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Home > Performances > 2012 National Puppet Slam

National Puppet Slam

National Puppet Slam
Illustration by Valerie Meiss

2012-13 New Directions Series for Adults & Teens
Ages 18+ ONLY

Aug 3 - 4, 2012
Mainstage Theater

•Fri-Sat: 8pm

Puppet Slam (noun): A curated collection of short-form pieces of adult puppet theater. Used in a sentence: “There are 60 Puppet Slams in the world-wide Puppet Slam Network.”

Experience the beauty, ingenuity, and hilarity of short form puppet theatre in this showcase of Puppet Slams from across the country. Nominated by their respective slams and curated by The Puppet Slam Network and the Center for Puppetry Arts, the nation’s best will be on display for two nights only.

Learn more about The Puppet Slam Network at:

Puppetry Style:

Produced by:

Behind the Scenes of
National Puppet Slam 2012

About the Puppeteers

Gwen Bonar is a second generation puppeteer who started puppetry as soon as she was able to walk and talk.  A professional puppeteer from the Great Arizona Puppet Theater, she has performed all around the state of Arizona as well as numerous guest performances at theaters around the country.  She has also had the pleasure to perform internationally, including Kazahkstan this Fall.  She is excited to perform her Puppet Slam piece and thanks her parents, Nancy Smith and Ken Bonar, for their continued love and support.

Leila Ghaznavi is an actor, puppeteer, and playwright currently based in Philadelphia, PA. She has been featured as an emerging artist at the Eugene O’Neill puppetry conference and her original multi-media puppet work, "Silken Veils," received five stars and was nominated for best new work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. "Silken Veils" has been featured on The Leonard Lopate Show, BBC Persia and Voice of America. Her featured work, "Remembrances," was workshopped at the Eugene O’Neill puppetry conference as a participant piece and was presented at 2011 Puppetry Festival, UNIMA Day in NYC, and the Puppet Pandemic Slam in Philadelphia. Leila Ghaznavi has an M.F.A. in acting from the California Institute of the arts and is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.

Honey Goodenough is a New York City-based puppeteer, producer, costume designer, educator, clown, and magician. She earned her MA in Educational Theater from NYU, and a BA in costume design from the University of Texas at Austin. She has produced many puppetry-related events since 2008, including the premiere of Puppet Rampage (Puppeteers of America Festival Documentary film). Honey has also co-curated Emerging Artist Theater's Laugh Out Loud: Clown and Puppetry Festival in 2009, the Voice 4 Vision Puppetry Slams hosted at The Theater for the New City in December 2011, as well as the UNIMA USA: Celebration of World Puppetry, hosted by Teatro Sea. She is a three-time recipient of the Puppet Slam Network grant to produce PUPPET PANDEMIC, a showcase of puppetry works developed during The National Puppetry Conference at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center - this supports the Alumni Scholarship, to help artists create more short-form puppetry work.  Honey has been touring her work from Brooklyn to Brookline, Austin to Boston and throughout the Puppet Slam Network for the past four years. She is thrilled to be invited to the inaugural National Puppetry Slam at the Center for Puppetry Arts! And yes, Honey Goodenough is her real name. 

Lyon Hill takes his inspiration from comics, animation, pop up books, view master reels, and other graphic arts. In his work, he combines these diverse mediums to create new hybrids. He and his wife, Jenny Mae, live with their son, Oliver, in Columbia, SC and collect lots of things.
"Supine" is a nightmare experienced by his wife. Small paper puppets are projected large scale to tell the surreal story of a woman being chased through a desolate city by a shadowy figure.

Travis Lope is a performer, puppet designer, costume designer, and technician. Favorite credits include working with Dr. Cosby on Cosby, Lewis Black in Black Humor and Lorenzo Lamos in Dracula. Travis particularly enjoys building larger-than-life puppets. Ranging from six-foot dragon heads and dinosaurs to a 31-foot-tall, cable-controlled Giant for Ronald Dahlís BFG. Travisís puppets and puppeteering have been featured in television commercials for the Connecticut State Lottery and Bob's Discount Furniture. He recently finished graduate school at the University of Connecticut, where he is a candidate for an MFA in Puppetry. The Enchanted Vanity Set is an original work that began as a class assignment. Interestingly, a psychic predicted a project that Travis produced would take off faster than expected. Less than a year later, he was invited to perform The Enchanted Vanity Set in four different states. He is more than delighted to perform it now for you.

Spencer Lott is a freelance puppeteer. He develops and produces commercials and online video content as well as live stage productions. This summer his work was on display at the Springfield Art Association and his original puppet shows “The Bicycle Brothers from Ohio” and “Bigfoot’s Magical Moped” are now in development. Recently Spencer has performed in Puppet Slams in Kansas City, New York City, and Chicago. After the National Puppet Slam, Spencer will return to Kansas City where he will acting in Theatre Gym’s adaptation of “The Miser” by Moliere. You can see more about his puppetry at

Katie McClenahan's love affair with puppets was sparked by a certain green, Balinese sea captain puppet named Captain Clamp. He and Katie were part of a roving pirate, puppet rock opera band consortium called Jollyship the Whiz-bang. After years of touring, Katie departed the high seas to find her landlubbing ways were far more productive. Currently residing in Portland, OR, Katie runs Beady Little Eyes, a puppet event company that specializes in keeping adult short-form puppetry alive in the Pacific Northwest.   When she is not curating puppet-based events, she can be found hiking in the mountains, swimming in waterfalls, eating Neapolitan pizza, or producing commercial photo shoots.  Check out her blog:

Carla Rhodes has been practicing the art of ventriloquism since the age of 9, after seeing Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop on television, and to her absolute delight, was later mentored by her hero. Throughout her teens, Carla performed all over her hometown of Louisville, KY. She has been living and performing in New York City since 2004, at legendary venues such as Joe's Pub. Recently, Carla has performed a full-length rock'n'roll  ventriloquism show entitled "The Continuing Story of Carla Rhodes." Time Out New York proclaims the show “is an idiosyncratic neo-retro blend of ventriloquism, rock music and comic storytelling" and she “throws her voice like a curveball, bringing old-school ventriloquism skills to new-school puppets (including one of Keith Richards).” She's beyond thrilled to be part of the 2012 Puppet Slam... we wish we could say her cantankerous sidekick Cecil Sinclaire shared the same feelings!

Therese Schorn is a NY based puppeteer, clown, and designer.  She most recently performed in the N.Y. Voice for Vision puppet slam. She also performed and taught at the 2011 International Yunlin Puppet Festival in Taiwan. She is a 23-year veteran of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care, bringing puppetry, music, and clowning to hospitalized children. Therese is a designer and puppeteer with The Grand Falloons.  Shows include “A Village of Fools” for The Theater for the New City, NY  and “Peaceable Kingdom,” a puppet and physical theater play with a cast of 24 children for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She also constructs and performs with giant puppets for Nyack’s Halloween Parade. She is excited to bring "Tuvlo the Amazing" to the National Puppet Slam.

Gregg Van Laningham is a puppeteer who got his start in the world of puppet slams. He has written and performed dozens of shows over the course of the past two years, and currently works as a freelance puppeteer in Atlanta with a specialty in science education. Gregg often collaborates with his best friend and creative partner Qate Bean, and together the two of them have performed for audiences ranging from a 4-year-old's birthday party to a crowd of hundreds at Dragon*Con. In his spare time, Gregg earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech, and he currently tends bar at an Italian restaurant to supplement his puppetry income.

National Puppet Slam Curator
Beau Brown

Stage Manager
Jessica Lewis

Technical Director
Bill Jones

Resident Puppet Builder
Jason von Hinezmeyer

Master Electrician
Gregory Montague

Electrics Intern
Dylan Phillips

Liz Lee

Artistic Director
Jon Ludwig

Assoc. Technical Director
Ryan Sbaratta

Puppet Builder
Stephanie McCoy

Resident Stage Manager Gillian Wilson

Puppet Shop Intern

Rachel DelGaudio

Assoc. Producer
Kristin Haverty

Artistic Associate
Michael Haverty

2012-13 Season sponsored in part by:
season sponsors logo

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