My First Day of Puppetry …. ever

So, here are some tips I’ve picked up …

  • Eye contact is everything. If an audience cannot connect with your puppet’s gaze, they won’t connect with your puppet
  • If you want to make your puppet look as if it is thinking, hold a 45 degree eye line at the floor and keep it still
  • Break up each movement with stillness: move, hold, move, hold, move, hold ….
  • In this way, it’s very similar to stop-frame animation.
  • An audience’s eyes will ALWAYS go to the movement – if you want something to be looked at, make it move (and visa versa)
  • Structure your scene with action, reaction, action, reaction. If your puppet notices everything, it becomes aware and believable
  • Where a movement initiates the will make the audience believe it is the puppet moving itself, or the puppeteer moving the puppet
  • To engage audience, let puppet make eye contact with them, and then lean forward slightly.
  • Puppets SURVIVE – they are animal, they react to their immediate surrounding
  • Keep the body language clear. What would look melodramatic on a human looks ‘natural’ on a puppet
  • When a puppet thinks, it builds tensions as the audience anticipate what will happen next
  • Trust the image you create and let it be … constant unnecessary movement can detract from an image
  • A puppet is always being PUSHED/PULLED, SHRINKING/EXPANDING
  • Know how you puppet thinks, survives, breaths
  • The communication of an event happens in the silence after the event – holds moments, don’t rush on with the next action in your piece
  • When an audience is engaged in a puppet, they will breath with it
  • It’s vital you find the RHYTHM of your puppet / character
  • It’s stronger to finish on a strong image / pose
  • Movement initiates from the puppets eyes – it looks at it’s hand and the table before it moves it’s hand to the table.
  • use puppet to cover the face/mouth of the puppeteer for big noises or sounds
  • invest time. clarity of image is key.



As you can see … it was quite an intense first day!


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