The National Puppetry Conference creates contemporary works of theater that defy imagination and confound expectations. Over the course of just eight days, Conference participants collaborate with nationally and internationally renowned puppet artists, and each other, to produce innovative plays and productions that push the boundaries of puppetry’s definitions and dare participants to challenge themselves and their audiences. Experienced puppeteers and relative newcomers to the form explore various performance styles and techniques in rehearsals, workshops, and master classes. Throughout the conference, whether late-night in the puppet-building workshop, at dinner overlooking the ocean, or in a brain-storming session on the lawn, participants are encouraged and challenged as they delve into, revise, and understand the work they create here and anywhere.
Special intensive 3-day courses held before the Conference focus on the three disciplines that comprise puppetry: creating a narrative, building the puppet, and training the performer. These skills are constantly in use during the week and are demonstrated in nightly pub acts, impromptu performances, and two public presentations at the end of the week that feature a mix of over two dozen guest artist and participant works that were conceived, created, fabricated, and produced during the Conference.
Conference participants have worked or gone on to work at such puppetry venues as The Henson International Festival of Puppet Theatre (New York City), HERE Arts Center (New York City), Mum Puppettheatre (Philadelphia), The Puppet Showplace (Brookline, Massachusetts), The Sandglass Theatre (Vermont), The Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta), Zeum (San Francisco) and on television shows including Sesame Street,Between the Lions, Crash and Bernstein, Johnny and the Sprites, Bear in the Big Blue House, and It's a Big, Big World and many feature films including The Muppets.
The 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 in 1990. The Conference is sponsored by the Rose Endowment for Puppetry, established by Jane Henson and dedicated to the legacies of such visionary puppet artists as Bil Baird, Jim Henson, Rufus and Margo Rose, Don Sahlin, Martin Stevens, Burr Tillstrom and Brad Williams and to the spirit with which they shared their creativity and themselves.