Puppetry has been an integral part of La MaMa’s programming since 1962 when our founder Ellen Stewart invited puppet artists from Korea to perform their production of Head Hunting by Pagoon Kang Wouk. Ellen recognized puppetry as an art form that exists across world cultures in its many different forms. Despite the cultural specificity and variety of these forms, she saw a universal magic in bringing inanimate objects to life. By setting objects in motion, puppet artists can penetrate linguistic and cultural barriers to tell stories that are accessible to audiences around the world. Bringing international puppet artists together leads to innovation, experimentation, and increased awareness of puppetry as a sophisticated art form.
Throughout our history, La MaMa has presented many notable puppet artists including: Ping Chong, Vit Horejs, Ralph Lee, Tom Lee, Mabou Mines, Federico Restrepo, Jane Catherine Shaw, Theodora Skipitares and Julie Taymor. In 1996, 1998 and 2000, La MaMa hosted the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, created by the Jim Henson Foundation, which has been instrumental in supporting puppet artists everywhere. In 2004, we introduced the La MaMa Puppet Series, a biannual festival showcasing new contemporary puppet theatre. Since then, La MaMa has produced nine puppet festivals, curated by Denise Greber. The La MaMa Archive houses over 100 puppets from artists across the globe, along with video and photographic material. In recent years, La MaMa has offered puppet residencies and invested in the expansion of puppetry into the digital realm, working with artists remotely using emerging technologies.
Director and Curator of La MaMa Puppet Series
Producing Director of La MaMa Puppet Series
The 9th La MaMa Puppet Festival Fall 2021 has been made possible with public support by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Cultural on the Arts, and support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, The Jane Henson Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, Puppet Slam Network, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Additional support from Cheryl Henson is gratefully acknowledged.