Joseph Jonah Therrien completed his 3rd year in The University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts MFA candidate Program in 2011 and has since been teaching, performing, designing, and directing in New York City and the Northeast. In the fall of 2011, Joseph founded The People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street –a democratic collective of artists who believe that puppetry has a unique role in fighting for social and economic justice. Since its founding, The People’s Puppets have created hundreds of puppets and other visual props and messaging for Occupy Wall Street and other allied groups’ actions. Joseph directed The People’s Puppets’ original production of Jack and the Corporate Beanstalk at the 2012 NYC Fringe Festival. The People’s Puppets are committed to creating free public performances that entertain, agitate, and activate the 99%.
Folkmanis Puppets: The Fun of Folkmanis - Wednesday Afternoon
Conceived as a “cottage industry” business in Watertown, MA., in the late 1960’s and nurtured among the street vendors lining Berkeley’s famed Telegraph Avenue, Folkmanis® Puppets are the expression of Judy Folkmanis’ active imagination, sewing wizardry, and love of nature.
Creating her first animal puppets to entertain her own children, Judy was astounded when her unsung, but cuddly, creations began attracting a growing group of paying customers. Most often these were other parents who sought high play value from their toy purchases and an appreciation of the natural world for their children.
Joined in the burgeoning endeavor in 1976 by her Ph.D. husband Atis—who happily abandoned a career in biochemistry for pattern-cutting—the couple realized that launching a menagerie of carefully detailed and realistic animal puppets was their “right livelihood.” They hired several seamstresses and never looked back. The rest, as they say, is toy industry history – as Folkmanis’ line and renown grew by leaps and bounds.
Still headquartered in Emeryville, California, today Folkmanis, Inc. has grown to become the premier manufacturer of plush puppets worldwide. Folkmanis® Puppets offers over 200 of the most heartwarming and realistically designed creatures—both exotic and familiar—on the market today. And, after more than 35 years, Folkmanis, Inc. is still a family business. Judy and Atis oversee both the creative and operations sides to ensure that the quality and love of the natural world they wish to convey through their toys remains true to their original vision.
Rick Lyon and The Lyon Puppets - Friday Afternoon
Rick Lyon created the puppets for the musical Avenue Q and has been associated with the production since its earliest workshops as both designer and performer. Rick has worked in TV, film, theatre and everything in between. Favorite projects: Sesame Street, Bear in the Big Blue House, Between the Lions, Men in Black, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, and Muppetvision 3D. He has been designing and building puppets professionally for more than 25 years, including characters for Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, Comedy Central, Chinese national television, commercials, home videos, industrials and theatre. Creator of The Lyon Puppets, he also writes the scripts, music and songs for his own live shows for young audiences. Rick gratefully acknowledges the inspiration and kind encouragement of the late Jim Henson.