BAGOP Summer Events

Photo of a white tent outdoors with people sitting in chairs and large puppets on the ground

The next meeting of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will be outdoors, at the home of one of our members, in the town of Ware, MA. Details have been sent to all of our members. Our program will be “Playing With PVC” by Kurt Staven. We will explore the possibilities of using PVC to build puppet skeletons and puppet booths. We will cut and bend PVC and experiment with miniature modeling kits. Afterwards we’ll have a short business meeting and Show and Tell. (If we decide to livestream the meeting, I’ll send out a notice that day.)

Our next meetings after that will be in September and November, dates to be announced. If you’re interested in joining the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry, there are details on this website. You don’t have to live in the Boston area.

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Spring Puppet Happenings

Greetings puppetry fans, here are a few things going on. These are all listed in our newsletter The Control Stick, which goes out to members every other month.

BAGOP Meeting March 24

The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry is having their next meeting on Sunday March 24th, 6:00 PM at Puppet Showplace Theater. This will be our first in-person meeting in a while, and it will be great to see old friends and new.

Charlotte Lily Gaspard of Midnight Radio ShowOur special guest will be Charlotte Lily Gaspard (see photo) who is performing that weekend at Puppet Showplace Theater. Charlotte will talk about her work, which features enchanting original fairytales and songs that she performs with her company Midnight Radio Show. Come for a behind-the-scenes look into how she designs and creates her magical puppet shows. Charlotte will also be doing a workshop on Friday March 22nd at 6:30 PM on shadow puppets.

And as always, we’ll have Show and Tell, let us know what you’ve been up to lately or where you’ll be performing. If you have any questions, contact John Lechner, JMLechner (at) aol (.) com.

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BAGOP Meeting April 28

The next meeting of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will be Sunday April 28th, at a special time and place, 4-7 PM at the German Center in West Roxbury (where Paul Vincent Davis lives).

For our program, we will be taking a look back at the history of our guild and celebrating our own Alice Schaefer, who has been so integral to the success of our guild and Puppet Showplace Theater over the years. Come share memories with Alice and Paul, and see old photos from our collection. Bring a puppet if you like for Show and Tell. We will also share a potluck, and everyone is encouraged to bring something (let me know what you’re bringing, so I don’t get the same thing.).

Details have been sent out to all our members. If you would like more information, contact John Lechner – JMLechner (at)

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Workshops at Puppet Showplace Theater

Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA, has many great puppetry workshops in the coming months, including:

How to Use Shadows: Workshop with Midnight Radio Show
Mar 22 (Fri): 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Explore the endless possibilities of shadows in this three-hour workshop with Charlotte Lily Gaspard, shadow puppetry artist and director of Midnight Radio Show from New York City.

Commedia dell’Arte Weekend Intensive with Markus Kupferblum
April 5 (Fri) – April 7 (Sun)
Spend a weekend immersing yourself in the rich masked theater tradition of Commedia dell’Arte! Explore the stock characters, gags (aka lazzi), and more with Markus Kupferblum, lecturer at the University of Vienna and expert of the form.

An Exploration in Marionettes: Workshop with Madison J. Cripps
May 18 (Sat): 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
How do you make a marionette move? What connects its parts and pieces? Can you (yes, you!) make your very first marionette in an hour? Learn all this and more in an afternoon workshop with the incomparable Madison J. Cripps!

For details about all of these workshops, visit:

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World Day of Puppetry Virtual Celebration!

This year UNIMA-USA will again make a presentation for World Puppetry Day in tandem with Puppeteers of America.

The event will happen Thursday, March 21st, starting at 7:00 PM EST, followed by the Puppeteers of America at 8:00 PM EST. UNIMA-USA will announce this year’s scholarship winner, give individual awards to some of our most consistently dedicated and impactful members, award Citations of Excellence to select puppetry productions of note, and present the Nancy Staub Publication Award to writers who have advanced and illuminated puppetry with their works. Then at 8:00, Puppeteers of America will make their own presentation.

There’s no fee, but advance registration for the Zoom link is required, REGISTER HERE.

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Regional Festival Update

Applications are now open for Performances and Workshops at the next Puppeteers of America Northeast Regional Festival, Nov. 1-3, 2024 in Ithaca, NY. Deadline for applications is July 15, 2024. For details and application forms, or to get on their mailing list, visit the festival website:

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New England Puppet Intensive – Design Edition

July 12—22 (Application Deadline June 1)

​Immerse yourself in the ultimate studio experience as we engage in a unique design laboratory with a fully stocked, puppet-making studio set against the backdrop of the beautiful Berkshires. At the core of the NEPI design philosophy is a concern for expressiveness and character. They employ a deep knowledge of puppet-taxonomy and combine it with a thirst for innovation. They encourage a sense of playfulness and experimentation in the design studio — encouraging puppeteers to work from a set design principals as well as their creative impulses.

For details and registration (deadline June 1st) visit their website:

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Summer Intensive Puppetry Training

July 14 -July 27, 2024 (Application Deadline May 1)

This year’s training will pilot a new training model allowing for participants to choose a focused track of Building, Performance or Directing. Participants will spend mornings as a whole ensemble developing common vocabulary through warm-ups, breath training and puppet animation/manipulation class. After lunch participants split into focused tracks in puppet construction, puppetry performance or directing for puppet theater. While week one remains process-based within a focused track, week two will start to blend groups as participants collaborate on small ensemble compositions that will be performed at the end of the week.

For details and registration visit their website:

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A New Year of Puppetry

Nicol Wander shows her violin-playing puppet at a virtual meeting of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry
Nicol Wander shows her violin-playing puppet at our virtual meeting last November.

Hello puppetry friends! The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry had a busy year in 2023, and we’re looking forward to more events in 2024. We had a couple of great virtual meetings in November and January, where we shared puppet projects that everyone is working on. We also had a fun “puppet election” for president of Puppetopia, with puppets competing for votes.

Every year our activities are determined by our members. If you’re not a member yet, we encourage you to join our fun group. Members receive our newsletter every other month, along with notices of puppet events and festivals around New England and beyond.

You also become eligible to apply for puppetry scholarships to attend festivals, and small grants for new works. You can also get a free listing on our website to promote your work. Our yearly member dues are on a sliding scale, so you pay what you can. Learn more about membership here.

Our next guild meeting and program will be announced soon, hope to see you there!

— John Lechner, President


Come to a Day of Puppetry

In lieu of our usual puppet guild meeting, join us for this special event!

The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry and Belmont Public Library present a Day of Puppetry

Shows, Crafts, and MoreHoney Goodenough presents Stewie's Magic Hat
Saturday April 1, 2023, 1:30-3:30 PM
Belmont Public Library, 336 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA
Free and open to the public!

Join us for “Stewie’s Magic Hat,” the newest puppet show by Honey Goodenough of Good Hearted Entertainment. Meet Newton and puppeteer pal Leigh Baltzer of “Through Me To You Puppetry”. Stick around after the show for puppet crafts for families starting at 2:30, and then meet members of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry, who’ll talk about their work during an informal sharing session from 3:00-3:30.

Leigh Baltzer of "Through Me To You Puppetry"Guild members can arrive as early at 12:00 if you want to help set up. Please contact Jacek Zuzanski – – if you can volunteer, we need extra help at the craft tables. You are also welcome to bring something to share at the end, it will be like our usual Show and Tell.

This is our celebration of the World Day of Puppetry (which actually falls on March 21st, so you can celebrate both days!) Hope to see you there!

Top Photo: Honey Goodenough of Good Hearted Entertainment. Lower Photo: Leigh Baltzer of Through Me To You Puppetry.

Next Guild Meeting October 2nd

Kate BrehmThe next meeting of The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will be Sunday Oct. 2, 5:30 PM on Zoom. A link has been sent out to all our members.
Our special guest will be the amazing Kate Brehm. Kate is a movement director and artist specializing in puppetry, performing objects, and physical acting. She is currently directing a large production at the department of Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University, and leading their Production Workshop. She will give a presentation on her own work, and talk about the “puppeteer perspective” and the ways that puppeteers think about art and performance and objects (photos attached). You can see her work at
We will also have time for Virtual Show and Tell, so bring something to share!

BAGOP Summer Meeting

backyard tent

Our outdoor summer guild meeting will be Sunday July 24th, 3-5 PM at the home of Kurt Staven, in Ware, MA. Directions have been sent out to all guild members. Bring some food to share for the potluck, and bring a chair if you can. Face masks are optional but welcome. There will be a tent in case of light rain, but if heavy rains are forecast, we will cancel.

Heidi Carpenter, PuppeteerHeidi Carpenter, president of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild (and also Kurt’s sister.) Heidi will talk about her experiences as a puppeteer and as president of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild. Bring something for Show and Tell!

Contact John Lechner – JMLechner (at) aol . com if you have any questions or would like more information.

May Meeting

Andrew PerialeJoin us online this Sunday May 1st at 5:30 PM, for a very special meeting and program. Award-winning puppeteer Andrew Periale, the creator of Mano-a-Monolog, and the editor of Puppetry International for the past 37 years, will join us to discuss Writing FOR and ABOUT Puppet Theater.  A Zoom link has been sent out to all members. To learn more about joining the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry, visit our Membership page.

Andrew is also performing his solo show Mano-a-Monolog at Puppet Showplace on May 13th at 8 PM, a show that will touch your heart and tickle your funny bone. The program consists of 15 original vignettes written in verse and performed in Periale’s twinned identities of actor and puppeteer. From the “Disheartened Bonvivant” (in which a young man of privilege finds that he is not really suited for any sort of work) to “My Dear, I Think of You” (wherein a middle-aged British widow at last feels truly alive!), these pieces give voices to characters who are by turns comic, thoughtful, eerie, and poignant.

Andrew Periale is a puppeteer, playwright, poet and polyglot. He earned a BA in Theater and an MA in German at the University of Maine, where he also created his first full-length puppet show in 1974. Periale and his wife, Bonnie, founded Perry Alley Theatre in 1985. Together, they’ve performed at numerous national and regional festivals, at the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta) and the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry. Recognition includes the Paul Vincent Davis Award, the George Latshaw Award, 3 Henson Foundation grants, 3 UNIMA-USA Citations, an Emmy nomination, finalists in the International Festival of Film and Television and, in 2016, they were elected Members of Honor of UNIMA International. They have produced the magazine Puppetry International for the past 37 years.

We hope you will join us online this Sunday at 5:30 for an inspiring discussion with Andrew about the challenges of writing for and about puppet theater. Afterwards we will have SHOW & TELL, so bring a puppet or share your latest project. We will also have our GUILD ELECTIONS for board members (nominations still being accepted.)

March Meeting and World Puppetry Day Celebration

Puppets and Pigeons: An Artistic Residency at Kō with David Lane 

Sunday March 20th, 6-8 PM, online via Zoom

Join David Lane as he discusses his 2017 BAGOP funded residency at Kō Festival in Amherst, MA. Slides and a short clip form the workshop production The Pigeon will pepper the evening, along with an update on David’s recent pandemic-time shadow production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, his upcoming trip to Alberta, and a plug for his workshop in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland. 

David Lane is an interdisciplinary theatre artist sharing his time between North Adams, Massachusetts and Calgary, Alberta. He trained extensively with Calgary’s Green Fools Theatre Society before helping to co-found The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

We will also have Show and Tell — show us a puppet, or tell us about your new project. We want to see what you’ve been working on. A Zoom link will be sent to all members. Not a member yet? Check out all our member benefits and sign up today!  

ALSO – check out some great events happening this month at Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA, to celebrate World Puppetry Day!

Looking back on a year of puppetry

by John Lechner

Bonnie Duncan of The Gottabees, with penguin puppet.

Last year was challenging for everyone, not least puppeteers. But the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry managed to continue on, hosting virtual gatherings and workshops to provide our members with inspiration, education, and celebration. Here is a look back at some of our guild highlights from 2021!

In March we hosted a virtual performance of ScreenPLAY! by Bonnie Duncan of The Gottabees (photo above). This action-packed participatory series was developed by Bonnie as a response to the pandemic and the need for truly interactive online experiences for children. We all had a great time acting out the adventure with Bonnie traveling to the Arctic, and we learned a lot about the process going into such an interactive program. 

Photo of Gail Kearns with her Halloween puppet.

In May we paid tribute to one of our longtime members who passed away last year, Gail Kearns (photo right). At our virtual meeting we shared stories of Gail’s many contributions to our guild and the impact she had on so many people, locally and nationally. Gail’s extensive library of puppetry books was donated to our guild by her family, and we have yet to go through them and find homes for them all. 

In August, it actually seemed like the pandemic was on its way out, as the new vaccine took hold. So we had a hybrid outdoor meeting, that was streamed online for those who could not come. Kurt Staven and his wife Karen were our hosts in Ware, MA, which was far enough west that some of our friends in the new Western Massachusetts Puppetry Guild could join us. We had a great program with Tanglewood Marionettes, who talked about their career and how they are surviving through the pandemic (photo below). 

Peter and Anne Schaefer demonstrate their puppets at our summer meeting.
Puppeteer Edna Bland

In September, our special guest was Edna Bland, Puppeteers of America Board Member and Chair of their Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (photo right). She gave a wonderful presentation on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the puppetry world, drawing from her years of experience as a teacher and puppeteer. We had a thoughtful and open discussion about the issues today and how puppeteers can address them. 

Our November guild meeting featured an online workshop by Linda Wingerter of The Stringpullers about Flat Mechanics, simple mechanisms for shadow puppets and toy theater. We learned about levers, pulleys, and the infinite number of ways that puppets can be jointed together to create different effects. We also experimented with our own cardboard creations and learned about prototyping with everyday materials. Linda showed us some of her intricate shadow puppets like those from Romeo and Juliet (see photo below). It was very inspiring! 

Shadow puppets by Linda Wingerter of The Stringpullers.

So, what’s in store for 2022? We will continue with virtual meetings every other month while the pandemic continues. If you aren’t already a member, or if you haven’t renewed this year, I encourage you to become a member for 2022. In addition to our bi-monthly meetings and newsletter, we offer many other benefits like our website directory, festival scholarships, and grants for new works. We also have an email list to share news of upcoming puppetry events and workshops. 

If you are interested in learning more, please contact guild president John Lechner with your questions – JMLechner (at)