National Puppetry Conference -
**The 2015 National Puppetry Conference is no longer accepting applications. Thanks to all who applied!
The O'Neill will begin accepting applications for the 2016 conference in early 2016. If you are interested in applying, please look over the materials on these pages and sign up to receive email updates about the National Puppetry Conference. As soon as we post our 2016 application, you will be the first to know.
Please look at the 2015 Conference program as well as the different roles listed below. Most roles allow you to apply for both the pre-conference and the main conference, or you may apply to each individually.
Only complete applications will be considered, which include 1) an application form, 2) supporting materials (requirements differ by strand; see preplists below), and 3) application fee of $35.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860.443.5378 x227
Deciding on Your Role in the Conference
Below are the many different roles available to our applicants. Please click on each role to learn more and access its distinct programming and application.
Please note: The application materials below reflect the 2015 application process and are for reference purposes only.
If this is your first time applying to the conference, we recommend this role for you. This role is also appropriate for returning participants and advanced artists, as each year is challenging and inspiring in different ways. We are open to artists in all fields: you needn't have any experience in puppetry, simply the desire to learn. In this role, you will work with our guest artists in one of many strands. View the strands available to you by going to the 2015 Conference page. You will also have access to master classes and be able to support/create your own and/or someone else’s participant project which is a 2 -5 min puppetry piece.
The role of Participant is part of the main conference as well as the pre-conference intensive. You may apply to the main conference, the pre-conference, or both. The eight day main conference cost is $1,000 USD and includes tuition, room, and board. The cost of the three day pre-conference intensive is $500 USD and includes tuition, room, and board. There is a $75.00 discount if you attend both programs for a total of $1,425 USD.
Playwriting, especially where puppets are involved, is not an easy task. Nor should it be. A play is a delicately constructed world, newly born. Each day, we will create worlds using exercises designed to take away the need for divine inspiration, and replace it with concentrated effort. The rules of these worlds are unknowns and must be tested. As both creator and cosmologists of your own baby universe, you will delve deeply into terra incognita and explore. We will attempt to understand what it is that makes drama effective and affecting. We will attempt to apply this new knowledge into the creation of live performance with puppets.
This class is appropriate for those who are looking to develop existing stories, ONLY if they are willing to abandon all the work they have done on the story to date. This is not a workshop to make your current project better; rather, it is an effort to give you the skills that will help your story in the future. That said, there will be ample writing time and assignments that a writer with an existing project may find it a proper development opportunity. That is, if they have the guts.
Those puppeteers looking to investigate playwriting for the first time will find this a welcoming and productive introduction, as will those playwrights looking to incorporate the use of puppets in their drama
The eight day main conference cost is $1,000 USD and includes tuition, room, and board. If you wish to also attend the pre-conference intensive, your cost for those three days is an additional $500 USD, which includes tuition, room, and board. There is a $75.00 discount if you attend both programs for a total of $1,425 USD.
The Emerging Artists Strand identifies participants during each conference who appear to be at a critical juncture in their careers as puppet artists; a place in their lives where working intensely on a particular project or aspect of their work could lead to important breakthroughs. Those artists may apply to the program, describing in detail what their work during the conference is likely to be and how they will work with mentors in writing and directing, as well as other artists from the Conference staff as needed, to achieve their project goals. The Emerging Artists are given the option of showing the results of their work during the public performances that conclude the conference. Emerging Artists will be under the guidance of Richard Termine and Derron Wood.
Emerging Artists are encouraged to attend the pre-conference in addition to the main conference. If accepted as an Emerging Artist, you will be awarded a scholarship reducing your fee to $750.00 USD total for both the pre-conference and the main conference.
This role is for those who have attended the National Puppetry Conference previously. Your focus for the main conference will be supporting the work of the Emerging Artists and the Artist in Residence to develop their projects by working under their direction for the majority of the conference day. Resident Company Members will also be allowed create Participant Projects in the evening. While this role takes place during the main conference, you may also attend the pre-conference. Resident Company Members will be under the guidance of Jane Martineau.
Resident Company Members are not charged for tuition for the main conference, simply housing and meals at $500 USD. If you wish to also attend the preconference intensive, your cost for those three days is an additional $500 USD, which includes tuition, room, and board. There is a $75.00 discount if you attend both programs, for a total of $925 USD.
A Music Participant is given the unique opportunity to collaborate with puppetry artists as they create new works for the stage. As a music participant you will work with the artists and directors to help tell their story with music. You will be challenged with evoking the mood of scenes and characters from multiple pieces, ranging from playful to dark and haunted themes. Ideal candidates are composers with a strong performance and improvisation background and familiarity with or willingness to experiment with different styles and genres of music.
What can you expect? Your schedule will change as you and the puppeteers prepare for two public performances at the end of the week, fully comprised of original work created at the conference. Roughly, each day you can expect about three to five hours directly collaborating with ensembles, three to five hours of private composition, and an hour or two in workshops and masterclasses. You may optionally end each day mingling and networking at the campus bar where participants entertain each other in boisterous nightly puppet slams.
Compositionally, you may optionally write for or collaborate with the other music participants to create rich scores for live performance. Although the emphasis will be on live music, you will also find opportunities to pre-record work, especially when using electronic music elements.
Music participants will be mentored by composer/performer Melissa Dunphy. You will also receive mentoring from the puppetry directors, including individuals who’ve performed the Jim Henson Company, and performed on stages across the world.
This role is part of the main conference, but you also may apply for the pre-conference. Please note that involvement in the pre-conference intensives may be subject to qualifications of the applicant.
Music Participants are not charged tuition for the main conference, simply housing and meals at $500 USD. If you wish to also attend the preconference intensive, your cost for those three days is an additional $500 USD, which includes tuition, room, and board. There is a $75.00 discount if you attend both programs for a total of $925 USD. There is also a Music Participant Scholarship for which you may apply.
This role is for the more experienced puppeteer, though previous attendance is not required. This role will allow you to focus on the development on an area of your choice, be it aesthetic, career, a specific problem in a piece, or to rehearse a part of a piece in progress. You may bring your own cast, for a fee of $750.00 per performer. This entitles them to all of the conference's activities and workshops as applicable, as well as housing and meals. You may also use the Resident Company Members. Past Artists in Residence include: Ronald Binion, Marc Weiner, Bonnie Remsberg, Richard Termine, Heather Henson, Jane Henson, Ulysses Jones & Megan McNerney, Scott Hitz, and WonderSpark Puppets.
Artists in Residence are part of the main conference.
Please Note: This strand is by invitation only.
Thank you for your interest!
Please contact the literary office with any questions or concerns throughout the process. We devote much of our year to this process and are always happy to speak with puppeteers.
**Reach us by phone at 860.443.5378 ext.227 & by email at email@example.com.