in the mid-1980s, Termine began photographing behind the scenes. This work led to a new career as a performing arts photographer. He has photographed many of the world’s leading performers and puppet artists. Currently, Richard is a photographer for the culture desk of The New York Times. His other clients include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera and The Brooklyn Academy of Music. His photography has seen in numerous publications including Time, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, American Theatre, and is featured in the book Sesame Street: A 40 Year Celebration. He has been the in house photographer for Sesame Street since 1988. An exhibition of his work Puppets Through the Lens: The Photography of Richard Termine is currently touring the US and includes a number of National Puppetry Conference images.

Derron Wood - Co-Director, Emerging Artists

Derron WoodDERRON WOOD is a graduate of Connecticut College, he has also trained with the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and attended the Leningrad State Institute of Music, Theatre and Cinematography in Leningrad as part of the National Theater Institute's Russian program. From 1986 to 1989 he studied Shakespeare under Morris Carnovsky at Connecticut College and the National Theater Institute. During the past twenty years he has directed numerous productions in and around New England, including shows at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and Off-Broadway. An early production, Home Street Home, at the Boston Center for the Arts' Cyclorama Theatre focused Derron's attention on the unique ability of puppet theatre to document experience, and communicate with the audience. As he said at the time, “We use puppets and merge personalities into another world to create different conflicts and characters.” As he continued to work with actors and puppets in various theatrical vehicles he became more and more committed to the use of all types of puppets as a means of communicating with the audience. Exploring the boundaries between actors and puppets -- finding that magic moment of communication between actor and audience -- communicating classic complexities of the human condition in ways a contemporary audience can understand -- and ultimately to enhance understanding -- is the goal of Derrons' work with Flock Theatre.

Derron is the Director for the Chorus of Westerly's 12th Night celebration, reviewed as one of the greatest 12th Night celebrations in the world. This unique production integrates 100 stage performers with the 200 member chorus of Westerly, mixing in Giant Puppets, professional Opera singers, with Professional Actors to create a truly unique form of theatre. As the principal director of Flock Theatre's Shakespeare in the Arboretum festival he has directed Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest. His use of puppets in The Tempest enhanced the audiences' enjoyment through highlighting the fun and humor often lost in modern Shakespearean productions. It also allowed the audience to participate in the magic of Ariel in a wholly new way. Derron has been a Connecticut's Master Teaching Artist since 1995, awarded by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Michael Paul Ziegfeld (Guest Artist)

A 28 year comedy career, MICHAEL PAUL honed his craft touring with such names as James Brown, Lisa Lampanelli, Wynonna Judd, Joan Rivers and Don Rickles to become a headliner in over 40 countries with television credits on The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. Notable film credits include co-starring opposite Winona Ryder and Paul Rudd in “The Ten” and Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses”. Michael has lent hands & voice to Pixar, Jim Henson Productions and Disney, creating & performing branded puppet characters including, “Nadia Coma: The World’s Oldest Gymnast” and MTV’s “CJ and Peanut” as well as training casts of The Lion King andAvenue Q.  Script consultant/director for ABC, CBS, American Idol and jokes for David Letterman, Bill Maher, Chelsea Handler and the Comedy Central Roasts.  A published author in USA Today, Huffington Post and his all-star book “Breaking Out of Show Business” (by Post Hill Publishing), Michael resides in Los Angeles and continues to work in movies, television and as a comedy writer & script and show consultant.