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Pre Conference : May 29–June 2

June 2–June 11


““We welcome artists from around the globe to explore the range and power of the puppet. During their time on campus, guest artists, participants and artists-in-residence will create an extraordinary mix of devised work, allowing their voices and stories to be told in the fantastic medium of puppetry.”

- Pam Arciero, Artistic Director

Each June, puppeteers gather from across the globe to create works that defy the bounds of contemporary theater and the imagination at the National Puppetry Conference. Participants collaborate with renowned directors, puppet artists, and playwrights to develop innovative productions conceived by guest artists, as well as presentations initiated by the Conference participants. The National Puppetry Conference encourages artists to create and communicate through the visual and kinetic form of the puppet, to push beyond preconceived boundaries, and develop new innovative works of  puppet theater. 



Dina Merrill Theater and Rose Barn Theater

Puppetry Performance

The Conference concludes in the beautiful Dina Merrill Theater and Rose Barn Theater with two public performances of an extraordinary mix of devised work from throughout the Conference, featuring guest artists, artists-in-residence, and a vast array of performance styles.


Tickets for Members go on Sale May 15, Tickets for Non-Members go on sale May 22

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

MONDAY JUNE 5 | 1:30 to 2:30PM EST


Five-time Emmy nominee Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is a multi-faceted entertainer, puppeteer, visual and voice-over artist, writer, and producer who grew up creating characters. She is best known for performing Abby Cadabby and Elmo’s dog, Tango, on Sesame Street. A graduate of San Francisco State University where she designed her major, BA, Child Development Through the Arts, Leslie created and implemented programs for kids at risk before getting her start as a puppeteer on ABC's Muppets Tonight. She’s starred in a variety of shows on PBS, Nickelodeon, Apple TV, Netflix, and in the feature film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Leslie designed and performed an original show for Disney, a, sold out NYC cabaret residency, and her off Broadway musical Wake Up Your Weird, which she developed at the Ojai Playwright’s Conference and the National Puppetry Conference, receiving grants from The Jim Henson Foundation and an UNIMA Citation of Excellence. She also collaborates  with her Emmy-winning husband Paul Rudolph to create songs for Sesame Street. Leslie continues to bridge the generation gap, touring with her signature character candy-loving, 5-year-old Lolly Lardpop to schools, conventions, fundraisers, and even to Google as a keynote speaker in their Learning and Development Conference on several occasions. She loves reaching the young and young at heart with her own style of weird whimsy.

Ronnie Burkett

TUESDAY JUNE 6 | 1:30 to 2:30PM EST


Ronnie Burkett has been captivated by puppetry since the age of seven and began touring his shows around Alberta at the age of fourteen. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionette was formed in 1986, continuously playing on Canada’s major stages and as a guest company on numerous tours abroad. He received the 2009 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, the Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, a Village Voice OBIE award, and four Citations of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette. In 2019, he was appointed as an Officer of The Order of Canada.

Fabrizio Montecchi

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7 | 1:30 to 2:30PM EST


Fabrizio Montecchi is an Italian director and set designer. In 1977 he began his professional career with Teatro Gioco Vita, where he conducted extensive, boundary-breaking work on the development of contemporary shadow theater. He has directed more than 50 shows since 1985, and teaches to share and spread knowledge about contemporary shadow theater. To this end, he has written multiple books and articles about shadow theater. Fabrizio's work has included collaborations with many other international companies: Dockteatern Tittut (Sweden); Huriaruuth Dance Company (Finland); Théâtre du Tilleul (Belgium); Children’s Theatre Company (United States), Visible Fictions (Scotland); BTL (Poland), Lutkovno Gledališče (Slovenia), KLZ, Kazalište Lutaka (Croatia). He has also collaborated with many renowned European theaters: La Scala di Milano, La Fenice di Venezia, L’Arena di Verona, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Opera di Roma, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Opera de Dijon (France), LAC (Switzerland). Fabrizio's productions have won several awards and have been featured in renowned festivals for puppet theater and theater for children all over the world. Fabrizio was awarded the Prix IIM 2013 Training and Education by the IMM of Charleville Mézières (France).

Ty Defoe/ South Miller

THURSDAY JUNE 8 | 1:30 to 2:30PM EST


Ty Defoe (Giizhig) (He|We|Ty) is a citizen of the Oneida/Ojibwe Nations. As an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and world builder, Ty aspires to an interweaving and glitterizing approach to artistic projects with climate awareness and liberation. Works created and authored: River of Stone, Red Pine, Our Words Are Seeds, The Way They Lived, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Revolving Sky (All My Relations Collective), VR/XR piece, ANAKWAD (with Dov Heichemer and alpha). Ty is a Grammy and Jonathan Larson Award winner, a First Peoples, MacDowell, and Sundance Fellow, and Kennedy Center’s Next 50! recipient. He holds degrees from CalArts, Goddard College, and NYU Tisch. Lives in NYC.


South Miller co-founder of Les Sages Fous, graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City in 1992. South discovered puppetry by working with Bread and Puppet and Dorset Theater in Vermont in 1994, and working afterwards with several companies in Canada and the United States before founding her company in 1999. She was the recipient of the prestigious Award for Artistic Creation from the Quebec Arts Council in Quebec. South and her colleague Sylvain Longpré have received several awards for their co-set design: Jury Prize at the 39th International Puppet Theatre Festival in Zagreb, Croatia, for the scenography Bizzarium: Aquarium and the Prize for Best Scenography and Puppets for The Orphan Circus at Spotkania festival in Torun, Poland. South has participated in the creation of all of Les Sages Fous' shows in addition to making all the puppets making all of the puppets and sets collaboratively with Sylvain. She has toured as an actor-puppeteer with Parade Issimo and Bizzarium: Aquarium. She directed The Orphan Circus and is currently the director of Trickycle. South has toured all over the world with the Sages Fous productions.

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