2024 UPCOMING EVENTS
2024 Greater Houston Puppetry Guild Activities
Zoom Meeting – March 10, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. CT
Conni Mulligan – Dancing Hand Puppets - Let's Make Pool Noodle Puppets
Have your "Make-Along" Supplies ready to create a unique puppet during our March Guild Meeting. See list of supplies in the photo above.
Zoom Meeting – April 14, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. CT
Sally Bates Goodroe – Houston Storytellers Guild
Sally Bates Goodroe has been telling stories since 1986. Formerly with the Houston Public Library, she has performed at schools, museums, and libraries, and loves to tell folktales to all ages. In this program, she will share stories for children ranging from participation tales to fairy tales, leaving time to answer questions about storytelling organizations in Houston and Texas. The Houston Storytellers Guild was founded in 1986. The Guild sponsors workshops and performances and meets monthly on Zoom the last Tuesday of every month. To find out more about the Guild, go to www.houstonstorytellers.org Other upcoming events include the Texas Storytelling Festival, March 7-10, in Denton, Texas, and the Texas Storytelling Conference to be held in Houston June 21-23, 2024.
Review of the Zoom Guild Meeting – January 2024
Written by Member, Bonita Riley
Joanne Schroeder (Adventureland Puppets) delighted attendees by performing with her Vent Figures. First up was Jake, the Cowboy – his wit and joking definitely tickled our collective funny bone. Next up was Tony, a lovable figure that is a perpetual 3rd Grade Student. Finally, we were introduced to Candy, a figure that Joanne had purchased many years ago from Ebay. Candy thinks about food…a lot. It doesn‟t help that she works at a Fudge Store! Joanne then spent some time explaining how she uses Puppetry to teach Bible Stories (skits are included in her book „Puppets Tell Bible Stories’). She shared how she will introduce a twist to the story to further engage audiences – e.g., telling the story of “Daniel in the Lion‟s Den” from the Lion‟s perspective. Some tips that Joanne shared included 1) always introduce conflict into your routine 2) to develop your ventriloquism skills – practice speaking without moving your lips at every opportunity. Practice in your car, practice when singing in church, just practice! In addition to booking other events, Joanne performs puppet skits one day a week at Spring Woods Academy. Additionally, she shares puppetry at the Pearl Fincher Museum Family Days. At Family Day Events, she always brings about 100 puppet blanks to help introduce youth to the joy of puppetry!
Review of the Zoom Guild Meeting – February 2024
Written by Member, Bonita Riley
Kathie Guild (Puppet Show, Incorporated) generously shared her journey of first using a puppet (“Froggy”) in a classroom setting where she worked as a School Counselor in Germany over 30 years ago up to her present experience starting and maintaining a small non-profit mobile puppet theater in the state of North Carolina. In making her decision to go the Non-Profit route, Kathie invested time and effort into taking classes through her local Chamber of Commerce and Community College. She developed her business plan, researched Accounting and Tax Rules and submitted her State and Federal Filings. Kathie felt that by establishing her mobile puppet theater as a non-profit, she might gain better access to other non-profit organizations – e.g.., Museums, Parks & Recreation Depts., etc. Kathie spoke about the Grant Process and the differences between „Restricted‟ and „Unrestricted‟ Grants and the responsibilities associated with accepting Restricted Grants. Some Restricted Grants may require that you have Attendees complete Surveys, you may need to provide photos, you may need to provide accounting documentation on how the Grant Dollars were actually spent, etc. The Guild Members in attendance were also treated to some demonstrations of easy puppets that Kathie has attendees make in workshops out of Index Cards, Envelopes, Paper Plates, and other readily available materials. To learn more about Kathie's work, visit www.puppetshowinc.org
Review of the Zoom Guild Meeting – November 2023
Written by Member, Bonita Riley:
Conni Mulligan provided a wonderful presentation on Making and Manipulating Puppets. She shared so many great ideas of what can be used to make puppets – wooden cut outs, stickers, scrapbooking pieces, felt, foamboard – and so much more! Connie graciously shared tips on how to engage youth/students with puppets. She suggested that older children respond better when the puppets are referred to as 2D Characters (or 3D Characters, as applicable). Don't ever call them 'Paper Dolls!' when speaking with older students. When making puppets, use darker colors of markers/crayons/etc. as these will show up better during the performance. She demonstrated how articulated puppets can be made with the use of brads/split pins. For manipulation, one can use sticks, tongue depressors, ice cream wooden spoons to 'create the bones' of the puppet. Some ideas for manipulating the puppets include using sticky back Velcro Dots (Hook and Loop type). Put the loop section on the back of the Character and then attach the hook section onto thick bamboo skewers, dowels, chopsticks, etc. Green straws (like those available at Starbucks) are great to use for green screen movie making as they won't show in the videos. For a stage – be creative – you can use Science Trifold Display Boards, Pizza Boxes, etc. I believe this quote from Conni resonated with the attendees: “Almost all Creativity involves Purposeful Play”.
Review of the Holiday Guild Meeting – December 2023
Written by Member, Jean Pirtle:
Joanne Schroeder had a wonderful lunch and dessert bar for members of the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild followed by an interactive puppet show. The pre-recorded audio tape, “Small One” (story of the donkey that Mary rode into Bethlehem) played as each puppet in the story was manipulated by Joanne's guests. Jean Pirtle brought a Christmas box puppet stage with a Rudolph hand puppet. We did an improvisational story where each person added more details as the box and puppet were passed around. We had a lot of fun with our two new young adult guild members, Remy Gaspard and Andres Buosi, who are talented puppeteers. We enjoyed great food, fellowship, and discussed some new ideas for future puppet events!
Photo courtesy of Joy Saxton Left to Right: Sandra Jones, Jean Pirtle, Remy Gaspard, Joanne Schroeder, Andres Buosi, Stephen Hurst, Greg Gaspard, Joy Saxton
To see more Christmas 2023 Photos and to stay up-to-date with guild updates and other puppet happenings, please consider joining the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/houstonpuppetry/
To see Houston Puppet Festival 2023 Photos and to stay up-to-date with guild updates and other puppet happenings, please consider joining the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/houstonpuppetry/
Review of the GHPG Festival – September 2023
Based upon the wonderful feedback and comments, the 2023 Greater Houston Puppetry Guild Festival was a rousing success! So many opportunities for fellowship with other puppeteers! So many opportunities to learn new techniques and gain new ideas in the workshops! So many opportunities to both enjoy and learn from the Puppet Show performances!
Sampling of the Festival Comments received from Presenters and Attendees:
Joy Saxton: “The 43rd annual Houston Puppet Festival was a day filled with creativity. It even had a fantastic puppet show at the end! The talented puppeteers teaching the classes made it educational. loved the puppets I was able to purchase at the little shop that I can add to my collection. It was day full of inspiration”
Elaine Hogan: “I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who makes the Puppet Festival possible. My granddaughter, Eleanor, and I attended the festival in 2022 and 2023. Eleanor has always been very responsive to puppets and has been conversing with my “Lambchop” puppet for years. It is a special part of our relationship. Eleanor is also very interested in arts and crafts. When I learned about the Puppet Festival, I knew it would be the perfect way to celebrate her September birthday. It has now become a tradition. Eleanor was especially pleased to receive a gift membership this year and to be a part of the Greater Houston Puppet Guild. We were both surprised and pleased by this thoughtful gesture. Eleanor is currently participating in a Storytelling group at her elementary school. She continues to impress her family with her creativity and her enthusiasm for crafts. I expect our tradition will continue and her involvement with the Puppet Guild will deepen over the coming years. It is a joy to watch my grandchild connect with this art form and a privilege to be among the kind and talented people who make this event so very special. Thank you again. We will see you next year!”
Elizabeth Beamon: “Ann Coleman and I had a wonderful time! Such an amazing event!”
Leo Velasquez (“Mr. Leo”): “I feel honored to have shared pleasant moments with each of you. I feel deep admiration for you and your puppet souls. Your passion and way of being puppeteers inspires me to keep going. It was beautiful to share the wonderful art of puppetry with special people.”
Greg Ruhe: I want to thank you for all of your efforts in making this fantastic festival a reality.
Feedback on Workshops: “Love the Make and Take Concept” “Learned so Much” Excellent Presentation” “Learned Something New” “Engaging Everyone” “SO MUCH FUN!”
Review of the Zoom Guild Meeting – October 2023
On October 8, Guild Members were treated to a wonderful show by Jim (Nappy) Napolitano - Shadows Around the World. Nappy shared that he performed his first puppet show in 1991 while he was still in college and has always been greatly inspired by Richard Bradshaw. Delightfully, Nappy‟s original shadow puppet rendition of “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” kicked off the show! The performance went on to include a History of Shadow Puppetry featuring stories of origin from China, Turkey, Indonesia and France. Nappy stated that the history he shared may not be „100 historically accurate‟ but it was certainly entertaining. The shadow puppetry he employed was amazing and he generously shared some of his „tips and tricks of the trade‟ with Guild Members following the performance. Nappy thinks that Shadow Puppetry is on the upswing! The GHPG definitely appreciated the opportunity to enjoy his wonderful and original performance.
Review of the May 2023 Clown and Puppet Event by Jean Pirtle
Cheerful Clown Alley of Houston hosted a Fun Fest on May 6, at Trini Mendenhall Community Center to promote the art of clowning and puppetry. Demonstrations of how to make balloon animals, face painting, and clown makeup were provided as well as a puppetry display. Jean “KitCat” Pirtle helped visitors make a pop-up clown puppet in a cup to take home and shared information about making cardboard stages. Everyone had a great time as well as the children who came to the event.
Review of the Zoom Puppet Show in June 2023 by Jean Pirtle
Joy Saxton, Children’s Book author and puppeteer, presented a puppet play that she is developing. Her puppet, Jose was sad because he spoke a different language than his friends. He falls asleep and has a wonderful magical adventure with a space creature and a Princess. The adventure ended well with the lesson learned that it doesn’t matter what language you speak for people to like you. She had a few sound problems but we were able to see her cute puppets and enjoyed the show. Afterwards, Joy asked for suggestions to improve the puppet play and was given some great feedback from the zoom participants.
Review of the March 2023 Zoom Meeting by Joanne Schroeder
3 Billy Goats Gruff and the Gruff Brothers
performed by puppeteer Ginger Lozar of Illinois
Turns out the Gruff Brothers are 2 trolls, fighting over who is going to leave their house because there is not room for 2. After a tug of war, the troll who loses goes out in search of a house. A bear sells a bridge to the troll, and when a little billy goat tries to cross the bridge, the troll asks for gold. Now the old troll is hard of hearing and has lost his hearing aid. When the second billy goat tries to cross he too is asked for gold. Those 2 goats get across the bridge without paying. I think the loss of the hearing aids is causing some confusion. Out of confusion the 3rd billy goat is allowed to cross. Then the little billy goat comes back having found the hearing aids of the troll. A basket of food is given and all are declared friends forever. Be kind to your neighbors one and all. Ginger wrote the delightful script, and it brought smiles and good feelings to all. Jean Kuecher told us of her experience doing cold calling in an effort to book some puppet shows. It worked, as she was able to book some shows. Jean Pirtle showed us a clown pop-up puppet in a paper cup. Children will be so happy to play with this type of puppet.
Review of the April 2023 Zoom Meeting by Bonita Riley
Joann McMillan/Flying Heart Theater treated the guild to an absolutely delightful showing of her use of large (in some cases very large!) puppets as she portrayed ‘Mother Earth’ and exercised her command of the Earth’s Elements. Assisted by two of her grandchildren, they portrayed sunshine and calm weather, followed by huge storms, and then the wonder of the rainbow. A wonderful tip that she shared was to use inflated mylar balloons to create needed shapes (heads, hands, etc.) under the flowing fabric. This technique helps to create the large sizes and shapes needed but doesn’t add much to the weight of the costume. After a performance, the balloons can be deflated and folded up with the fabric for easy transport. Following this, Joann provided a tour of her two-story puppet playhouse. She had the playhouse built on her property many years ago and it is filled with puppets old and new – large and small. Her playhouse also includes multiple work areas where she builds her puppets. I believe every one of the Guild Members attending today would find her playhouse to be a type of puppet utopia. Joann also provided an outside tour of her playhouse – that included some additional large puppets and some works in progress. Her creativity in using everyday objects (e.g., a child’s swimming pool as the back of a large turtle puppet) and her amazing painting skills is extremely admirable. In recent years, Joann has included sublimation technology to customize fabrics for her puppet making. She is currently using a 13” x 19” Epson 8550 EcoTank Printer that she has modified to use sublimation ink. This allows her to print her own original art or other art that she wishes to use and then sublimate it onto polyester fabric using a Heat Press. Both the outfit she was wearing as ‘Mother Earth’ as well as many of the puppets she shared were made with her customized sublimation fabric. It was fun hearing about her puppet journey that started when she was a young child and continues to grow and expand to this day. We very much appreciated her sharing both her work and her workspace with us.
January 2023 Puppet Guild Meeting Review by Joanne Schroeder
Our Guild member Rikki Shaw performed her ventriloquist routines with her vent dummies Grandpa, a monkey, and one more character. Grandpa has been her long standing character for such a long time that she has had to get him some much needed repairs. Us old ones start falling apart. I should know. Rikki says she only performs for Seniors. I attended one of her puppet shows for Seniors at a Baptist church. And they did so love her routines. A mixture of jokes and music makes the show a winner.
February 2023 Puppet Guild Meeting Review by Joanne Schroeder Tommy’s Space Adventure was performed on Zoom by Art Grueneberger Using a Stream Deck with programmable buttons, Art was able to project graphics such as open curtains, closed curtains, a forest, a flying saucer and sound effects. The show was a combination of live puppetry with animations and digital graphics. Tommy and Dr. Lost N. Space were live. As Art was performing the puppets live, he had a camera on himself, so we could see him moving the puppets. What we could not see were his feet using the Stream Deck to project the animations and graphics. Art uses a monitor so he can see the puppets onstage during the performance. In Tommy’s Space Adventure Tommy wants to meet an alien. Dr. Lost N. Space wants to capture an alien and sell it to make money. The Doctor meets an alien in Tommy’s yard, captures it and locks it up in a laboratory. There is a laser on the space ship, and it turns Dr. Lost N. Space into a cat, not by looks, just by the sounds and movements a cat would make. The meowing, hissing Dr. Lost N. Space as a cat is hilarious. Then it turns Dr. Lost N. Space into a dog, and finally a chicken who runs off. The sound effects and movements were so effective for all the characters. After the show Art let us see all the machines and wiring backstage. Then he explained how it was all put together. He also mentioned how difficult it was to learn the process. The hard work he put into the show paid off. Website for Art Grueneberger’s puppet shows: Puppetarts.com
November 2022 Puppet Guild Meeting Review
by Joanne Schroeder
Mr. Leo Puppet Show was our feature for the meeting. He started with a presentation of a short puppet piece. Maria is frightened by a monster. It is pink and purple. Finally the monster is caught by her friend Tommy. It turns out that Maria’s cousin is wearing a monster costume to scare Maria. Mr. Leo says he puts together 3 short scenes for a puppet show. He came here from Venezuela, put an add for his puppet shows in a magazine, and the business took off. Plenty of music is used in his puppet shows. I witnessed this at the Pearl Fincher Museum where he was performing a puppet show, and the children were clapping and moving to the music. Mr. Leo’s email address: Sales@3balloons3.com. He also has a van used as a mobile puppet stage that he takes to events in parks and neighborhoods. You can view this on his website.
We were so delighted to learn that Mr. Leo has been the recipient of some of David and Carol Carranza’s puppets. It is so good to know that their puppets belong to and are being used by a puppeteer.
Jean Kuecher was especially happy with this news. She also informed us that Linda Roberts of Illinois is trying to sell her puppet shows. Linda’s email address is: Robertsmarionettes@gmail.com This was a delightful puppet guild meeting, as we met a puppeteer in the Houston area for the first time. There are 7 million people in Greater Houston, so there may be more puppeteers out there that we have not met.
December, 2022 Meeting of the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild
Minutes by Joanne Schroeder
Jean Pirtle and Joanne Schroeder met at a restaurant on Sunday, December 11 at 2 pm. for our monthly puppet guild meeting. We discussed getting a credit card reader so people can charge purchases at our puppetry store during our Houston Puppet Festival, and at other sales events we would hold. We need to research this to find out what is available. People attempted to register for the Houston Puppet Festival on line. We did not have that option on our festival website. We need to have that available in the future. We discussed ways the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild could promote the art of puppetry: Shows, Workshops, Sales, Exhibits. We felt that these activities need to be happening throughout the year at various locations in the greater Houston area. I participated in two events held by the Pearl Fincher Museum where I was allowed to sell puppets here in Spring. I have a banner that I attached to the table reading: Greater Houston Puppetry Guild. Look for opportunities in your area. When you find them, let me know and I can bring puppets for the sale and/or exhibit. Libraries have display cases and look for something to display in them.
Email me at: email@example.com
Highlights of our POA Regional and Annual Houston Pepper Puppet Festival
Sept. 15, 16 and 17, 2022
Thursday night Dinner and Puppet Slam
Fun performances by members of the Houston Puppetry Guild at Hasta La Pasta Restaurant
Puppeteers of America Regional Pepper Puppet Festival on Friday:
Workshops, Pix Smith’s Puppet Exhibit, the Puppet store and two entertaining puppet shows made up a great day for our puppet enthusiasts and guests. We all had a great time sharing puppet ideas, stories, and experiences. Some of the types of shows and workshops included Shadow Puppetry, Puppet Story Telling, Czech Style Marionette, Strings Variety Show, Puppet Exhibit, Fable, Fairytale, and the Big Bad Wolf!
42nd Annual Houston Puppetry Festival on Saturday:
Make and take workshops kept everyone busy as well as provided time to show and tell. Our group of teachers from West University Methodist School had a great time creating puppets to take back to their classrooms and share with their students. The Puppet Store and Puppet Exhibit were popular with our guests as well as families coming to see the Puppet Shows at the end of the day. We saw many smiles on the faces of the winners of our Raffle prizes. Our puppet shows this year were fantastic on both days. What a great time for everyone! Thank you to all of our staff, performers, and volunteers that made this another successful event for the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild! Some of the activities included Sock Puppets, Grocery Bag Puppet, Box Puppet, Flip Face Puppet, Peter Rabbit Glove, The Bumper Crop, and a special showcase of "Calliope Kate and the Voice of the River".
Thank you from Jean Kuecher to the Participants of the SW Regional Pepper Puppet Festival and the 42nd Annual Houston Puppet Festival on September 16 and 17, 2022
“I want to thank you all for a wonderful and exciting two days. The presenters were all very professional, arriving on time and preparing so well. Everyone was kind, energetic and helpful. You are all very talented and creative. The evaluations were glowing with enthusiasm and admiration for new wisdom.”
“Thank you to everyone who attended for your extraordinary effort for our festival and the art of puppetry! Thank you to Jean Pirtle for taking on the difficult job of Registrar, and doing it so well. Thank you to Joanne Schroeder for working very hard to organize the South West Regional Festival and bringing many items to sell in the store. Thank you to Pix Smith for bringing an amazing Exhibit of beautiful puppets. Thank you to Michael and Lynnette Tello for being store managers and bringing many puppets to sell. Thank you to Greg Ruhe for promoting the Raffle so well and making fun Facebook advertisements for the festival. Thank you to Brian Berlin for hosting our monthly Zoom guild meetings and promoting the festival.”
Jean Kuecher, M.Ed. Puppeteer and Teaching Artist Performing Artist with Young Audiences of Houston Director of the Houston Puppetry Festival www.marionetteplayhouse.com cell 281-799-1398
October 2022 Puppet Guild Meeting Review by Joanne Schroeder
Lisa Sturz and puppet partners of Red Herring Puppets in Arizona presented Aesop’s Fables in a table top production for our meeting on Zoom. The puppets moved around the scenery which consisted of a tree, a stone arch and a stone wall. 2 puppeteers behind a table did the manipulation.
The rod puppets were beautifully crafted and portrayed the characters in the following stories: The Fox and the Crow, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Fox and the Stork; The Lion and the Mouse, and the Owl and the Grasshopper. It was intriguing to see all of these fables presented in one puppet show. There was a scissor beak on the crow. All of the puppets had lovely flat feet which they showed off. It was a most delightful puppet show.
Hello Puppet Presenters and Performers and Enthusiasts,
You are invited to attend our Monthly Zoom Guild Meetings of the Houston Puppet Guild. Please email to request the link for the online meeting. If you want clock hour educator credit for the meetings, please ask for a certificate.
You are Invited
Greater Houston Puppetry Guild Meeting
On Zoom (Email Joanne Schroeder for the password before the meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Puppeteers of America 2023 National Puppetry Festival
and Academic Symposium
July 18-22, 2023 at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
More information at www.puppeteers.org/national-puppetry-festival
Earn 1 Texas Education Agency Continuing Professional Education Clock Hours.
The Greater Houston Puppetry Guild, a chartered guild of the Puppeteers of America, Inc., is an Approved Provider for the Texas State Board of Educator Certification.
About the Guild
The Greater Houston Puppetry Guild was formed in August 1977 and Chartered by The Puppeteers of America (the national organization of puppeteers) in 1979. The Guild was first introduced to the public by presenting a performance at the Houston Children's Zoo by its members. This performance was so successful that public demand required the scheduled two performances to become three.
In September, 1979, the Guild further promoted itself by building a tent for its performance booth at the Texas Renaissance Festival. The Guild members performed "Punch and Judy" and other hand puppet shows every hour of the six weekends of the Festival.
The Guild has been a steady presence in the area ever since. We are puppetry enthusiasts of all descriptions and ages: professionals, beginners, teachers, librarians, puppet makers puppet collectors and people who simply enjoy puppets. You are invited to share our interest in puppetry by joining the Greater Houston Puppetry Guild.
PERFORMANCE AND CRAFTSMANSHIP.
Many of the Guild's members are puppet builders and performers. We come together to share our common interest, to learn from one another, to stimulate broader public interest in puppetry, and to raise the standards of the Art of Puppetry. We meet quarterly in the Greater Houston Heights area for dinner, to share our latest creations and shows, and and to conduct general business. We gather a few more times each year for member performances, technique swaps and build workshops.
The Guild is involved in education and in the promotion of the Puppetry Arts. To further these goals, every September the Guild has day workshops for school and church educators and librarians at Cypress Creek Christian Community Center. Professionals can earn 7 Continuing Education Hours while they attend playful, creative workshops on using puppets to promote literacy, building simple puppets for and with students, and teaching students to perform with puppets.
President - Joanne Schroeder
Vice President - Brian Berlin
Secretary - Greg Ruhe
Newsletter - Jean Pirtle
Treasurer/Festival Organizer - Jean Kuecher
Title Image Credit. Artisphere, Creative Common License.