“The National Puppetry Conference has always been an evolving and growing forum. As we begin our 31st season, we are looking forward to again seeing new and innovative works of Puppetry take shape from homes across the globe. Join us daily for international master classes and don't miss the beloved Pub open-mic nights!”
- Pam Arciero, Artistic Director
We are delighted to offer the opportunity to watch 5 Master Classes from the 2021 National Puppetry Conference On-Demand. These recordings will be available for viewing until the end of the month.
MONDAY, JUNE 7
Kathryn Mullen | USA/Bermuda
Kathy will talk about her experiences creating informational and educational puppet videos for children around the world. She will discuss why puppets are a good choice for getting across important messages to kids in dire and scary situations and how the non-profit puppet production company, No Strings (of which she is a co-founder) goes about creating films.
Kathryn is the co-founder and Artistic Director of No Strings Productions. No Strings is a not-for-profit organization that
makes puppet videos that address important issues concerning at-risk children worldwide.
Kathryn started her career as a puppeteer. She joined Jim Henson’s Muppets in 1980 and was featured in many Muppet productions including The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Labyrinth, numerous Muppet Specials, Little Muppet Monsters, The Christmas Toy and Sesame Street. She performed the heroine, Kira, in the Henson fantasy film, The Dark Crystal and played Mokey Fraggle and Cotterpin Doozer on the HBO series Fraggle Rock. Later she played the title role in the Nickelodeon series Allegra’s Window and helped to create and produce the PBS literacy series Between the Lions. These days Kathryn mostly produces, writes and directs for No Strings, but she will still put her hand into a puppet if that extra hand is needed.
TUESDAY, JUNE 8
Ping Chong | USA
Ping Chong was born in Toronto in 1946 and raised in the Chinatown section of New York City. He studied filmmaking and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts and the Pratt Institute. Ping Chong began his theatrical career as a member of Meredith Monk's The House Foundation. He collaborated with her on several major works including The Travelogue Series and The Games, for which they shared the Outstanding Achievement in Music Theatre Award in 1986.
In 1972, Ping Chong gathered a group of artists at Meredith Monk’s loft in New York City to create Lazarus, his first independent theatre work. Since then, he has created over 100 major works for the stage. Over the years, he has expanded the range of his explorations to include video and visual arts installations. A National Medal of the Arts recipient, Ping Chong is recognized as one of our country's most significant multidisciplinary artists.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9
Mervyn Millar | England
Mervyn Millar is a director and puppet designer, and director of Significant Object. He was part of the original creative team of the National Theatre’s War Horse, also appearing at the NT and directing casts in London, New York, Toronto and Berlin. His work with puppets includes Aïda (Opera National de Paris); Circus 1903 (Southbank Centre, international tour); As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors and Great Expectations (Royal Shakespeare Company); Appreciate (Paul McCartney); Fox-Tot! (Scottish Opera); Die Walküre, Siegfried (Opera National du Rhin); The Thief of Baghdad (Royal Opera House); Stiller (Residenz Munich); Crow (Handspring UK), and work for the National Theatre, Burgtheater Vienna, Schauspielhaus Zürich, NT Scotland, and the Royal Court. Forthcoming this year: The Hatchling and The Magician's Elephant (RSC).
His books include Puppetry: How to Do It, The Horse’s Mouth, and The Journey of The Tall Horse. Awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2010 for his work in puppetry. In 2017 he had the pleasure of leading a workshop at the O'Neill's National Puppetry Conference, and has also taught at many UK drama schools and universities as well as the Curious School of Puppetry.
THURSDAY, JUNE 10
François Delarozière | La Machine, France
Born in Marseille in 1963, François Delarozière chooses the path of fine arts following five years of agricultural studies, taking full advantage of these years to explore all techniques associated with visual arts. In 1983 in Aix en Provence, he meets the company Royal de Luxe with whom he embarks upon a long companionship focused on street theatre. Most notably, he designs and leads the construction of The Giant, The Rhinoceros, The Little Giant, The Giraffes and The Little Girl Giant. In 1999, he creates La Machine, a non-profit organization, constructing theatre sets, carousels for children and machines for productions. As artistic director of the company, François Delarozière ceaselessly explores the art of moving machines and their capacity to arouse emotion in the spectator. In this respect, his approach to street theatre is more visual design than narrative.
François Delarozière is also a scenographer and director. As such, he started the Le Grand Répertoire-Machines de Spectacle, an exhibition-show presented between 2003 and 2006 in Nantes, Calais, Toulouse, Anvers, Marseilles and Paris and which attracted more than 700,000 spectators. In 2003 he creates La Symphonie Mécanique, combining the world of classical music and mechanical sounds. This philarmotechnical piece was co-written with Mino Malan. In 2008, Les Mécaniques Savantes are presented as a world-wide exclusive for Liverpool, European Capital of Culture. This mechanical bestiary is also presented the following year in Japan for the 150th anniversary of the opening of the port of Yokohama. In 2010, a new production Le Dîner des petites Mécaniques is created, showing a new way to prepare and present food, whilst the Expédition Végétale and its team of botanists take flight. His latest creation, “Long Ma Jing Shen”, stages a Dragon-Horse created for the 50th anniversary of Franco-Chinese diplomatic relations in Beijing in 2015.
FRIDAY, JUNE 11
Chia-yin Cheng | Lìzé Puppet Art Colony, Taiwan
A Life Led By Puppets
How Cheng become a puppeteer. A brief introduction of features of the Puppet & Its Double Theater, its belief and art. How the company works in an unconventional way to create new work and current productions and international collaborations.
After Cheng got her master degree in puppet arts at UConn, she co-founded the Puppet & Its Double Theatre, the first contemporary puppet company in Taiwan in 1999. Cheng has devoted herself to show audience the exquisiteness of the puppets, and kept breaking the boundary of this puppet arts. Her works are well known of their wide range of themes and extinguished by their poetic quality. Many of her directing works have won or made to the final list of Art Awards and have been presented in 15 countries.
Cheng has followed several puppet masters including Albrecht Roser (Germany), Richard Bradshaw (Australia), Larry Reed (USA), Philippe Genty (France), and Eric Bass (USA) in the international master classes. She is keen to pass on the legacy she got from those masters (include her professor, Bart P. Roccoberton) by giving training course and holding international exchange programs. In 2013, Cheng started an ambitious project to set up the “Lìzé Puppet Art Colony”in Yi-lan. Renovated from the old rice barns, Lìzé Puppet Art Colony is equipped with performing studios, craft shops, exhibition hall, and artist residency. It was opened in February 2017, constantly holding festivals and artist in residence program to serve as the international laboratory for puppet arts.
Puppets in the Pub hosted by Tyler Bunch and Jonathan Little came back for another season! We hope you had a chance to experience our virtual take on the beloved Puppetry Open Mics.
Monday, June 7, held online 9-10pm
Wednesday, June 9, held online 9-10pm
Friday, June 11, held online 10-11pm
making manual cinema - manual cinema
string theory - nehprii amenii
marionette construction - kurt hunter teaches the techniques of marionette master jim rose
Kurt 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. Recently he has directed productions by Seth Eberle and Z Puppets Rosenschnoz. He has rigged and performed with marionettes for commercials for the Mall of America, Target and Disney/Pixar. Kurt 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. In 2018 he was awarded a Family Grant from the Jim Henson Foundation for development of his solo production “Penguin in my Pocket.”
the solo show challenge - jean marie keevins & guest mentors
Growing out of its success in 2020, this new strand builds upon the beloved Participant Project process. The Solo Show Challenge has been created to support artists as they devise original solo puppet works. With the support of experienced mentors, participants will work on the development and performance of a pre-existing or brand-new piece of puppet theatre. Projects developed through this intensive process have gone on tobecome nationally-recognized full-length shows, cabaret acts, pitches for television, classroom performances, and everything in-between. Participants are encouraged to Risk. Fail. Risk Again. in this supportive environment.
creating music at home for puppetry projects - melissa & matt dunphy
Melissa and Matt collaborate together in their band Up Your Cherry, and as co-hosts of the archaeology podcast the Boghouse. They are the owners and developers of the Hannah Callowhill Stage, a new performance venue in Old City Philadelphia that they hope to launch in 2022.
the language of material and objects: movement and experimental puppetry - alice gottschalk
Participants should bring curiosity, the joy of movement, a favorite poem, different materials, objects (a more specific list will follow), and the ability to video recording their discoveries and sharing them with others.