Loading Events

« All Events

Puppet Festival Educators Day – For Teachers, Librarians, and Youth Group Leaders

August 2 @ 9:00 am 8:00 pm

The Puppet Festival will run for two days
Friday, August 2nd and Saturday, 3rd.

The Puppet Festival will be at the Sonoma Community Center
276 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

  • Fill your creative toolbox with puppet making ideas (and patterns)
  • Strategies for using puppets for projects, stories, and more
  • Professional Puppet Show

Lots of Variety & Choice: Participants can choose all 6 Educator Track Workshops. Lots of variety. Sign up early!

Educators Day Registration Options

Day Pass to 3:50 PM
Price: $85
Includes 6 workshops, the 10 am show,
all materials & handouts.
Puppeteer Guild Members receive $25 off.

Registration is coming soon!

Buy your day Pass

Day + Evening Pass to 8 PM
Price: $100
Includes the Day Pass workshops, plus the 4 & 7 PM shows
4 & 7 PM shows can be purchased individually for $15/ea.
Puppeteer Guild Members receive $25 off.

Registration is coming soon!

Buy your Day + Evening Pass

Interested in becoming a San Francisco Puppeteers Guild member?
Membership starts at $25. If you are planning on attending this event and are not a member, we encourage you to become one.
The cost of membership is the same as the discount given to members for this weekend event.

Friday, May 2nd
Educators Workshops & Events

9:00 AM Workshop
Puppeteering in 4 Simple Steps with Lee Armstrong, Images in Motion Inc.

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?” Learn ways to share puppet performance with a group of children. Explore the versatile art of puppeteering both with and without a stage. Make a couple of quick puppet takeaways for your puppet resource kit. Bring a puppet or puppets provided courtesy of our friends at Folkmanis Puppets

Learn more about Images in Motion –

10:00 AM Show
“Stinky tales: Personal Spaces & more” By Doug Zesiger & Anne Zesiger

Dillard the impulsive dragon learns that different people have different physical space needs. He also learns that teasing shrinks friendships. Doug Zesiger, master classroom teacher and storyteller, has created the world of Stinky Tales, an interactive storytelling experience that brings children and puppets together to explore the tricky social problems they face every day. Doug expertly facilitates interactions between the puppets and his audiences. Children directly relate to the stories and are excited to share their thinking and problem solving skills. This magical combination of a master teacher, beloved puppet friends and the power of storytelling builds confidence, empathy and a toolbox of social skills for audiences. Award winning children’s music artist, Anne Zesiger adds original songs that help support the message and create a musical takeaway for families to enjoy long after. 
Approx. 30 minutes.
Best for ages 3 to 8.

10:40 AM – 11:10 AM
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.

11:15 AM Show & Workshop
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

12:00 PM – LUNCH

1:00 PM
Expressive Collage Puppetry Workshop: Fostering Self-Expression with Daniel Gill

Participants will learn how to facilitate expressive collage puppets with children. Participants will become familiar with how to introduce simple collage techniques, then guide their students in using everyday materials, such as paper and craft sticks, to create their own expressive collage puppet faces. Participants will learn how to integrate children’s books, theater games, and action songs into this activity, as well as use visual supports to make the activity accessible for all learners.

2:00 PM
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.

3:00 PM
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.

Learn more about Magical Moonshine Theatre –

The Educators Workshops end at 3:50 PM,
but you can extend your stay with…

These shows are included in the day pass with 2 additional shows
Tickets can be purchased individually: Adults – $15, Children – $10

4:00 PM
Performance of “Carnival of the Animals” by Fratello Marionettes

Classic fairy tales brought to life with marionettes, woven together with Saint-Saens’ score. Fratello is the Premier San Francisco Bay Area Marionette Company.

Saint-Saens’ fanciful score serves as a canvas upon which three classic storybook fairy tales are interwoven: “The Three Little Pigs”, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, and “The Ugly Duckling”. This production is performed without dialog, allowing the classical score to shine. The puppets and puppeteers perform on a raised stage, fully visible to the audience.

Family Friendly.
30 minutes plus Q&A and Show & Tell

Kevin Menegus

Founder of Fratello Marionettes, Kevin became intrigued by puppetry after receiving a puppet as a gift at age six. Kevin went on to apprentice with some of the leading puppeteers in the country, including Tony Urbano, Bob Baker, Randal Metz and Lewis Mahlmann, learning from them while developing unique building and performing styles of his own.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of The Pacific Conservatory of Music. This comes in handy for selecting and orchestrating the right music for each marionette performance. Kevin has performed for audiences around the world, including several major cruise lines.

Learn more about Fratello Marionettes –

Purchase Individual Tickets to Carnival of the Animals

5:00 PM Evening Activities
Social Hour, Puppet Exhibit, Puppet Store & Explore Sonoma’s Galleries & Restaurants.

7:00 PM
Performance of “Animalitos” by Magical Moonshine Theatre

A collection of Aesop’s fables woven together in a magical puppet dance. A rabbit starts a race with a tortoise, but seeing that he has plenty of time, he wanders off, and gets involved with a fox who is trying to court a crane with a romantic dinner for two. With some clever tricks they manage to get some food to serve but things go awry when the fox talks the rabbit into being the waiter for the meal. Meanwhile the tortoise is getting closer and closer to the finish line…

Approx. 40 minutes plus Q & A.
Family Friendly. Recommended for children ages 4 and up.
This story is told in a combination of English and Spanish.
This show won the Golden Apple Award for Best Children’s Play at the World Puppet Carnival in Almaty, Kazakhstan, October, 2011.

Magical Moonshine Theatre(MMT)

MMT was founded in 1979 by Michael and Valerie Nelson. Performances have been seen coast to coast in the U.S., as well as internationally with performances in 18 countries in 8 different languages.

Michael Nelson, Director and Co-Founder studied puppetry at the International Puppetry Institute with the late Jim Henson of the Muppets.  Additionally, Nelson has taught puppet theatre arts at the Napa Valley College; was a California Arts Council Artist in Residency; has been a regular writer for the national journal of puppetry; is a past president of the San Francisco Bay Area Puppetry Guild; and is a past-President of UNIMA-USA.

Valerie Nelson, Musical Director and Co-Founder is trained in Montessori method, majored in vocal music, has been and is a member of numerous choirs, and has been featured on a number of recording projects. She co-founded Magical Moonshine Theatre with husband Michael in 1979. She is past faculty member of Tennessee Arts Academy, past workshop director of the National Puppetry Festival, and currently, along with Michael, is a California Arts Council Artist in the Schools.

Purchase Individual Tickets to Animalitos

Join us for a day filled with creativity, learning, and fun!
This program is brought to you by the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild, as part of their 
Northern California Puppet Festival, Aug 2-3.

Many thanks to the Nick Barone Memorial Scholarship Fund, Folkmanis & the Sonoma Community Center for their helpful support of our Festival Workshops

Stay updated on the latest from the Center