In-Person Workshops

The Ballard Institute is currently offering workshops in a number of puppetry styles for groups of children and adults. Our workshops are conducive to educators seeking new and inventive ways to incorporate puppetry into their teaching methods, and to student organizations looking to learn more about how to build and manipulate puppets.

Included in our workshops is a tour of the museum exhibits.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 6 people can attend a workshop in the Ballard Institute at one time.

Available Group Tours/Workshops:

TOUR: A private, group tour of current Ballard Institute exhibitions can be scheduled with Ballard Institute staff. Tours are generally 45-60 minutes long.

$5 per person


TOY THEATER WORKSHOP: Historically, toy theaters were popular in staging operas and large theatre productions in miniature, but they are still a very vibrant style of puppetry today. Students will learn about the history of toy theaters, have the chance to build simple toy theaters of their own, and learn how this form of puppetry can be a powerful and entertaining way to tell stories. Students are asked to bring a cardboard box (no smaller than shoe box size).

2-3 hours

$15 per person


ROD PUPPET WORKSHOP: Students will learn a way to build charming rod puppets out of simple materials. They will learn the basics of how to manipulate them to express emotions and tell stories, and have the chance to create short performances to present to the group.

2 hours

$12 per person


HAND PUPPET WORKSHOP: Students will learn a fun way to make hand puppets. They will learn the basics of speaking and expressing emotions with their hand puppets, and will have the chance to create short performances to present to the group.

2 hours

$10 per person


SHADOW PUPPET WORKSHOP: Shadow puppetry is a very traditional form of puppetry that has existed for hundreds of years in many parts of the world. Students will learn a bit about shadow puppet traditions, have the chance to create simple puppets of their own, and will learn the basics of how to manipulate them using an overhead projector--a popular style of shadow puppetry pioneered here at the UConn Puppet Arts program.

2 hours

$10 per person


MASK-MAKING WORKSHOP: Masks are often used in teaching about puppetry because they help performers to understand how to tell stories using their whole bodies, like a puppet would. Students will make masks out of simple materials, practice expressing emotions without words, and have a chance to share their creations with the group.

1.5-2 hours

$10 per person


If you would like more information about tours and workshops, please e-mail Emily Wicks at bimp@uconn.edu.
To request a tour and/or workshop, please complete and submit the form below.

"The activities were highly motivating and provided creative uses of easily found materials. Students were most excited with both the visual arts and the acting components. I would encourage all teachers to have their students interact with the staff at the puppet museum. They provide a rare opportunity to create a hands on visual and theatrical experience."

-Nancy Bunnell
Community School of the Arts