Puppet Arts Courses

The courses and projects of the Puppet Arts Program are designed to imbue the students with the history and theories of Puppetry, to give them practice in multiple performance expressions and to give them experience with a variety of tools and materials. In addition to Puppet Arts courses, students are guided to take movement classes, fabric manipulation classes, design classes, drawing classes, rendering classes and stop motion classes.  

Please note: 

  • Puppet Arts courses acquaint students with foundational principles and the diversity of practice of puppetry 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 typically change with each new offering of the class. 
  • Most courses are open to both undergraduate and graduate students with different course numbers; graduate students are expected to undertake additional graduate projects in these shared courses to receive graduate credit. 
  • In addition to the courses listed below, Puppet Arts students also take variable topic and independent study and receive credit for practicums involving major artistic contribution(s) in writing, designing, building, directing, and/or performing a production in the Department of Dramatic Arts or Connecticut Repertory Theatre. 

DRAM 1501: Introduction to World Puppetry

Introduction to the global culture of puppetry, from Punch and Judy and Javanese shadow theater to robots, sports mascots, and Burning Man. Puppet performances in terms of their combination of visual art, performance, text, music, social, political, and religious contexts of puppet performances. 

DRAM 3601/5601: Mask Theatre

Masking as a theatrical and sculptural practice is studied through the design, fabrication and performance of historical and contemporary forms.  

DRAM 3602/5602: Paper Sculpture 

Sculpture and design techniques are practiced using the Roser Papier Methode for puppet fabrication. Full realization and performance of the sculptures as puppets completes the design exploration. 

DRAM 3603/5604: Rod Puppetry 

A practical exploration of rod puppet theatre through the design, fabrication, and performance of several forms of rod puppetry. 

DRAM 3604/5605: Puppetry in Television

Analysis and practical experience with television techniques for the Puppet Arts. Projects include design, fabrication and performance of Moving-mouth Puppets and other forms suited for the televisual medium.

DRAM 3605/5613: Shadow Theatre

The worldwide phenomena of Shadow Theatre are explored through cultural studies; figure design, fabrication and performance; storyboarding; and production development for both direct screen and projected presentations.

DRAM 3607/5605: Materials Techniques

Techniques such as character design, clay sculpture, mold making, slush casting, painting, foam carving, over-casting and wood carving are explored through practice as foundations for puppet fabrication.

DRAM 3608/5610: Hand Puppetry

Hand puppet animation techniques are developed via forms such as Hand Pantomime, Glove Puppet and Moving-mouth Puppet performance. Design and fabrication methods complement the performance study.

DRAM 3609/5611: UV/Czech Black Theatre

Practical exploration of UV ("Black Light") and Czech Black Theatre ("Curtain of Light") techniques as applied in the Puppet Theatre.

DRAM 3610/5619: Movement-Based Performance for the Puppet Theatre I & II

Awaken and develop imaginative and skilled theatrical performers through devising work and exploration of movement-based theatre techniques.

DRAM 3611/5616: Trends in Contemporary American Puppet Theatre 

A study of the major trends in drama, design styles and production of the puppet theatre in North America past and present.

DRAM 3612: Plays for Puppet Theatre

Surveying the dramatic repertoire of plays written or devised for puppets, this course considers translation from page to stage, develops skills in textual analysis and dramaturgy, and mines these play texts as models for composing new plays for puppets.

DRAM 3615. Object Theatre

A practical exploration of object theatre, also known as thing theatre or found object performance, a modern form of stage animation in which ordinary household objects and materials take on the appearance of life. Emphasis is placed on creating original performances in established and emerging styles of performance.

DRAM 5603. Puppet Theatre Production

Strategies for developing and executing the skills involved in mounting Puppet Productions, includes planning, scripting, designing, scheduling, budgeting, and identifying appropriate personnel.

DRAM 5608: Marionette Performance

Exploration and skill development with the pendular attributes of a string puppet using several different performance figures. 

DRAM 5609: Marionette Construction

Design, construction and performance of a full-figure string puppet.

DRAM 5612: Puppetry and Modernism

Examination of how old and new practices of puppet and object performance from cultures around the world co-exist and/or conflict in the modern world, and how modern artists, performers, writers, and theorists have expanded possibilities for puppets and performing objects to articulate ideas.

DRAM 5612: Puppet Arts Aesthetics

Research and study of the myriad forms of Puppet Arts expression and the aesthetics that guide them.

DRAM 5617: World Puppet Theatre

A worldwide survey of the Puppet Arts as they are practiced in religious expression, societal commentary, cultural celebration, and public entertainment.

DRAM 5618: Production Planning and Development

Examination of how careers in puppetry are established and managed, looking at contemporary puppet production in the US and internationally as part of the global “theatre industry.”  Students will develop skills in “artrepreneurship,” curation, and cultural management.

DRAM 5620: Directing for Puppet Theatre I & II

Designed to awaken, develop, and prepare innovative directors in the field of Puppet (but also Alternative) Theatre in the 21st century. Study of the historic and theoretical foundations of theatre directing. Develop understanding of narrative structure. Engagement in practical exercises designed to develop directorial skills.