Thursday, February 18, 2016

2016 National Puppet Slam Nominations

2016 National Puppet Slam

Liz Lee, curator of the 2016 National Puppet Slam at the Center for Puppetry Arts is now accepting nominations for acts from puppet slam curators. To nominate, please use the following form:

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday,February 23, 2016. 

If you have any questions, please contact
We look forward to receiving your nominations!

Tuesday, February 23rd

Friday, February 21, 2014

Announcing our 2014 Slam Grant Recipients

The Puppet Slam Network is delighted to announce our 2014 Puppet Slam Grant Recipients! You can find out more about  the 34 Slams we are supporting in 2014 here! The Puppet Slam Network aims to catalogue, connect, support, and raise awareness for the growing field of independently produced puppet slams and cabarets.

Adult Puppet Slam #Phoenix
The Great Arizona Puppet Theater hosts Puppet Slams  at our beautiful historic building in central Phoenix. Local and far-flung puppeteers create funny, edgy and quirky pieces for adult audiences for a memorable evening of live theater with puppets!

Austin Puppet Incident #Austin
The Austin Puppet Incident is a joint creation of Glass Half Full Theatre and Trouble Puppet Theatre Company to highlight short works of puppetry for adults. We encourage artists to participate in our reciprocal model, in which artists work with and for each other in a variety of pieces. We welcome local performers as well as visiting artists.      

Beady Little Eyes Puppet Slam #Portland
Our slams are hosted by a variety of Portland icons. We encourage texting in risqué comments to the hostess.  We keep it fast-paced and rowdy with beer flowing in the back of the house.

Blood From a Turnip #Providence
Blood from a Turnip is a puppet salon that offers professional puppeteers and those new to the art form an opportunity to present big stories, in miniature. Co-curated and hosted by Vanessa Gilbert, David Higgins, and Boston-based video ventriloquist Evan O’Television, BfaT continues to redefine itself, but refuses to grow up.

Café Concret #Montreal
Café Concret is a soirée of experimental puppetry, object theatre, and other media accompanied by a warm meal and live music in Montreal. In a city with a large and active puppetry community, too-often separated into anglophone and francophone audiences, Café Concret is the only informal and bilingual event for short-form object performance by a mix of emerging and established artists.

Calarts Puppet Cabaret #Valencia
CalArts Puppet Cabaret is an annual interdisciplinary event curated by students from the California Institute of the Arts.  Students from across the institute use puppetry as a means for bringing CalArts students from all disciplines together to share puppet experiments and animation sequences outside of class in a casual, fun atmosphere.

Dolly Wiggler Cabaret #Calgary
The Dolly Wiggler Cabaret features short bits of brilliance from local, national and international animated object artists.  It’s wild, it’s weird, and it’s always entertaining..

Forbidden Puppet Cabaret #Vallejo
Forbidden Puppet Cabaret at the Fetterly Playhouse presents evenings of short puppet acts in a cabaret atmosphere, with both café tables and theatre seating.  Food, drink and a puppet craft project with a chance for audience members to get up on stage with their new creations are all part of the experience.  Live music compliments acts during preshow and intermission.

Full Moon Pupet Show #Minneapolis
The Full Moon Puppet Show is a quarterly puppet slam with performances by puppetry novices and masters alike.  The show encourages those who have never tried out the art of puppetry to perform.  Live music plays between acts at every show.  Watch short puppet shows and howl at the moon at the Full Moon Puppet Show.

Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam #Seattle
Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam is an ongoing series of puppet variety shows for adults featuring selections of short works from puppeteers in Seattle and beyond. We strive to offer a professional structure where artists may present a wide selection of innovative and experimental works as well as previously developed and refined pieces.

Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner #NYC

Spaghetti Dinners are thematic evenings presented in cabaret format, offering plates of home-made spaghetti and a healthy roster of puppetry and live music.  Semi-nomadic, each is a unique, one-time-only event and designed to the scale of the venue, from grand spectacle in Judson Church’s vast sanctuary to intimate work at Teatro SEA’s 99-seat theater.
La MaMa Puppet Slam #NYC

The La MaMa Puppet Slam presents original, short form condensed works for puppetry that are: brilliant, witty, tragic, funny, stunning, startling, ironic, exotic, political, lyrical, musical, beautiful, intellectual, experimental, but always demonstrate genius in a matter of minutes!

The Late Night Puppet Slam at Dragon Con #ATL
Join Dragon Con’s very own puppet ambassadors, Bob and Carl: The Sci-Fi Janitors, as they present a variety show of adult geeky puppet acts. It is the biggest geekiest puppet slam in the world!

Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret #Chicago
Nasty, Brutish & Short is an evening of contemporary short-form puppet and object-based theatre for adult audiences. The cabaret is a low risk environment for artists to perform new and experimental work and foster artistic exchange between puppet artists of different generations and mediums.

National Puppet Slam #Atlanta
Experience the beauty, ingenuity, and hilarity of short-form puppet theater in this showcase of Puppet Slams from across the country. The Mission of the National Puppet Slam is to recognize and showcase excellence in short-form adult puppet theatre.


Nite at the Puppet Asylum #Fullerton
Nite at the Puppet Asylum is an intriguing evening featuring an assortment of live puppet offerings fueled by talented puppet artists and performers, ranging from highly polished to experimental, designed to deliver an extraordinary evening of mayhem for adult audiences.

Professor Willikers Puppet Slam #Arcata
Hosted by Professor Willikers, the indestructible puppet, and featuring a variety of puppet artists, this slam event is in a cabaret format with live music. 

The Puckin' Fuppet Show #Atlanta
The Puckin’ Fuppet Show is an open mic puppet slam for puppeteers, as well as a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers to puppetry. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place as voted on by the audience.

Puppet Manualfesto # Philadelphia
Puppet Manualfesto celebrates short-form puppetry, music, community, food, and encourages a multitude of performance aesthetics. Experimental pieces, and artists not generally involved with puppetry share the stage with seasoned professionals as a way to explore this exciting medium. 

Puppet Meltdown #Chicago
Sea Beast Puppet Company presents Puppet Meltdown, a roaming cabaret that caters to audiences in both Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Puppet Meltdown travels around the city bringing puppetry to the fleece-hungry masses desperate to satisfy that rumbling in their tummies for the unusual and unexpected.

Puppet Pandemic #NYC
This showcase of works explores the infectious nature of puppets! From marionettes to papier mâché mayhem, puppeteers breed new strains of creativity and present them to an audience of willing test subjects. Watch as artists redefine conventional notions of puppetry. Like a pandemic, the passion for puppetry is spreading. The only cure - a dose of puppet performances!

Puppet Playlist #NYC
Puppet Playlist is a quarterly slam in New York. Each Playlist has a musical theme (e.g. Tom Waits, Johnny Cash). Puppeteers create original pieces based on the theme, and musicians play interpretations of songs by the chosen artist. This mix of puppetry and music had attracted a wide audience, many of whom have never attended a puppet slam.

Puppet Showplace Slam #Brookline
The Puppet Showplace Slam is the longest running slam in the USA. As part of Puppet Showplace Theatre’s “Puppets at Night” series, the slam provides Boston-area adults the opportunity to experience the power of short-form puppetry in an intimate setting. The slam also encourages professionals, amateurs, and emerging artists to create new puppetry works in diverse and experimental styles.

Puppet Slam Café #Huntington
Puppet Slam Café promises an evening of hip, contemporary, adults-only puppetry, featuring various puppet artists performing a wide range of styles and topics. Shows are performed in the Sky Room at Cinema Arts Centre. Food and beverages are available during the performance, with seating at café-style tables.

Puppet Slamwich! at Black Cherry Puppet Theater #Baltimore
Puppet Slamwich celebrates puppetry for adult audiences in all of its forms, from traditional to experimental, as well as related genres, such as vaudeville, cabaret, toy and object theater. Puppet Sandwich hopes to introduce audiences to a broad array of puppetry, welcoming emerging and established artists from the Mid-Atlantic Region and beyond.

Puppets & Poets Cabaret #Brooklyn
Puppets & Poets presents eclectic experiments blending puppetry, poetry, and other arts performed by diverse artists for mature audiences. Puppets & Poets cultivates collaborative hybrid art blending poetry and puppetry, two of the world’s oldest and most diversely practiced art forms.

Puppets Up! Cabaret #Almonte
An adults-only evening of short form puppetry just a stone’s throw from Canada’s capital.  Local, national and international puppeteers, both established and emerging artists, are featured in acts that range from bawdy to absurd to sublime.  Finished pieces, works-in-progress, and works that will never again see the light of day are all enthusiastically welcomed.

Puppetzilla Puppet Slam #LosAngeles
The Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry hosts evenings of short puppet acts for adult audiences. We provide ongoing opportunities for puppeteers to develop new work.
Roast of the Calacas: A Puppet Slam #FortLauderdale

Roast of the Calacas cuts to the bone as an uncensored blitzkrieg of puppet mayhem. Hosted by bawdy blacklight skeleton puppet “Mr. Bones”, The Roast is a pumpkin spiced cocktail shaking together B-Horror flick rejects, zombie fetishists, skeletal burlesque and sideshow freaks.

Spork In Hand #Columbia
Spork in Hand Puppet Slam is a celebration of Southern puppetry that is off-the-beaten-path. We amaze, entertain, and inspire the people of Columbia with gloriously gritty evenings of experimental short puppetry and object theatre performances.

Titeretada: Noches de Cabaret Puppet Slam #SanJuan
Individuals and groups are invited to create short pieces. Experimentation is encouraged and we play to full houses. These cabaret nights continue to develop audiences for adult puppetry in Puerto Rico.

UConn Puppet Slams #Storrs
UConn Puppet Slams bring together working puppeteers from the New England and New York area with UConn students studying puppetry and other fine arts.  UConn Puppet Slams are performed in UConn's Studio Theater, courtesy of the Department of Dramatic Arts, usually twice a year.

Wham, Bam! Puppet Slam #Asheville
This is a night of short form puppetry for adults, and promises to be a fun time had by all. We are very excited about the opportunity to share such a fun and transcendent art form with Asheville.  Puppetry is not just for kids, it can be moving, hilarious, risque, heart breaking, taboo, thought provoking, and sincere.

Winnipeg Puppet Slam #Winnipeg
Winnipeg is known for having eccentric and creative citizens and the puppeteers are no exception. The Winnipeg Puppet Slam features new innovative short works of adult-themed puppetry and object based theatre from local and international artists.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


2014 PUPPET SLAM GRANTS in the amount of $2,000 are available to qualified puppet slams through the Puppet Slam Network (PSN), administered by Heather Henson’s IBEX Puppetry.
Das WunderKammer ~ Puppet Kabarett #Brooklyn - Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil, 2011, Photo: Lexi Karafelis

 To qualify, you must have already had at least 1 puppet slam and email a completed 2014 SLAM SURVEY, along with two photographs documenting your slam.  First time applicants, and applicants who have switched Fiscal Recipients within the past year, must also provide a letter from their Fiscal Recipient. Please read through this document as some guidelines have changed. SLAM GRANTS have become more competitive. If there are more than two slams in your city, we may not fund all of them. Please use the SLAM SURVEY to make a case for why your slam should be funded.

If you have received a 2013 SLAM GRANT and do not intend to apply for a 2014 SLAM GRANT, please treat the SLAM SURVEY as a FINAL REPORT. If for some reason, you have not used previous grant monies, please use the SLAM SURVEY as a PROGRESS REPORT.

1. 2014 SLAM SURVEY 
2. 2 PHOTOS 
3. FISCAL RECIPIENT LETTER (for first time applicants, or if it has changed)



 2014 SLAM SURVEYS are due by email no later than TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1st, 2013 (There will be no exceptions or late items accepted this year).

For the purposes of the SLAM GRANT, the SLAM SURVEY, and the Puppet Slam Network (PSN), we define a “Puppet Slam” as:

 A live puppet slam, cabaret, or evening of short-form puppetry and/or object theatre for adult audiences from a variety of artists.”

  • Puppet film screenings
  • Long-Form work / Full-length productions, Evenings of 1 artist or company
  • Shows for children, or shows advertised as “all ages” or “family friendly”
  • Workshops or Educational activities
  • Entire festivals (which happen to contain Puppet Slams)
  • Festival, Organization, Theatre Company, Puppetry Department overhead
  • Variety evenings that are not predominantly live puppet and/or object theatre
  • Parades or outdoor events
  • Events with less than 70% live puppetry
The purpose of the SLAM GRANT is to support Puppet Slams to help pay for costs directly related to puppet slams, including but not limited to: publicity materials, equipment rental, essential technician fees, performers stipends, or craft services.  

For clarification, if your Puppet Slam is part of a larger festival, organization, or educational institution, the SLAM GRANT will only be funding the Puppet Slam and not the larger festival, organization, or educational institution. Please make a clear delineation where the money is spent.  Use these funds directly on costs of your puppet slam and not for the overall operation of your organization.

To qualify for a 2014 SLAM GRANT, your Puppet Slam must be working with a FISCAL RECIPIENT” (FR). We are only able to administer grants to non-profit organizations located in the USA who can act as a FR for your slam. If you are awarded the 2014 SLAM GRANT, this is the organization where a check will be sent. Your FR must agree to receive funds and distribute them to your Puppet Slam as to the terms of your particular arrangement.  Make sure the address you list for your FR is correct and that the FR is familiar with the name of your puppet slam.

Select a partner organization carefully. Ensure your ideals and tastes align. Consider signing a contract that defines the role of the CURATOR and the role of the FR so all parties are clear on the extent of their involvement with the financial and creative processes of producing a slam. Disputes about curatorial decisions; what happens to money generated; or questions about equipment, or other goods/services supplied by CURATORS, VENUES, or FR are outside the scope of the PSN’s control. The PSN cannot provide mediation or legal advice. Talk to your peers to learn about previous experiences with FR.

If you are a first time applicant, or applying with a new FR, send separately an email from your FR stating that they have agreed to receive moneys for you. The title of the email should be “Your Slam Name: Your Fiscal Recipient Name”.

If you need help finding a FR, please check look at the Fractured Atlas website at Please note that it may take a while to partner with a Fiscal Recipient and that this arrangement needs to be complete before the survey deadline. If you are producing your slam outside of the USA, it is possible for us to send you a grant, if you are paired up with a FR who is based inside the USA.

If your FR changes during the year, it is your responsibility to get us the new information as soon as possible and BEFORE checks are issued. Please check the accuracy of your FR Information on, a free website that you will need to make a free user account to use. If accepted, funding will be sent to your FR during the first quarter of 2014. We also recommend that you look for additional sources of funding and sponsorship to help support your Puppet Slam.

  Email back the 2014 SLAM SURVEY to with 2 Photos by Tuesday, October 1st, 2013.  We only accept SLAM SURVEYS by email in Word .doc file format with .jpg photos under 1MB sent in separate emails. No Google Docs. Please know that we will not accept any late materials this year. We will not accept printed or handwritten Surveys or Surveys completed in other file formats.  If you do not have Word, download a demo version.

Do not leave any fields blank. If something does not apply, enter “N/A” and add additional details.  We may need to follow up and expect a prompt response. Pick a responsible main contact (“CURATOR”), who is responsive and will send us CALENDAR SUBMISSIONS. Your promptness, completeness of answers, and returned correspondences are greatly appreciated and help us to serve the roughly 70 slams we are currently follow.

When you save the SLAM SURVEY, title it (abbreviated Slam Name)-2014-Survey.doc”. In the Subject line of the email you send it in, include “Name of your Slam 2014 Survey. For example, Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam would send “FCPS-2013-Survey.doc” in an email titled: “Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam 2014 Survey”

We require you to have a Facebook Page specific to your slam that is distinct from your larger organization, festival, or educational institution. Make sure that you have an audience larger than 30 that you are posting to regularly about your puppet slam. When we send out our MONTHLY SLAM CALENDAR, we want to be able to link back to a page that is specifically just for your slam. We want to know that you are making your own effort to publicize your slam.

We distribute a MONTHLY SLAM CALENDAR to roughly 2,000 recipients and repost widely on social media. Sending your CALENDAR SUBMISSIONS is a requirement.  A pattern of lateness or failure to send complete information can and has resulted in SLAM GRANTS not being awarded.  Submission dates are listed below. Do not submit non-puppet slam events. 

                                                                      CALENDAR SUBMISSION DATES
                                    2nd Quarter 2013                                   

                                 2nd Quarter 2014
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
July 2013
Mon, June 24th, 2013
April 2014
 Mon, March 24th, 2014
August 2013
Thu, July, 25th, 2013
May 2014
 Thu, April 24th, 2014
September 2013
Fri, August 23rd, 2013
June 2014
 Fri, May 23, 2014
                                     3rd Quarter 2012             
                                  3rd Quarter 2014                               
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
October 2013
Tue, Sept 24th, 2013
July 2014
 Tue, June 24th, 2014
November 2013
Fri, October 25th, 2013
August 2014
 Fri, July 25th, 2014
December 2013
Fri, November 22nd, 2013
September 2014
 Fri, June 22nd, 2014
                                     1st Quarter 2013          
                                  4th Quarter 2014                               
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
January 2014
 Fri, December 20th, 2013
October 2014
Tue, September 23rd, 2014
February 2014
 Fri, January 24th, 2014
November 2014
Fri, October, 24th, 2014
March 2014
 Fri, February 21st, 2014
December 2014
 Fri, November 21st, 2014

We hope you will choose to participate in the greater PSN this year by using the resources of our website and by interacting with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger with upcoming events, photos, videos, calls for entry, and invitations. 

Facebook Page

We will be accepting Slam Surveys June 1st, 2013 - October 1st, 2013. Please contact me with any questions regarding the Survey, well in advance of the Tuesday, October 1st deadline.

National Slam deadline extended to May 20th

Good News! The deadline for applications for the National Slam at the Puppet Festival (r)evolution has been extended! Applications are now due May 20th. You can download the application and learn more on the Festival website. Grants will be awarded to the selected artists.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Evolution of A Slam Piece with Carole D’Agostino

PSN: What is your workshop and where is it being held?

CD: Evolution of a Slam Piece is a 3 hour Workshop being held at the Puppet Festival (r)Evolution this summer in Swarthmore, PA near Philadelphia. The Festival runs from August 5-13 and my workshop is Tuesday Aug 6.

PSN: Why "Evolution of a Slam Piece"? Aren’t Slam pieces supposed to be short?

CD: Lots of people make a short piece in a hurry and then never take it beyond whatever came out of them for that weekend. Some developing puppet artists may have a limited vocabulary of choices with which they can create. My workshop is designed to help everyone expand their horizons and create better quality shows overall.

PSN: In 3 hours? What’s the plan?

CD: 3 hours is actually a perfect amount of time! My plan is to show you how I developed one of my own pieces using storyboards, scale models and efficient prep work into a full length show that I can tour as either individual slam pieces of as a full length 45 min production on its own! Everyone in the class will take their budding or existing idea and sketch out a story board. Then we’ll make a tiny paper scale model they can use as reference in the future. Finally we’ll write up an action plan so the artists can leave motivated and ready to make a new show.

PSN: What if I can’t draw? Do I need to bring anything?

CD: You need the most basic skills to use my methods- I am teaching a technique not a strict method. If you can write, then you’ll be fine! I provide all tools- pencils, paper, pre-printed storyboard worksheets, scissors- whatever we’ll need. This isn’t about competition, it’s about your individual thought process and how you can get motivated to succeed. Any skill level is encouraged to sign up.

PSN: You’ve done almost 60 slams now- so what tips and tricks do you have?

CD: That’s part of the class too. While we work, I’ll give everyone notes from my own process to encourage you while your work. You’ll learn where to score useful tools, which items are essential to your success and where to get them at the best price. I’ll show you what producers expect from you as a puppeteer so you can shine above the rest as The One Who Is Prepared. You’ll avoid a lot of the pre-show anxiety if you use my tried-and-true techniques.

PSN: How do I sign up? How much does it cost?

CD: Evolution of a Slam Piece is included in your registration to the Puppet Festival (r)Evolution:  There are no material fees. The earlier you register the lower the costs overall. Being a member of Puppeteers of America can save you money. Tickets to individual workshops become available June 1. Space is limited- Register today! See you Tuesday August 6!
 Visit Carole's website for more info on her work:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nick Hubbard and the Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam #Seattle

Nick Hubbard is a performance and visual artist currently based in Seattle. His work springs from the intersection of shadow theater and other art forms including puppetry, music, poetry, and actor's theater. He has been performing short-form puppetry since 2008, at venues like On the Boards, Theatre-Off-Jackson, and the Frye Art Museum. He is a co-founder of the Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam, a puppetry festival organizer, and the President of the Board of Trustees of the Puppeteers of America.

Photo by Greta Wilson, 2011

Marsian: How long have you been performing at Puppet Slams?
Nick Hubbard: It hasn't been very long for me at official puppet slams. My first slam experience was in 2011, and I was wearing a suit, a bow-tie, and a fedora. I was performing a piece that's built out of a suitcase, where I'm a bit of a traveling salesman, I had found a poem that I would transform into an object theater of shadows for the audience. I was under a bit of duress, because I couldn't get my light to turn on. It came together in the end.

M: What slams have you performed at?
NH: A total of four events that were technically slams, all in the epic setting of the Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Portland). Prior to that, I had performed short-form puppetry around Seattle, mostly in collaboration with a storyteller named Wes Andrews.

M: What is the weirdest show you have seen?
NH: In Olympia, WA, I saw a bare-chested guy perform a ballet of strength with a six by one foot square wooden column he'd fashioned himself. It was somewhere between The Passion of Christ and the opening sequence of the recent Les Miserables.

M: What inspired you to start hosting a puppet slam?
NH: Witnessing the National Puppet Slam at the 2011 National Puppetry Festival in Atlanta, GA, motivated a group of us from Seattle to make something happen in our city. We wanted to promote the same caliber of bold, experimental work from West Coast puppeteers.

M: Are you part of a slam circuit?
NH: Portland and Vancouver, BC, are both holding slams now. I'd say we are starting to develop a circuit -- with San Francisco and Los Angeles as distant links on the Southern end. Rather than being unique from the others around, I think we all share a common energy and, with that in mind, have been seeking ways to share acts and support each other's events.

M: Tell us about a fabulous failure and what you've learned from it.
NH: I once had to do a show in a space that didn't give us much tech beforehand, and I wasn't able to verify that I'd have complete darkness. My piece required complete darkness, and so once I started, it was clear the audience wouldn't be able to see anything. I had to pull the plug, essentially, and I came out of it feeling that great. I learned both the need to have something flexible for slam pieces (or be very clear about what my tech requirements are), and also that you and the audience can come out OK if you just relax and laugh a bit.

M: Why are Puppet Slams important to you?

NH: I think slams are shaking up the conventions of puppetry, in particular around who can make work. They are making the form more accessible to interested people who want an opportunity to test out their own ideas somewhere besides their garage, but may not be at a university or other venue that's open to broad experimentation. Slams are generating energy and connecting puppeteers across state and international boundaries.

M: What inspires you to create a puppet slam piece?
NH: I'm especially inspired by works of literature that feel too short to expand into a larger show, but contain enough in them that they are worth adapting. Poems seem to often fit in this category, and so do picture books.

M: Who are some other artists you are inspired by?
NH: I'm impressed with the savvy of Carole D'Agostino, especially the way she released three parts of her "Hoarding Show" through various slam appearances. It was a smart way to get feedback on the development of the show and generate interest in the larger work.

M: Where can people contact you to perform?

M: Where do you see the Puppet Slam Network in 5 years?
NH: I see the Puppet Slam Network as a place where many burgeoning puppeteers find their footing. I see it as a hub for touring artists who are, through the slam community and with the support of the PSN, able to compliment and promote larger projects. I see growing audience for puppetry thanks to the PSN; I think people will develop their taste for the art from slams and this will make them more open to all of puppetry's manifestations.

M: Any advice for up and coming slam artists?
NH: Be bold and be invested -- try new things, let yourself make mistakes, and take the time to develop your pieces with rehearsals and reiterations of puppets.