IMG_0474In addition to performances, we also offer customized workshops and residencies of varying lengths for all ages. Our workshops can range from an extended show-and-tell to a hands-on puppet-building workshop and can last 45-minutes or even weeks! We do workshops for children, adults, and intergenerational workshops, too.

Workshops are designed to meet your individual needs, and prices vary depending on the size and scope of the workshop. You can follow the links above for specific examples  If you would like to have us out for a workshop, have questions about workshops, or want to explore workshop options, please call us at 804-358-3377 or send an email.

Exploring Ecology & Living Systems through Shadow Puppetry

shadow mediumLions and tigers and bears? Despite what Dorothy says, these animals do not share habitats. Through shadow puppetry, students demonstrate their understanding of the ecosystems, habitats, and niches they study. In this residency, students create shadow puppets and develop characters that explore their environment. Working in groups, they build visual scenes to share with their class. Heidi Rugg of Barefoot Puppet Theatre expertly guides your students through the diverse and varied landscapes of the world of puppetry and the world in which we live.

We have done a variety of workshops for children and are always coming up with more. Some of our popular options are listed below. If you would like to have your own customized workshop in conjunction with a show, please call contact us to learn more!

2014-07-22 15.45.41Question & Answer Session/Backstage Tour

Our most popular option! Following a performance, our performers are always happy to demonstrate the puppets and answer questions from the audience. A 5-15 minute show-and-tell directly following a performance is always available, free of charge. For a nominal fee, we can also meet with classes  for a behind-the-scenes tour of a show with a lengthier demonstration of our puppets, props, staging, and sound cuing system. (All ages.)

Shadow Puppets: 50-60 minutes

We bring a shadow screen, lights, and simple materials. We demonstrate building and performing with shadow puppets. Children will create their own shadow puppets and work with them on the shadow screen. This option is expandable to a residency where children can create their own plays. We adapt this workshop as needed for various grade levels. (Grades K-5)

Theatre Games: 45-60 minutes

Theatre and improvisational games offer an opportunity for individual expression and community building in a fun atmosphere. Students will work together and learn a variety of age-appropriate games used in theatre to teach performance skills and build confidence while thinking on their feet. (Ages 6 & up)

Tortoise Rod Puppets: 50-60 minutes

In this workshop, we demonstrate tabletop rod puppets and allow students to make their own tortoise rod puppet. This workshop fits well with Galapagos George. (Grades 1-3)

Puppetry in the Classroom or Library

Instructor: Heidi Rugg

We demonstrate effective ways to use puppets with young children in an educational setting. Heidi brings examples of short and effective programs, a bin full of books that educators can peruse, and a short workbook with lots of helpful tips. With many puppets on hand (literally), participants will work on basic puppetry skills with an aim to becoming comfortable while interacting with others. Learn more about how puppetry can aid in self-expression, further develop literacy skills, and augment curriculum in science, cultural studies, history, and other subject matter. (Adults)

Puppetry 101

Instructor: Heidi Rugg

Designed with a focus for either drama or art teachers, Heidi will lead participants in a journey through puppetry, tackling a bit of history of the art form while covering the six major types of puppets. For drama teachers, the focus is on performance, eye focus, manipulation, and staging. For art teachers, the focus is directed toward the creation of puppets. Time permitting, there can be a building/creation component.

Springs & Things – A workshop for rod puppet builders

Instructor: Heidi Rugg

Learn about extension springs, compression springs, and other materials that have unique applications in puppetry. During this workshop, Heidi demonstrates many of her own designs used in her rod puppets. Particpants build their own moving-mouth mechanism for a rod puppet and see examples of rod-puppets first hand! Heidi has done this workshop for puppeteers from all over the country and always provides a bin full of books to look at for further inspiration. (For great puppet books, we recommend The Puppetry Bookstore!)

giraffe zebra edited kapitiPuppetry is an integrated artform that connects visual arts and theatre. Many puppeteers are skilled in not only the manipulation of puppets and theatre-making but also in puppet building: papier mache, sewing, woodcraft, and plaster casting are just some of the ways that puppeteers create puppets. We can work with classroom teachers and art teachers to develop a puppetry program that supports integrated learning. Contact us for more details. Our director, Heidi Rugg, enjoys combining puppetry arts with other subject areas. (Science integration is our specialty!)


Barefoot Puppet Theater tours award-winning programs to theatres, schools, libraries, children's museums and more. Though we are based out of Richmond, VA, our self-contained productions tour across the country. No matter your location, Barefoot Puppet Theatre would be thrilled to perform for you! Contact us today!


P.O. Box 26366, Richmond, VA 23260 | 804. 358. 3377