Featured performers for the Southwest Regional Puppetry Festival include:
- Karen Konnerth of Calliope Puppets
- Greg Ruhe of Puppet Pizzazz
- Ellen Scott and Robbie Lueth of Hand to Mouth Puppet Theatre
- Pix Smith of Dallas Puppet Theater
- Allen Ware and Rick Strot of Ware House Puppets
- YOU at our Thursday evening open mic puppet slam
Greg Ruhe is the creator of Puppet Pizzazz. He developed his skills while
earning his B.F.A. from West Virginia University and by participating in
eight sessions with the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neil
Theatre Center. Greg has a strong commitment to education. He co-founded the
Children’s Theatre of Houston, twice awarded number one in arts in education
by the Cultural Arts Counsel of Houston. Greg also worked for the Texas
Institute for Arts in Education as a teaching artist and performer for ten
years. He is currently touring the world by sharing his Puppet Pizzazz with
The International Schools Theatre Association. Greg Ruhe is a proud member
of UNIMA, the World Puppetry Organization, Puppeteers of America, and the
Greater Houston Puppetry Guild.
Ellen Scott and Robbie Lueth – For 40 years Hand to Mouth Puppet Theatre has performed the art of puppetry at festivals, libraries, museums, clubs, schools, and in the middle of windy fields. Ellen Turner Scott is a part of the Austin Public Library Puppetry Troupe, Literature Live! She also owns Nancy Renfro Studios, Inc., a puppet media company. Robbie Lueth has been a puppeteer for 40 years. She has also enjoyed a long career as a high school English teacher and has brought puppets into the classroom at every opportunity. According to sources: “By the age of 4, Robbie and Ellen had been given their very first puppets which proved to be wonderfully cooperative, usually doing exactly what they wished. Robbie and Ellen liked this and so began their lifelong fascination with making the inanimate come to life. By the age of 10, after years of independent study, they ran away with a traveling puppet show. “This is the life for us,” they said. Noting that the puppets never asked for paychecks, they envisioned a profession offering wealth, ease and artistic satisfaction. They have not been wrong.”
Pix Smith – Pix Smith is the director of the Dallas Puppet Theater and has been performing since 1980, beginning with Fred Cowan. The Dallas Puppet Theater is in its 36th season of production family entertainment, and exists to promote the art of puppetry through an ongoing series of workshops, public performances, exhibits, and collaborations. Pix has performed throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia.
Allen Reeves Ware holds Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Baylor University with a focus on educational theatre and puppetry. Large-scale marionettes perform to lively and familiar music all operated in full view of the audience. After the show, our special backstage look has inspired not only new puppeteers, but even other performers!
Rick Strot created the Ware House Puppets together with Dr. Ware. Rick is a School of Education Senior Lecturer at Baylor University. Both gentlemen are members of The Puppeteers of America (PoA), and active with PoA’s Puppetry in Education and Therapy, for which Dr. Ware serves as a committee member. Together they entertain children and families with fun stories that carry simple but important lessons. Strot and Ware bring decades of puppetry experience to The Ware House Puppets, and they are pleased to return to the show that began their creative partnership as they present “The Goat in the Chili Patch.”
Karen Konnerth is artistic director of world traveling Calliope Puppets, presenting thoughtfully interactive puppet theater for forty years for children, families, and art lovers of all ages featuring handmade puppets in a wide variety of techniques. She is also an award-winning arts integration specialist, with over thirty years’ experience developing and implementing arts integrated (puppetry, creative writing, visual art) curriculum in elementary school classrooms and now sharing this experience with teachers through participatory workshops on strategies to engage students and deepen learning across the curriculum, using simple and easily available materials. Teacher workshop presentation sites include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as the U.S. Embassy English Language Specialist Program in Central America, Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa.