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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 Slam Grant Awardees

Our 2013 Slam Grants have been announced. The Puppet Slam Grant has become more competitive since it started in 2006. This year we received over 50 Slam Surveys. PSN has grown to over 70 events encompassing not just the contiguous US, but also Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Canada. PSN now spans 4 continents and as far as Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem!

These are the puppet slams, which received funding in 2013:

Adult Puppet Cabaret #SanDiego
Adult Puppet Slam #Phoenix
Austin Puppet Incident #Austin
Beady Little Eyes #Portland
Blood From A Turnip #Providence
Cabaret Automata #LA
Café Concret #Montreal /
Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner #NYC
CalArts Puppet Cabaret #Valencia
Dolly Wiggler Cabaret #Calgary /
Professor Willikers Puppet Slam #Arcata
Winnipeg Puppet Slam #Winnipeg
Forbidden Puppet Cabaret #Vallejo
Full Moon Cabaret #Minneapolis
Fussy Cloud #Seattle
KC Puppet Slam #KansasCity
King Friday's Dungeon #Portland #ME
The Late Night Puppet Slam at DragonCon #ATL
Nasty, Brutish & Short #Chicago
National Puppet Slam #Swathmore
Playhouse Puppetry Slam #GlenEcho
The Puckin’ Fuppet Show
Puppet Manualfesto #Philadelphia
Puppet Meltdown #Chicago
Puppet Pandemic #NYC
Puppet Parlor #NYC
Puppet Playlist #NYC
Puppet Pot Pie #Hartford
Puppet Showplace Slam #Brookline
Puppet Slam Cafe #Huntington
Puppet Slamwich #Baltimore
Puppetsploitation #Houston
Singing Picture Show #NYC
Sobre La Mesa #SanJuan
Spork In Hand #Columbia
Strung Out #Cincinnati
Titeretada - Noches De Cabaret #SanJuan
UConn Puppet Slam #Storrs
Wham Bam Puppet Slam #Asheville

Please read on to learn more about the requirements for funded slams in 2013 or if your puppet slam plans to apply in the future...

 2013 Puppet Slam Grant Requirements:
If you received funding for your Puppet Slam, you must:

1. Produce a minimum of 1 puppet slam in 2013. We define a puppet slam to include events that featuring live, contemporary, short-form puppetry and/or Object Theater from a variety of artists geared toward adults. We encourage you to produce more than 1 event.

2. Email Calendar Submissions.  Send us complete Calendar Submission information on time. Details on our monthly PSN mailings are below.

3. Get the word out. Your puppet slam must be advertised to the general public as a puppet slam. We ask that you maintain a slam-specific website or public social media page that we can link our audiences back to We recommend getting a Facebook Page, if you do not have a dedicated website already and posting upcoming events on our Facebook Page. A Facebook Page will be required in 2014.

4. Complete a Slam Survey by Tuesday, October 1st, 2013.  The Slam Survey will serve as a final report for 2013 and determine 2014 Slam Grants. 2014 Slam Surveys will become available in the Summer and will be due on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 (via email only). We use the Slam Surveys as an annual opportunity to update information on our websites, directories and social media.

5.  Take Pictures.  At a minimum, we ask for three photos taken at your puppet slam. These do not have to be from a professional photographer if that is all you have access to.  Only include photos, which PSN has permission to publish and distribute.  Photos must be captioned with the slam name, primary artist, year, and photographer name and will be due in the next Survey.  We have used photos on our website, for presentations, in printed materials, on social media, print ads, and in other marketing efforts.

6. Be In Touch.  From time to time we may ask for follow-up information, we will need your prompt response to correspondences. Send emails to, our preferred method of communication.

7. Credit PSN.  Credit PSN on event invites, slam websites, posters, and fliers with “Funding made possible in part by the Puppet Slam Network”  Our logo can be grabbed from our facebook page or website.
Funding Restrictions:

Slam Grants are not intended for:

o    Evenings of films (including presentations of Handmade Puppet Dreams)

o    Long-form puppetry, full-length work, or evenings featuring 1 artist or company

o    Festivals (unless it happens to be a festival of puppet slams)

o    Overhead for your Theater Company, organization, or educational institution

o    Workshops and other educational activities

o    Events geared toward children, or advertised as “family-friendly”

o    Private parties or events that are not advertised to the general public

Our Calendar:

We put out a monthly calendar with basic information on Puppet Slams happening that month and also a brief look ahead into the year. Our calendar is sent via direct email to our contact list and reposted and tweeted on social media and through community distribution lists.

To collect information efficiently and create accurate copy for the month, all funded puppet slams (and slams who wish to receive funding) are required to email Calendar Submissions on time. Please also review future event listings and let us know of any changes, postponements, or cancellations as soon as possible before the Submission Deadline for that month.

You may download Calendar Submission forms here, but you must email them back in Word .doc format:

Please make a note of our upcoming Calendar Submission Deadlines:

                                     1st Quarter 2013          
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Jan 2013
Feb 2013
Mar 2013
 Fri, February 22nd, 2013
                                  3rd Quarter 2013                               
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
July 2013
 Mon, June 24th, 2013
Aug 2013
 Thu, July, 25th, 2013
Sept 2013
 Fri, August 23rd, 2013
                                 2nd Quarter 2013                               
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Apr 2013
 Mon, March 25th, 2013
May 2013
 Wed, April 24th, 2013
Jun 2013
 Fri, May 24th, 2013
                                  4th Quarter 2013                               
Slam Month:
Submissions due by:
Oct 2013
Tue, Sept 24th, 2013
Nov 2013
Fri, November 25th, 2013
Dec 2013
Fri, December 22nd, 2013

Facebook: We encourage you to post invites, photos, ticket links, calls for performers, and any other information about your puppet slam on our Page.  Many of you also have created FB Pages and invites for your events. That is fantastic! Please also take the extra step of posting these events on our wall so that the larger community will know about them and also link back to us so that your audiences will know about PSN.

Twitter: You can follow or tweet us @puppetslam.

Blogger:  If you have something longer to say, say it on our blog.  Perhaps you would like to interview someone from the PSN, write a review of a slam, talk shop, or put out a call for performers. Contact Marsian to be invited as a contributor to our Blog.

Website: You can now search Slam Profiles on alphabetically, by city, region, or country. We hope that you will use this  resource to find other slams in your area and to help find a wider range of performers in your area.

Directory: Our Directory is a spread sheet with each Puppet Slam, Curator, Curator Email and Slam Website.  You can use this resource to locate other curators and find nearby traveling acts.

Puppet Films: If you received funding this year, IBEX Puppetry (our parent organization) will make Handmade Puppet Dreams available for the benefit of your audiences to be screen outside of your puppet slam. Please contact for further details.

Thanks for all that you do and keep on slamming!