Puppet Arts Courses


  • In addition to the Objectives listed, all courses attempt to aquaint the student with the essence and scope of the Puppet Arts through the focus of the course topic. There is also constant development of skills in critical evaluation through classroom projects and attendance at professional events in the field.
  • Course Objectives and Projects often change with each new offering of the class.
  • Graduate Students take Undergraduate Course Topics for Graduate Credit with the addition of Graduate Projects.

DRAM 3601 Puppetry I (Hand Puppetry or Shadow Theatre)

Hand Puppetry


  • To practice and develop manipulation techniques.
  • To learn basic glove puppet construction techniques.


  • Development and performance of a Hand Pantomime.
  • Construction and performance of two Glove Puppets.
  • Design, construction and performance of aPVD/Graham-style Glove Puppet.
  • Design, construction and performance of a basic “Moving Mouth” Hand Puppet.

Shadow Theatre


  • To gain an understanding of the phenomena of Shadow Theatre within various world cultures.
  • To teach techniques of shadow figure construction, manipulation & production.
  • To give experience in the selection and adaptation of material for shadow theatre.
  • To provide the opportunity for designing & directing a shadow production.


  • Construction & performance of a Chinese-style shadow figure (flexible rod).
  • Construction & performance of an Indonesian or Indian-style shadow figure (vertical rod).
  • Construction & performance of a Turkish or Greekstyle shadow figure (horizontal rod).
  • Construction & performance of a European-style shadow figure (tab).
  • Construction & performance of an Australian-style shadow figure (flexible rod).
  • Exploration of American Shadow Projection and Illusion.
  • Development and presentation of a projected shadow project.
  • Selection, adaptation, design and direction of a short shadow production utilizing any one, or combination of the techniques studied.

DRAM 3602 Advanced Puppetry Techniques I (Paper Sculpture or Materials Techniques)

Paper Sculpture


  • To acquaint the student with The Papier Methode as developed by Albrecht Roser.
  • To develop sculptural skills using paper as a medium.
  • To explore and develop new processes for making paper sculpture practical as a puppet building medium.
  • To learn patterning, dimensioning and pantograph scaling.
  • To fully realize a Scarf Marionette and a full-figure animal Hand Puppet using The Papier Methode.
  • To perform with the two figures.


  • Sculpture and Construction of puppet heads and appendages using The Papier Methode.
  • Complete Construction of a Head and Shoulder Marionette and a full-figure animal Hand Puppet.
  • 3 to 5 minute performances with the Scarf Puppet and the full-figure animal Hand Puppet.

Materials Techniques


  • To give experience in Character Design.
  • To teach basic techniques in Clay, Styrofoam and Wood Sculpture.
  • To give opportunities of practice in Mold-Making, Casting and Finishing Techniques.
  • To work with Papier Maché and Latex/Neoprene as Casting Materials.


  • Design and Clay Sculpture of a Simple Puppet Head.
  • Creation of an Ultracal Mold.
  • Realization of a Latex/Neoprene Head Cast.
  • Styrofoam Sculpture of a Simple Puppet Head.
  • Completion of a Papier Maché Puppet Head.
  • Completion of Papier Maché Puppet Hands sculpted from Styrofoam.
  • Completion of a Simple Puppet Head, sculpted from Bass Wood.

DRAM 3603 Puppetry II (Rod Puppetry or Mask Theatre)

Rod Puppetry


  • To teach the basic techniques of rod puppet construction and manipulation.
  • To develop an understanding of the rod puppet’s historical use and application.
  • To provide the opportunity for designing and exploring several rod puppet styles and mechanisms.


  • Construction of a Bass-style table puppet.
  • Solo performance of the Bass-style table puppet.
  • Construction of an Indonesian-style rod figure.
  • Group performance of an Indonesian-style rod figure.
  • Construction of Limb Joints.
  • Construction of a Head Mechanism.
  • Construction of a Fetitov-style rod figure.
  • Group performance of the Fetitov-style rod figure.
  • Adaptation and presentation of Mid-term Project.

Mask Theatre


  • To teach the basic techniques of mask construction and manipulation.
  • To teach face casting techniques.
  • To give experience in the use and application of alginate, papier mâché and H-Form Thermoplastic.
  • To provide the opportunity for conceiving, directing and performing mask vignettes.


  • Casting the face of a classmate in plaster.
  • Design, construction and performance of a Paper Mâché Neutral Mask.
  • Midterm research paper on a Commedia character.
  • Design, construction and performance of a H-Form Thermoplastic Commedia Half Mask.
  • Final performances of the Neutral Mask and the Commedia Mask.

DRAM 3604 Advanced Puppetry Techniques II (Puppetry in Television or UV/Black Theatre)

UV/Black Theatre


  • To explore Black Light (UV) and “Czech” Black Theatre.
  • To practice and develop manipulation techniques.
  • To learn construction techniques.
  • To develop a sense for “magic” and “transformation”.


  • Development and performance of an Abstract UV Vignette.
  • Construction of personal Puppeteer Blacks.
  • Development and performance of a Group UV Pantomime.
  • Creation of a Storyboard for a Two-Person Black Theatre Story.
  • Development of one and performance of two Two- Person Black Theatre Stories.

Puppetry in Television


  • To examine and analyze the ways that the Puppet Arts have been and are being used in television performance.
  • To gain an understanding of equipment, processes and techniques necessary for television production.
  • To practice and develop television performance techniques.


  • Puppet Manipulation.
  • Scene and Script development.
  • Construction of “Muppet Eyes”
  • Construction of a basic “Moving Mouth” Hand Puppet.
  • Construction of a simple foam "Moving Mouth" Hand Puppet.

DRAM 3611 Trends in Contemporary American Puppet Theatre


  • To explore the influences on Contemporary American
  • Puppet Theatre from the 1870’s through the present.
  • To become acquainted with the contributors to the Contemporary American Puppet Theatre.
  • To identify options and to project personal goals.


  • Assigned reading.
  • Topic Reports, delivered in written and oral forms.
  • Development of a Five Year Plan.

DRAM 5601 Marionette Performance


  • To learn basic Roser-style Scarf Marionette construction & performance techniques.
  • To build and perform a Baird/Fuller-style Geometric Marionette.
  • To remount, rehearse and perform The Rufus Rose Marionettes’ production of “Snow White and 3 of the
    7 Little Dwarfs”.
  • To learn care and maintenance of a touring marionette show.


  • Construction of a Scarf Marionette and performance of a vignette.
  • Construction of a Geometric Marionette and performance of a vignette.
  • Full and active participation as a company member (performer/technician/crew) in the remounting of “Snow White and 3 of the 7 Little Dwarfs”.

DRAM 5602 Marionette Construction


  • To learn basic marionette construction and performance techniques.
  • To practice and develop marionette manipulation skills.


  • Design, Planning and Construction of a Jointed Marionette.
  • Preparation and Performance of a Marionette vignette.

DRAM 5603 Puppet Theatre Production or “Isms” - Art Movements of the Early 20th

Puppet Theatre Production


  • To consider the multitude of expressions within the puppet theatre and their various applications.
  • To develop an understanding of the planning required to mount a puppet theatre production.
  • To develop a practical approach to puppet theatre production.


  • Choice of Vehicle.
  • Script/Scenario development.
  • Story boarding of vehicle.
  • Needs planning.
  • Budget planning.
  • Character/Costume, Scene/Light & Prop Design.
  • Finalized Script/Scenario, Story Board, Design, Materials Needs, Production Personnel, Production Schedule and Budget.

“Isms” - Art Movements of the Early 20th Century


  • To reference the 20th Century Art Movements through the study of 19th Century Theatre, Society and Politics.
  • To study and understand the various 20th Century Art Movements and puppetry’s contibutions to them.
  • To produce a puppetry event within a chosen “ism”.


  • Assigned readings and reports.
  • Preparation and Performance of a puppetry event within a chosen “ism”.

DRAM 5610: Advanced Puppet Theatre

The exploration of various styles of Hand Puppet performance, including Hand Pantomime, Glove Puppets and Moving Mouth Puppets. To support the performance aspects of this class, several puppets will be designed and fabricated.

DRAM 3998: Approaches to Theatre Devising

Devised theatre is a form of theatre where the performance and/or script originates not from a writer or writers, but from collaborative work by the creative team. This method has been employed by puppet and physical theatre creators for a long time and has been drawing more and more attention in recent years.

In this practical class, we will explore different approaches and methods to devising and create an environment that is safe, engaging, challenging, collaborative and invigorating.

Everyone can contribute! Everyone has a voice! Everyone can create!

DRAM 4194: Movement-based Performance for the Puppet Theatre

Movement-based performance for the Puppet Theatre is designed to awaken and develop imaginative and skilled theatrical performers through the exploration of movement-based theatre techniques and devising work.

This course will develop performance skills, rooted in the ideas of the playful performer, the physical performer and the performer-creator. Students will explore and cultivate awareness, complicity, imagination, creativity, and ability to devise original and inspired theatre work.  They will search for and discover theatrical expression and go beyond realism, finding meanings in metaphors and symbols that are essential to art and theatre.

DRAM 5607: Materials and Techniques for Puppetry (Online Only)

In this class students will learn the basics of designing and building puppets.  Traditional puppet making techniques as well as new technologies will be discussed in detail, providing the student with a solid foundation in character design, technical drawings, process planning, materials, sculpting, carving, mold making, and more.  This will be a fully hands on, practical class where the students will be creating puppets and participating in online critiques.

DRAM 5617: World Puppet Theatre*

This class examines the history and theory of puppet and object performance in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas as a network of global, intercultural traditions. In it, we develop our means of understanding and articulating our sense of the arts of puppet and object performance as we examine how different forms of puppetry have existed in different communities at different times. We understand this vast and exciting subject with a network of varied perspectives including theater history, performance studies, anthropology, semiotics, phenomenology, script writing, theater criticism, art history, and practitioners’ perspectives.

DRAM 5697: Special Topics – Boston Pops Production*

Working as a Creative Production Team, class members will participate in choosing music from the compositions of Leroy Anderson; determining story, storyboard and choreography; and designing and fabricating puppets and sets for the performances of the UConn Puppet Arts Program with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall, Boston.

* Open to Juniors and Seniors with Instructor approval.

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