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  • Puppetry IntensiveCourse | THTR 150

    Lady manipulates puppet - click to play video

     Type: 14-Day Workshop      Dates: TBD     Location: Humber Arts and Media Studio     

Explore the infinite possibilities! Design, build, create, and bring your puppets to life at the only Puppetry Intensive in Toronto!

Humber now offers two different puppetry workshops. 

The Intensive is an exciting, vigorous, hands-on, 14-day training program in the art of puppet theatre. It is designed to introduce you to all of the basics of puppetry from manipulation and construction to design and performance creation. The Intensive is for puppeteers, visual artists, composers, teachers, writers, performers, designers, dancers, technicians, or anyone interested in integrating puppetry into their creative practice.

Participants will be selected based on experience and interest. Enrollment is limited to ensure small classes, so please apply early!

The Master Class Series is a selection of 3-day workshops that focus on specific, advanced techniques. These workshops are designed for people who already have a background in puppetry and are interested in developing further skills and techniques in a particular area of study. Master Classes will be offered in 2017; registration will open in January 2017. 

All workshops are developed and taught by some of the top professional puppetry artists in North America, in our outstanding facilities, in small groups focused on your ability and interests.

I can't say enough good things about this program. It's easily the best educational experience I've ever had. I feel so grateful for two of the most inspiring, exciting, artistic weeks of my life.

- Kimberley R Howe (Read more about her experiences on her blog.)


The Master Class Series will run in June, 2017.

The Intensive will run in June, 2018.

Registration opens in January - stay tuned for details.

How to Apply

Click the purple "Apply Now" button and fill in the form - you will receive a confirmation email from us within 48 hours.

You will also need to send a copy of your cv/resume as well as a letter outlining your interest and personal goals for the program to Shawna Reiter at

If you have any questions, please email Shawna Reiter at or call her at 416.675.6622 x3670.



Early Bird Tuition: TBD
Tuition: TBD
Tuition includes materials and Industry Night.
We're proud to say there hasn't been an increase in tuition in three years! 

Master Class

Early Bird Tuition: TBA
Tuition: TBA
Tuition includes materials.


Payment for the two-week Intensive:

Once you have received a letter of acceptance from the Registrar’s Office, you will be given a student number and payment instructions. You can pay online with a credit card or direct deposit. Your tuition fee must be paid in full by early May (the exact date will be in your acceptance materials). Failure to pay your tuition in full by this date could result in your application being withdrawn.

Unless Humber cancels the course, $25 of your tuition fee is non-refundable.

Should Humber College need to cancel the two-week Intensive workshop, we will notify you before the scheduled start date. Full refunds will be granted only when Humber cancels a course. If your course is cancelled, you may transfer to another course or request a refund. Refunds are not issued for cancelled courses automatically, as many students prefer to transfer. Please contact us to tell us how you would like us to proceed. If we do not hear from you, we will process a full refund of fees one month after the start of the course.

Other Considerations

For questions about the intensive, please contact Shawn Reiter by email at or by phone at 416.675.6622 x3670.

I came out wanting to do nothing more than create - and feeling confident enough to do just that! Lasting memories indeed! It was way more than I expected.

- Marla Limousin

**The Master Class Series will run in 2017.**

The Master Class Series are workshops designed for students who have a general knowledge and experience in puppetry and are looking for specific skills in a particular area of puppetry arts. These three-day workshops will provide the student with advanced techniques and methods in small groups, as well as studio time to hone skills under the guidance of a professional puppeteer.

Tuition includes a Show and Tell evening wrap-up for each series, so you can also see what the other workshops have been doing.

The workshops run from 9am to 5pm. You may enroll in one workshop for each series.

**The Intensive will run in 2018.**

The Intensive curriculum focuses on:

• The study of puppet manipulation; breath, voice, impulse, and movement.
• Puppet construction; design, material and mechanisms.
• Performance creation explored in a puppet lab setting through collaboration in diverse ensemble groups, creating original and experimental material.
• The business of puppetry; grants, fundraising, publicity and promotion. 

The result of this practice will culminate in short “works-in-progress” to be presented in front of an invited audience in our Black Box Theatre at the end of the intensive.

The curriculum is divided into four courses:

Breath, Movement and Manipulation

What gives a puppet life is its ability to breathe and think. Initial training will focus on understanding breath: its impulse and its link to intention and action in the creation of a puppet narrative. When a puppeteer has invested this understanding into their own body, the puppet will become an extension of its operator who must see, hear, and breathe through its body. Participants will explore this concept with regard to object animation and puppet manipulation. As the work develops, the student will delve into exploring articulated actions and reactions with a focus on growing levels of tension within the movement. Voice will be brought in throughout, but the focus will remain on the articulation of the character being developed, rather than on a text-based narrative. This work will derive from a variety of sources: Laban, Tadashi Suzuki, LeCoq, and viewpoints. As the student solidifies these skills through ongoing improvisation, the work will examine the relationship of the puppeteer/puppet to space, time and environment.

Puppet Construction and Design

Puppet construction and design go hand in hand with puppet performance, and this relationship yields truly inspired results. Students will first work with paper and tape to explore puppet forms - unbound by limitations of what a puppet can be. As ideas begin to solidify, so will the materials. Caning, cloth, paper composites, wood, clay and latex will be added to the repertoire. Specific instruction will also be given on designing and building joints and mechanisms.

Survey of Puppetry in Contemporary Culture

Through a series of dialogues, students will explore the mythology, history and styles of puppetry and their cultural significance in society. This exploration will encourage students to extend the boundaries of what they think puppet theatre is and how it can be practiced. Ideas explored in this portion of the intensive feed directly into studio and workshop activities.

Ensemble Creation

The final component of this intensive will focus on ensemble creation and the development of short “works-in-progress”. Using objects, masks, and puppets (built and/or brought by participants or from our collection) students will work in small groups to create a piece of puppet theatre that is based on a narrative idea. The ensemble creation process will be closely guided through directed exercises and discussions about ensemble dynamics, dramaturgy and how to develop ideas into a performance. Instructors will mentor groups throughout the process, and identify problems and solutions as ideas take shape. Students will also have opportunities to show each other their work as they progress for guided feedback. These pieces will be presented in our Black Box Theatre at the end of the intensive for an invited audience.

Mandate & History

The Humber College Puppetry Intensive exists to provide a program for training, creation, experimentation, and collaboration in the art of puppetry. We are focused on the continued development of a theatrical pedagogy to support creative inspiration, and the growth of a vibrant community of puppet artists that shall venture forth into a realm of endless artistic potential.

This intensive was designed in consultation with some of the top professional puppet artists in North America: Faye Dupras (Foreign Landscapes Productions), Shawna Reiter (Clunk Puppet Lab), David and Ann Powell (Puppetmongers) and Peter Balkwill of The Old Trout Puppet Theatre Workshop. The curriculum is rooted in the values of our Theatre Performance and Production Programs, both of which are proud to offer training in contemporary devised theatre and performance creation, and who work closely together to offer unique opportunities for collaboration in the creation of original work. Therefore, we encourage participants from all backgrounds to come with their diverse ideas, to collaborate in this open medium of creation.

People wave long stretches of blue fabric

Close-up of an unfinished puppet face

A row of puppets on a bench


Three people manipulate puppets

Heather KentHeather Kent

Heather is the Program Director for Theatre Production at Humber College. Her love for puppetry arts has led her to study and work with artists from the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Puppetmongers and Ronnie Burkett. She currently serves on the board for UNIMA Canada (Union Internationale de la Marionnette), Arts 4 All, and Puppetmongers.

Read more here.

I loved everything about The Intensive: the instructors with their different approaches and areas of expertise; the inspiring mix of instruction, demonstration, creative process, discussion, building, hands-on manipulation and team work; the additional workshops; industry night; and the quirky, diverse group of aspiring puppeteer-participants that I felt happy to be a part of and that continues to be an inspiration for me today. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to free the inner puppet!

- Kris Fleerackers, 2014 participant

Shawna ReiterShawna Reiter

Shawna is the coordinator and an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Intensive Workshop. She is the co-founder and Artistic Director of CLUNK Puppet Lab, a multidisciplinary company that creates original work through the exploration of highly visual theatre. Trained as a visual artist, Shawna devised a hybrid practice that integrates her artistic training with her passion for puppet theatre.

Read more here.


Faye DuprasFaye Dupras

Faye is an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Intensive Workshop. She has worked as a director, puppeteer and educator throughout Eastern Canada and the USA. As an image based theater artist she is dedicated to creating visually and thematically rich, cross-disciplinary new works. 

Read more here.


Ann PowellAnn Powell

Ann is an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Intensive Workshop. She co-founded Puppetmongers Theatre in with her brother David and together they create new works that have garnered awards and critical acclaim. She has toured and travelled extensively, performing Puppetmongers’ plays and observing puppetry around the world.

Read more here.

David PowellDavid Powell

David is an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Intensive Workshop. As a co-founder of Puppetmongers, David has been involved with all levels of production: design, scripting, construction, marketing, touring, performing and administration. With Puppetmongers, he has created 11 new works, toured extensively, and received awards in Canada and the USA.

Read more here.

Ingrid HansenIngrid Hansen

Ingrid is an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Master Classes. Raised by lively Danish parents and fueled by a love for talking with strangers, Ingrid is fascinated with ways of creating temporary communities out of groups of strangers. She pushes polite Canadian boundaries with great mutual respect and humour. In 2006 she co-founded SNAFU Dance Theatre.

Read more here.

Mike PetersonMike Petersen

Mike is an instructor in Humber's Puppetry Master Classes. Mike's career began on Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock in 1984. Since then he has performed around the world. He appeared opposite Kevin Spacey in the feature film Casino Jack and acted with Dean Cain in the Hallmark Christmas special The Case for Christmas.

Read more here.


All classes will take place in the recently renovated, state-of-the-art facilities of the Humber College Arts and Media Studios at 300 Birmingham Street (Kipling & Lakeshore West), situated by beautiful lake Ontario parkland, the Historic Lakeshore Campus and a short streetcar/subway ride from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto.

The studios are housed in a newly renovated building which features a large Black Box Theatre, seven movement studios, a prop shop, a paint shop, a carpentry shop and a wardrobe shop.

The studios are close to the busy Lakeshore Boulevard where you can find restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and the rest of Humber’s Lakeshore campus. If the weather is good, we may just find ourselves doing a class down by the lake!

To view our campus and facilities, click here.


Humber College is equipped with a residence that offers hotel style accommodations. To learn more about our residence and to book your room, click here.



Faye Dupras

Faye Dupras

Puppetry Intensive Instructor
Read More
Shawna Reiter

Shawna Reiter

Puppetry Intensive Instructor
Read More
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Instructor manipulates puppet wings

Puppetry show

Student poses with puppet

Puppet swinging arms

Shadow puppets

Small wooden puppet reclines on table

Puppet legs and hand

Student sculpts puppet head

Puppet hands on table

Student works on puppet

Student sketches ideas

A lady manipulates a large puppet

Instructor poses with ornate shadow puppet

Puppet-making tools

Students move expressively