School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
About Us

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The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 8,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

Performance, Materials Techniques, and Other Workshops

Paper Puppets Workshop with Felicia Cooper

Using paper, tape, and scissors, create fun and funky characters! Recommended for ages 4+.

Materials needed: paper, tape, scissors, markers, crayons, pencils

Originally streamed on Facebook on 3/25/20.

Anything Can be a Puppet! Object Performance Exploration! with Felicia Cooper

Use household objects to explore movement, expression, and storytelling! We’ll discover movement patterns and gesture, working towards character development. Recommended for ages: 6+.

Materials needed: anything around you (check in with a grown up if it doesn’t belong to you)

Originally streamed on Facebook on 4/10/20.

Paper Fortune Teller Puppets with Elise Vanase, Parts 1 and 2

Do you remember making paper fortune tellers in school? Come see how this classic game can be turned into a puppet! Recommended for ages 7+.

Materials needed: paper (preferably thicker); paint or markers; scissors; hot glue (best option, but glue stick or tape will also work)

Originally streamed on Facebook on 5/13/20.

Ping-Pong Ball Puppet Workshop with Elise Vanase, Parts 1 and 2

Hand puppetry doesn’t have to be complicated! In the first part of this series, learn how to make an effective hand puppet using just a ping-pong ball (or other available object) on your finger. We will also explore methods of personalizing this puppet! Hold on to what you created because in the second session of this series, we will explore performance techniques for these puppets using fun exercises! Recommended for ages 5+ (with adult supervision when using the X-Acto knife).

Materials needed: ping-pong ball (if you don’t have a ping-pong ball, you can sculpt a head using newspaper and masking tape!); X-Acto knife; things to decorate (such as permanent markers, paint, googly eyes, paper, yarn, etc.)

Originally streamed on Facebook on 5/20/20 and 5/22/20.

Wrist Puppet Workshop with Elise Vanase

Come turn your hand into a walking puppet with just a few simple materials! Recommended for ages 4+.

Materials needed: old sock, scissors, hot glue or tape, cereal box cardboard, markers, yarn (optional), pipe cleaners (optional)

Originally streamed on Facebook on 6/3/20.

Cardboard Party! with Felicia Cooper

Join UConn Puppet Arts graduate student Felicia Cooper to learn methods of attachment, ways of folding, scoring, and slicing that can be used in a variety of ways! This will be an exploration of material and techniques, and we’ll build a simple puppet from a cereal box! Recommended for ages 8+.

Materials needed: cardboard, hot glue, tape, utility blade, scissors, water, and markers Felicia is leading this workshop with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Originally streamed on Facebook on 6/24/2020.

Clothespin Puppets with Elise Vanasse

Did you used to pretend that your clothespins could speak? Well, come turn them into talking puppets with us! Recommended for ages 4+. Materials needed: cereal box cardboard, hot glue, paint/markers, pipe cleaners, yarn, clothespins #VoicesOfTheVenues #ArtsAtUConn

Originally streamed on our Facebook Live on 6/17/2020.

Trash Monster Puppet Workshop with Elise Vanasse

Come make a gnarly talking monster that looks like it came straight out of the garbage can (in a cool way)! Recommended for ages 8+. Materials needed: two small cardboard boxes (granola bar boxes work well), newspaper, garbage bag, hot glue, masking tape, paint/markers, clean trash that can be used for decoration (plastic bags, bottles, cans, wrappers, etc!)

Originally streamed on Facebook on 6/26/2020.

Direct Manipulation with Stuffed Animals! with Abby Bosley

Join us for a pre-recorded workshop led by UConn Puppet Arts Program alumna Abby Bosley as she shows us how to turn your stuffed animals or toys into puppets! This workshop is a great two-person activity, so bring a friend! Recommended for ages 5+. Materials needed: stuffed animals or toys (preferably ones that can be manipulated or moved) Posted to Facebook on 7/8/20.

Toy Theater Aquarium Workshop with Elise Vanase

Don’t want the responsibility of owning fish? That’s okay! Make your dream aquarium and its inhabitants out of a cereal box. Recommended age 7+.

Materials needed: cereal box, scissors, skewer/stick, hot glue or tape, paint

Originally streamed to Facebook on 7/10/2020.

Let’s Get Crankin’! with Felicia Cooper

A crankie uses a pulley system to create a scrolling image or moving panorama. Create an analogue movie to show your pals! Recommended for ages 7+. Materials needed: paper (long scroll preferred, but pieces of paper taped together is okay too!), box, utility knife or scissors, tape, crayons/pencils/markers, dowels or sticks This workshop is made possible with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Originally streamed on Facebook Live on 7/22/20.

Edible Puppets Workshop with Elise Vanase

Who says you can’t play with your food? Make some puppets out of what you have in your kitchen! Materials needed: apples, pretzel rods, bananas, Twizzlers, string cheese, butter/carving knife, googly eyes (optional), OR whatever food strikes your inspiration! #VoicesOfTheVenues #ArtsAtUConn Originally aired on Facebook Live on 7/31.