Behind the Scenes at the Center for Puppetry Arts
Perhaps you’ve been to the Center for Puppetry Arts and enjoyed a show, but have you ever thought about the amount of work required to put that show together? We went backstage to visit the folks in the puppet shop as well as the puppeteers to see what’s involved.
The first decision to make is what size the puppets will be. “The biggest one ever built here was 16 feet” puppet builder Jason von Hinezmeyer told us. “Marionettes are a little more difficult to make than some other kinds of puppets because there’s nothing between the performer and the puppet except some string so the puppets have to be made pretty well or they’re just not going to work at all.”
Emily Pape told us that a good puppet builder needs a variety of skills — “everything from carpentry, wood carving, sewing as well as painting. The biggest thrill is watching them as they are assembled. They start to come together and you can see the personality of the puppet start to emerge even before the puppeteers get their hands on it”.