Northern California Puppet Festival – Workshops

Junp to our workshops for both Friday, Aug 2nd and Saturday, Aug 3rd

Friday, August 2nd

Puppeteering in 4 Simple Steps (presented by Lee Armstrong) – Puppeteering in 4 Simple Steps. Explore the joy of puppet performance with Lee Armstrong. This workshop is part demo and part “hands-on” puppetry and focuses on the question “What do you do once you have a puppet on your hand?”
9:00 am Room 110 Educator’s Track

Eyes & Eye Mechanisms  (presented by Lisa Zagone) – Demonstration of different types of puppet eyes, how to paint eyes, and examples of various types of mechanisms for blinking, winking and moving
9:00 am Room 201 Puppeteers Track A & Puppeteers Track B

The Making of a Monster (presented by Dahlia and Hugo) will teach you how to make a Monster Puppet. Participants will make puppets from a simple kit created by Hugo and Dahlia. Dahlia & Hugo’s kits will have mostly precut parts. In this class, you’ll learn how to assemble the pieces together. These puppets have flexible mouth plates and can have full bodies perfect for sitting on anything. Participants should know how to hand-sew, or they can bring a sewing helper (This helper doesn’t need to be registered). This workshop is designed for teens, but ages 9 and up, and adults are welcome too. The puppet might not be finished by the end of the session, but you’ll have all the information and materials to finish, including a needle and thread!

10:00 am Room 201 Puppeteers Track A

SEL Storytelling: A Brief Exploration of the Role of Puppets in Teaching Children Social Skills with Doug Zesiger, Stinky Tales, 

  • Introduction and philosophy of our work. 
  • A rough guideline of the types of problems we work with.
  • Agreeing on some language ‘gifts’ we can add to the performance.
  •  Engaging the audience in articulating their best wisdom as they ‘teach’ the puppets how to do a better job next time.
  •  Finding a resolution at the end of the story arc to allow for justice and restitution. 

10:40 am Room 110 Educator’s Track

Bring A Puppet To Life (presented by Lee Armstrong) This is ideal for beginning to intermediate puppeteers. Puppet technique will build on UNIMA-USA award-winning Nikki Tilroe’s 4 Basic Principles to bring a puppet to life, then more advanced puppet movement techniques. Explore performing “Avenue Q” style without a stage and tips on how to work with a puppet stage. BYOP (Bring Your Own Puppet) or puppets will be available to borrow for this workshop, through the generosity of our friends at Folkmanis Puppets.

11:00 am Andrews Hall Puppeteers Track B

Puppets, Poetry and Pedagogy – Apron Puppet Show & Workshop with Marisol Himmel Join us for an engaging workshop where we’ll delve into the enchanting world of puppets, poetry, and science! Discover the power of integrating these creative elements across the curriculum, fostering STEAM learning and boosting your students’ public speaking skills. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to bring science to life in a fun and interactive way!

Marisol will kick off the workshop by showcasing an engaging program using paper puppets and an apron as a stage. You’ll get an inside look at how the show was created and learn how to adapt it to any subject, incorporating the magic of puppets and puppetry arts. Plus you’ll receive your very own set of paper puppets to take home in your resource kit
11:15 am Room 110 Educator’s Track

Expressive Collage Puppetry: Fostering Self-Expression (presented by Daniel Gill) In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will discover the power of puppetry in enhancing young children’s attention and engagement across various activities, including circle time, activity sessions, and open-ended play. By utilizing puppets as tools, educators can not only captivate children’s interest but also foster their self-expression and receptivity to new information. Throughout the session, participants will delve into five effective puppet strategies tailored to diverse learners, including those with developmental delays or disabilities. Through hands-on activities such as puppet making, interactive games, and reflective discussions, attendees will gain valuable insights into implementing these strategies within their educational settings.
1:00 pm Room 110 Educator’s Track

Finger Puppet Building with Sculpting & Sewing (presented by Nao Kobayashi) Explore the captivating realm of a miniature world in this workshop! Learn to craft the festival’s tiniest puppet, a finger puppet. Participants will discover the essentials of sculpting a head using polymer clay, add eyes and paints. Guided step-by-step, you’ll create a 3 dimensional fabric body through simple hand-sewing techniques, to take your own unique miniature creation with you. Ideal for those who appreciate detailed small-scaled crafts and are curious about exploring stop-motion animation in live-action contexts. Join us to unleash your creativity and bring miniature wonders to life!

2 Part Workshop. Both parts are included in the registration cost.
Age 12+  recommend, Hand sewing, clay sculpting

1:00 pm Room 201 Puppeteers Track A

Secrets I’ve Learned from Disney & Pixar (presented by Gabriel Galdamez) Explore the secrets behind the success of the world’s leading animation studios! We’ll cover points like story development, leadership, collaboration and creativity and see what I’ve gleaned from my vast collection of “The Making of” books for films like “Toy Story,” “Frozen” and “Wall-E.”

2:00 pm Andrews Hall Puppeteers Track B

Easy Stages & Staging Techniques that Inspire Children with Camilla Henneman Many teachers want to encourage students to perform but don’t know where to start.  Over many years of teaching, I have consistently found that: If you give children elements to create their own stage, story and puppets, they will create a play. This workshop gives the educators several easy options, along with patterns and printouts of paper theaters, puppets and props that they can use with their students to create their own puppet show. Puppet theater is one of the most versatile and enjoyable ways to explore curriculum in language arts, history, and science. Give them a stage and they will fill it.

2:00 pm Room 110 Educator’s Track

Puppets in Story & Song with Valerie & Michael Nelson, Magical Moonshine Theatre,  
Michael and Valerie Nelson have been professional puppeteers for 45 years. For the last 15 they have also been teaching artists at Willow Elementary Arts Magnet School, creating a plethora of puppet activities with TK through 5th grade. In this workshop they will share a collection of easily replicated projects with instructions, patterns, stories and songs, all designed to bolster creativity and foster fun. Let’s explore together the joy and drama that puppetry can bring to your interactions with youth, with a mixture of quick and longer term projects to stimulate your imagination.

3:00 pm Room 110 Educator’s Track

Working as One:Tabletop Puppets (presented by Heather Gobbée) – Learn the art of moving in 3’s through various team games, movement with music, and improv using brown paper puppets and Puppetatheletes! Coordinating multiple-operator puppets is all about the breath, learning to cultivate connection between puppeteers and honing the ability to listen to one another while exploring simple to complex movements, characters and social interactions.  This will be a sweet and lively workshop!  “Yes, And” teamwork required…deodorant recommended!

3:00 pm Room 213 Puppeteers Track A & Puppeteers Track B

Saturday, August 3rd

Social Media for Puppeteers (presented by Grant Baciocco)  Learn the ins and out of creating puppet content for Social Media from TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram. There are so many social media platforms it can get confusing figuring out how and what to content to create for each. Grant Baciocco has been creating content for the internet since 2004 and has a following of over 3 million people online. He’ll talk about each of the leading social media platforms, their strengths and weaknesses and how to create content for them. He’ll also speak on actually making some money by doing so.

11:00 am Room 110

Improvisation for Puppeteers! (presented by Heather & Martin Gobbée) This 90 minute Improv workshop for puppeteers combines techniques from classic improv games with puppeteering. It will focus on fostering spontaneity, creativity and collaboration among puppeteers and human performers. Participants will also explore character, voice, and movement to enhance their puppetry skills while engaging in dynamic improvisational exercises and scene work. We encourage participants to bring their own puppets, but we will also have puppets available for all to play with and stretch the imagination!

11:00 am Room 213

Television Puppetry (presented by Sean & Patrick Johnson Swazzle Inc.) Sean and Patrick Johnson will present a workshop on the basics of television puppetry. Participants will be lead through actives that demonstrate proper lip sync, eye focus, puppet walks and more with the goal of creating dynamic and believable characters.

1:00 pm Room 110

One Pattern, Three Ways (presented by C. E. Choy) Come play with C. E. as she shares a hand puppet pattern that can be easily adapted to three different styles, including hand and rod. Even better, the base pattern only requires a 15” square of fabric, and limited foam. Participants will purchase a kit and design their character in their preferred style to take them home. Participants will also take this pattern home to create even more characters.

This is a two part workshop. Parts 1 & 2 are being sold in a single registration with additional $25 Kit Fee.

1:00 pm Room 201

Rod puppets & Mechanism (presented by Art Grueneberger) Come play with Art and explore the versatility of the simple Rod Puppet. Discover the advantages of rod puppets over other styles. Learn how their lightweight simple construction makes them ideal for both intricate performances and larger-scale productions. Dive into the realm of simple mechanisms that can enhance rod puppets. From basic lever systems to more advanced mechanisms, uncover how these additions can elevate the storytelling potential of your creations. Learn the basics to become a master at manipulating rod puppets. Gain a solid understanding of the fundamental techniques, including rod manipulation for specific character movement and conveying emotions through gesture and posture.

Whether you’re a seasoned puppeteer or a curious beginner, join us for an immersive experience that will ignite your creativity and leave you inspired to bring your rod puppet characters to life!

1:00 pm Andrew’s Hall

Rod-Arm Puppet Choreography (presented by Gabriel Galdamez) Does anyone else miss the “good old days” when puppets would bust out into song and dance? Just me?
Join us for a workshop where we’ll cover beginner through intermediate choreography moves, principles of good choreography, and have some fun coming up with our own choreo for rod-arm puppets. From sways to shoulder shrugs to tight spins, we’ll bust a move!

2:00 pm Room 213

Intro to Shadow Puppetry (presented by Margot Marie Fitzsimmons) Embark on a transformative journey into the captivating realm of shadow, object puppetry and theater, where participants will immerse themselves in a collaborative exploration with a rich toolkit of shadow skills and techniques, fostering a deepened understanding and appreciation of this ancient art form’s potential for classroom engagement and performance excellence. Through performance showcases and constructive peer feedback sessions, participants will cultivate a supportive community, igniting creativity and refining their craft through collaborative exchange. Participants will get into small groups, co-create ensembles, and forge meaningful connections with colleagues as they craft and showcase their own shadow creations, utilizing devised theater techniques to craft original and compelling narratives that resonate with audiences, while using contemporary shadow theater techniques. With the use of body, objects, shadow puppets and basic popup books for landscapes, participants will utilize all techniques and create their own performance. Upon successful completion, participants will demonstrate proficiency in fundamental shadow puppetry techniques and the ability to collaboratively design and execute compelling shadow theater productions, marking the beginning of a transformative journey into the mesmerizing world of shadows and how participants can use these techniques in their classrooms and in performance.

3:00 pm Room 110

Giant Puppets (presented by  Elizabeth Leonard) Giant puppets are fantastic for parades and events with crowds. Learn how to make your own giant puppet without breaking your back or your bank account.
We’ll cover:

  • Things to think about before you build
  • Backbone options
  • Heads and hands: papier mache, hoops and canes
  • Dressing your puppet

We’ll end the workshop with a cane construction exercise- a ball for our giant puppet to play with.

3:00 pm Room 201

* If you are a current member of SFBAPG you should have a discount code you can use if you purchase more than 3 workshops Saturday.