National Puppetry Conference Announces
24th Season at the O'Neill 

Applications Now Accepted Through March 7th

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is proud to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 24th Annual National Puppetry Conference, which will take place during June of 2014, the O’Neill’s fiftieth anniversary summer. The Conference begins June 11, 2014 and culminates with public performances June 20 & 21. Pre-Conference intensive workshops run June 11 – 13.

Over the course of eight days, conference participants collaborate with nationally and internationally renowned puppet artists, and each other, to produce innovative plays and productions that push the boundaries of puppetry’s definitions and dare participants to challenge themselves and their audience. The conference is open to puppeteers, musicians, artists, actors, playwrights, and students as an ideal venue to experiment and develop new work.

Puppets on strings dominate at this year’s conference with our internationally renowned guest artists Germany-based Alice Theresa Gotschalk, Raphael Mürle, and Frank Soehnle, and Canada-based Ronnie Burkett.

Alice Theresa Gotschalk, Raphael Mürle, and Frank Soehnle will lead Wunderkammer Vol. 2: Improv Strings with Bradley Kemp. In this strand, participants will train in marionette manipulation, improvisation, and develop ensemble pieces. The strand will doubly challenge participants as it endeavors to incorporate music and poetry into these dynamic new works.

Text Creation and Interpretation will be lead by master puppeteer and story-teller Ronnie Burkett. Participants will work with Ronnie on the interpretation and acting of artist-created work, exploring the development of the piece into a well-performed theatrical event. Various forms of puppetry are welcome and encouraged in this strand.

The Conference will also feature returning marionette masters Phillip Huber and Jim Rose, who will lead the marionette building and performing strands of the conference. Additional opportunities for participants include Writing for the Puppet Theater with Martin KettlingMusic for Puppet Theater with Melissa Dunphy, the Emerging Artist strand for returning participants, and Resident Company, also for returning participants.

Not to be overshadowed by the marionette-heavy main conference, the Pre-Conference intensive workshops will feature Hua Hua Zhang: Chinese Rod Puppetry, Jim Kroupa: Everything You Want to Know about Mechs and Then Some!, Paul Vincent Davis and Brad Shur: Hand Puppet Manipulation, and Ronnie Burkett's Writing the Puppet Narrative.

Artists-in-Residence include Hua Mulan: Holding Half the Sky by Chinese Theater Workshop with Kuang-Yu Fong, Stephen Kaplin, and Shasha Li, and The Body Lautrec with Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen.

Applications will be accepted until March 7th at 11:59 PST. There is a $35.00 USD application fee. To apply online and for information on financial assistance and scholarships, please visit

Artist Bios:

Click to view full National Puppetry Conference staff list.

Recognized as one of the foremost theatre artists on the international stage, RONNIE BURKETT has been credited with creating some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986 and has stimulated an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre, continuously playing to great critical and public acclaim on Canada’s major stages, and as a guest company on numerous international tours abroad.

ALICE THERESE GOTTSCHALK (nee Böhm) was born 1978 in Stuttgart and created her first puppet at the age of 16. She has participated and taught in many workshops including those of Prof. Albrecht Roser. 2000 – 2004, attendance at the Ernst- Busch School of Theatre Studies in Berlin to study puppet theatre and also at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart. She achieved her diploma in October 2004. That same year, she founded the FAB-Theater, an independent travelling theatre co-operating with various musicians, narrators and puppeteers who vary depending on the theatre production in question. She is a tutor at the Heidelberg University of Education, is with the O’Neill Puppetry Conference in Connecticut, USA, is a guest tutor at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart and at the Karlsruhe University of Education and she is also a member of the German-French Forum Bayreuth. She presents her plays and scenes for marionettes in Germany, Austria, Poland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Lettland, the Netherlands and the USA. She works co-operatively as an actress and a puppeteer, puppet-maker and stage director.

RAPHAEL MÜRLE was born in 1960 in Pforzheim, studied Puppet Theatre from 1983 – 1987 at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart under tutors who included Prof. Albrecht Roser. He was the winner of the TERPSI Prize for cabaret in 1983 with his “Scenes for Marionettes.” In 1987, he was awarded a Baden Württemberg Arts Foundation stipendium. Since 1987, he has staged regular performances at his own theatre venue in Pforzheim- Brötzingen where remarkable literary material, the implementation of musical themes and distinctive imagery distinguished the repertoire. Between 1987 and 2012, fifteen evening theatre productions were created there to include three performances with marionettes, five plays for children and five short performance programmes. He has worked in direction at puppet theatres in Germany and Switzerland, and has made guest appearances in Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Croatia, Austria, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland and Spain. He initiated and organized the International Puppet Theatre Street Festival in Pforzheim. He works/has worked as a tutor at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart, at the College of Puppet Theatre in Bochum and at the Hof Lebherz College in Warmsen.

FRANK SOEHNLE was born in 1963 in Stuttgart, studied Puppet Theatre from 1983-87 at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart (graduated as Master of Puppet Theatre). 1987-90, Director of the “Figurentheater Karlsruhe”. 1991, founded the independent figuren theater tübingen. 1993, first Southeast Asia tour for the Goethe Institute. 1995, the production location was transferred to Reutlingen-Betzingen. Since 2002 artistic director of the Figuren@RT festival in Reutlingen. Soehnle is guest lecturer at the “Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst”, Stuttgart the “Figurentheaterkolleg Bochum”, the “Ècole Superieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mézières” (France), the “Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst-Busch”, Berlin, the “School for Visual Theatre in Jerusalem” and the Université Francois Rabelais, Tours, among others. His work has been performed in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Israel, India, South America, Russia and the USA. Soehnle works as an actor and puppeteer, puppet maker and director, conception, and graphics.