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Northern California Puppet Festival – Saturday Itinerary

August 3 @ 9:00 am 8:00 pm

  • Puppet Parade: Kick off the day with an engaging procession of puppets!
  • Workshops Galore: Choose from 6 captivating workshops
  • In-Depth Learning: Participate in 2 tw-part workshops
  • Remarkable Shows: Enjoy 2 engaging, professional puppet performances.
  • Evening Puppet SLAM: End the day with showstopping variety acts.

Registration Options

Saturday Workshops
General Admission: $25 per workshop

Puppeteer Guild Members receive 20% off.
Minimum of $75(3 workshops) must be selected to apply the code.

Saturday Shows
Adults: $15
Children: $10

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.

After becoming a member you will receive your discount code for 20% off, if you select a minimum of $75 or more (3 or more workshops)

Schedule of Workshops & Shows

9:30 AM
Puppet Parade – Sonoma Square to SCC

Gather near the City Hall horseshoe driveway around 9 am with your puppets (any type from tiny to giant puppets) or be cheering support. At 9:30 the parade will move down the horseshoe drive, turning east (left) on the sidewalk. Keeping to the sidewalk and crosswalk, we will joyfully parade to the Sonoma Community Center 2 blocks away, arriving in time for the show “Tommy’s Space Adventure” at SCC’s Andrews Hall.

10:00 – 10:50 AM Show ~ Andrews Hall
Tommy’s Space Adventure by Puppet Art Theater

Embark on an out-of-this-world journey with “Tommy’s Space Adventure,” a spellbinding puppet show that blends the magic of live performance with captivating digital sets and animations. Meet Tommy, a young explorer whose love for outer space and extraterrestrial tales knows no bounds. His wildest dream? To encounter a genuine space alien. Little does he know, his wish is on the brink of becoming reality.

Puppet Art Theater, Art Grueneberger, Director, Producer, Puppeteer
With a keen sense of humor and a flair for drama, Art has become a master at developing marvelous puppet shows that delight audiences of all ages. His company boasts eighteen family productions that tour across California and beyond, performing over 500 live shows annually. The pandemic inspired creative expansions, leading to online programs featuring digital sets and animations that engage family audiences worldwide. In addition to family shows, Puppet Art Theater Co. produces educational performances for government agencies, corporations, and other organizations, conveying important messages to targeted audiences. Grueneberger’s notable directing credits include Peter and the Wolf (Philadelphia), Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors (Sacramento), and Big Dreams, Small Shoulders (CAM Theater). He has also been a Guest Director at California State University, Sacramento (Avenue Q, Kennedy Center’s Outstanding Ensemble Award), and the University of California, Davis (Man of La Mancha). Visit for more details.

Tickets can be purchased individually:
Adults – $15, Children – $10

11:00 – 11:50 AM Workshop ~ Room 110
Social Media for Puppeteers w/ Grant Baclocco

TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram. There are so many social media platforms it can get confusing figuring out how and what 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 making some money by doing so. 
Grant Baciocco is a SAG-AFTRA puppeteer who trained with The Jim Henson Company and has performed in television and movies. Credits include The Muppets, Earth To Ned, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Wet Hot American Summer. He is also the creator of Toiley T. Paper who has over 3 million followers on Tiktok and over 300k followers on Instagram.

11:00 – 11:50 AM Workshop ~ Room 213
Improv for Puppeteers w/ Heather & Martin Gobbée

This 50-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!

Heather & Martin Gobbée met in graduate school at Brandeis University where they both received their MFA’s in Acting. As actors, they moved to NYC and joined the Actors Equity Association (AEA). Later Martin joined SAG/AFTRA while Heather pursued NYC Teacher Certification in Theater Arts, where she taught acting and Improvisation in Brooklyn at The Children’s School, and later Creative Movement for St. Thomas More Play Group, NYC. Prior to that Martin studied Improv at ImprovOlympic with Del Close and founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade in Chicago. As an Irene Ryan Nominee, Heather has studied solo performance with Bill Irwin, Rachel Rosenthal. Heather is a founding member and puppeteer of the Blue Room in Chico, CA and has since studied puppetry with David Fino, Paul McGinnis, Pam Severns, Alex Griffin, Art Grueneberger, Stacey Gordon, and worked alongside Lee Armstrong, Andrew Kim, and Donovan Zimmerman.

12:00 – 1:00 PM ~ LUNCH

1:00 – 2:50 PM Workshop ~ Room 110
TV Puppetry w/ Sean & Patrick Johnson Swazzle Inc.

Sean and Patrick Johnson will present a workshop on the basics of television puppetry. Participants will be led through activities that demonstrate proper lip sync, eye focus, puppet walks and more with the goal of creating dynamic and believable characters.
Sean and Patrick Johnson have performed puppets for film, television, new media and the stage. Some notable projects include The Pee-wee Herman Show, Showtime’s Kidding staring Jim Carrey, Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers and The Muppets.

This is a two part workshop. Parts 1 & 2 are being sold in a single registration.

1:00 – 2:50 PM Workshop ~ Room 201
One Pattern, Three Ways w/ 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.
Kit Fee $25

C. E. Choy is a seasoned educator with two decades as an award-winning Drama Director for the Fairfield-Suisun school District, nurturing budding actors and bringing captivating performances to life. With her expertise, she not only taught the art of acting but also empowered students to delve into the enchanting world of puppetry, guiding them in the intricate process of puppet building and manipulation. It was with these students that she created Bok Choy’s Puppets, donating any profit to the drama program. Now retired, C. E. builds on commission, sending her creations all over the world–from a street artist in Italy, to a famous ventriloquist in Belgium. Join her as she shares her wealth of knowledge and ignites your imagination in the magical realm of puppeteering.

1:00 – 1:50 PM Workshop ~ Andrews Hall
The Argument for Rod Puppets, a Workshop with Art Grueneberger of Puppet Art Theater

Come play with Art and explore the versatility of the simple Rod Puppet.
– Uncover why rod puppets reign supreme with their lightweight, yet durable design, perfect for intricate performances and grand productions alike.
– Delve into the simple mechanics, discovering how simple mechanisms can enhance your rod puppets with basic levers, unlocking boundless storytelling potential.
– Learn to leverage the audiences’ imagination by exploring character, relationship and patterns.

Embark on a journey of creativity, whether you’re a seasoned puppeteer or a curious novice. Let your imagination soar as you bring your rod puppet characters to vibrant life!

Art Grueneberger, a multifaceted talent as Director, Producer, and Puppeteer, combines humor and drama to create enchanting puppet shows. As the driving force behind Puppet Art Theater Co., he orchestrates 500+ live performances annually, captivating audiences across California and beyond. Adapting to the digital era, his company now offers online programs merging live puppetry with digital sets, engaging families worldwide. Beyond family entertainment, Grueneberger helms productions for diverse audiences, from opera to symphony adaptations. His expertise extends to guest directing at esteemed institutions and consulting for renowned theater companies. Recently, he showcased his skills as a Featured Guest Artist at The National Puppetry Conference, where he workshopped a production of the musical Sweeney Todd featuring life-sized puppets.

2:00 – 2:50 PM Workshop ~ Room 213
Rod-Arm Puppet Choreography w/ 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!

Gabriel Galdamez has been enthusiastically involved in puppetry and creative arts for over 20 years. He especially enjoys blending different disciplines and adapting storybooks into theatrical productions. Throughout his career, he has taught 100+ workshops on puppetry, creativity, and leadership at the regional, national, and international level throughout the US, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. He is currently serving as the President of the Fellowship of Christian Puppeteers and previously served on the SF Bay Area Puppeteers Guild Board. When he isn’t working as a Communications Consultant, you can find him planning his next travel adventure, in a studio recording voice-over, or in the air on the flying trapeze.

3:00 – 3:50 PM Workshop ~ Room 110
Intro to Shadow Puppetry w/ Margot Marie Fitzsimmons

An introduction to shadow puppetry and construction. A practical introduction to dramatic movement and contemporary shadow puppetry. 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.

Margot Marie Fitzsimmons is a theater and film director, puppetry artist, producer, and arts educator focusing on children’s content. She received the Winifred Ward Memorial Scholarship Award in 2016 for excellence in theater for young audiences. As Executive Director of FitzSili Productions, she highlights underrepresented communities and celebrates diverse artists and audiences. Her work has been showcased in the U.S., Holland, Israel, Germany, Taiwan, and Austria. Margot has studied with renowned puppeteers such as Ralph Lee and Pam Arciero (U.S.), Diego Guzman (Spain), and Norbert Goetz (Germany). She has worked with Double Image Theatre Lab and Spellbound Theatre, receiving Jim Henson Seed and Project Grants. She holds degrees from Dickinson College, NYU, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

3:00 – 3:50 PM Workshop ~ Room 201
Giant Puppets w/ 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.
Elizabeth Leonard has been creating hand, rod and shadow puppet shows since 2007, celebrating multiple cultures and themes with audiences all over the Sacramento and Bay Areas. She just put on her 5th family-friendly puppetry slam called “Puppet Ruckus” at The Stage at Burke Junction, in Cameron Park, and built a new 12-foot giant puppet to celebrate, named “Magical Mama Cat”. 

4:00 PM Show ~ Andrews Hall
The Green Bird by Oregon Shadow Theatre

A shadow play based on Mexican Folktales
Behind the illuminated shadow screen, colorful shadow puppets come to life and tell the story of The Green Bird. A drum roll and a cymbal crash, the calliope sound of a button accordion, and the play begins: a boy is transformed into a fortune-telling bird by a magician. A brave girl journeys through Mexico to save him. In her travels, she encounters fantastic characters and scenes from Mexico’s rich folkloric traditions. She sees skeletons dancing to the song La Bamba at a Day of the Dead fiesta. The climax of the play is set in the bull ring, where the audience joins in shouting “Ole!”
Colorful and intricate shadow puppets combine with live music, voices and sound effects to create a delightful family entertainment.

The Oregon Shadow Theatre is a Portland Oregon based company specializing in the art of shadow puppetry. Their award-winning shadow plays have toured across the United States and in Canada, including performances at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Detroit Institute of Arts, Festival Place in Alberta, the Chilliwack Cultural Centre in British Columbia, the Puppeteers of America National Puppet Festivals, the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts and The Northwest Puppet Center in Seattle, Washington. OST productions are noted for exquisite, colorful puppets, live music and sound effects, and lively good humor. Among other honors, OST has twice received the Unima Citation for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry.
Oregon Shadow Theatre is a collaboration of shadow puppeteer Deb Chase and musician and actor Mick Doherty.

7:00 PM Show (Approximately 2.5 Hours) ~ Andrews Hall
Forbidden Puppet Cabaret “Summer of Puppet Love” SLAM

Forbidden Puppet Cabaret gathers eclectic, eccentric puppet artists for the purpose of presenting short works of unbridled theatre, at S. F. Bay Area Venues. 

Dust off your hippie tie dye and groovy headbands and join us for a ’60s style puppet love fest as Forbidden Puppet Cabaret celebrates the Bay Area’s best and most fun puppet acts for grown-ups.
Explore the hip art world of underground puppetry with a collection of short form puppet acts, from coolio experimental explorations, to far out stylish presentations by master puppeteers. 
There will be adult beverages available.

Your groovy MCs, Michael and Valerie Nelson, have been organizing and presenting the popular Forbidden Puppet Cabaret at Bay Area locations for over a decade. The couple are professional puppeteers, producing both family and adult shows since the late 1970s. They have performed in 18 countries around the world, in 8 different languages and their history includes a short stint as house puppet troupe for an aphrodisiac factory in Napa. They are responsible for the Vallejo Giant Puppet Project and have worked with numerous theatres and events, providing puppetry and support. And they are really fun folks. Join them for what they promise will be a fantastic evening of puppetry.
This event is supported in part by the Puppet Slam Network

Quotes from past audience members:

“THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This was the BEST Saturday night I’ve had in a long time thanks to the wonderful world of puppetry. I appreciate the puppeteers’ efforts in bringing such an eclectic array of performances. YOU GUYS ROCK!”

“The woman sitting behind us was laughing so hard I thought she might fall out of her chair.”

“This was my first time attending a puppet show of any sort and can’t wait to go again.”

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

Sponsored by the S.F. Bay Area Puppeteers Guild

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