Guild News / Upcoming Events


A New Beginning

January 15, 2017 marked a "new beginning" for the Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio, as the group met locally for the first time in almost five years. Under new leadership, the group is looking forward to a bright future. A new board of directors was put in place to help guide the guild into the new year with a new fire and energy. 

Guild President, Vincent Polowy brings his twenty-seven years of experience as a professional puppeteer to the group, along with his talents as a theatrical set, lighting, prop, and sound designer. He has performed as a professional magician, clown, and musician for over thirty years. He is the Artistic Director of Great Lakes National Puppet Theater.

Vice President, Nancy Sander is the owner of "Puppets with Pizazz", and brings with her over thirty years experience as a professional puppeteer, writer and educator. Nancy is the heart and soul of the Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio and is the reason that we still exist today.

Treasurer, Jennifer Walker is the Associate Director and chief puppeteer of Great Lakes National Puppet Theater. She is an artist, painter and sculptor, as well as a technical theater professional. A former child care specialist, Jennifer also performs as a professional clown and is the lead singer of "The Donegal Doggs", a Cleveland based, traditional, Irish music group.

Secretary, Kirk Maynard brings his experience as a professional puppeteer, director, and writer, to the guild. Kirk is the President/CEO of Natural Bridges Puppets and is a  former clown, police officer, police dispatcher, special effects makeup artist, and a U.S. Army veteran.

Membership Chairman, Nate Puppets is a young and extremely enthusiastic, Cleveland-based ventriloquist, who has loved puppetry his entire life. He is a performer who has also been building puppets since high school. Nate had the opportunity to work with Jim Henson Productions and Sesame Street, when he performed on the Sesame Street float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, operating the "Baby Bear" puppet.  

The members of the Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio are now making plans for the future, including an event in April to celebrate a Day With Puppets. The event will include walk-around puppet characters, workshops and classes for children and adults alike, and full-length puppet performances by guild members! Stay tuned for more information!


February 2017 Meeting

The Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio met for our monthly meeting on Sunday February 19, 2017. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet at Tailspinner Children's Theatre, in Cleveland, Ohio. Our host for the day, Alison Garrigan, is the Founder and Exectutive Director of Tailspinner and she was gracious enough to show us some of the many puppets that she created for their productions.

After refreshments, Janelle Reardon gave a demonstration on using puppets in storytelling. 

For Show & Tell, Nate Puppets showed us his "Lobo" puppet, while David J. Syrotiak, Managing Director of National Marionette Theater, presented two puppets from the theater's production of "Alice in Wonderland". We were fortunate that David brought with him, his wife Mariana Palade Syrotiak and his father, National Marionette Theater's Founder and Artistic Director, David Syrotiak Sr.

Plans were also discussed for the guild's upcoming "Day with Puppets" event, to be held in April.


March 2017 Meeting

The Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio met for our monthly meeting on Saturday March 18, 2017 at Grace Presbyterian Church, in Lakewood, Ohio. Guild Vice-President, Nancy Sander performed a fund-raiser show for the church and we were very happy and excited to watch her perform her production of "Three Millie Goats Bluff".

After refreshments were served, we held discussion about several topics, including upcoming meetings, performances and "Day With Puppets 2018".


April 2017 Meeting

The Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio held our monthly meeting on Sunday April 23, 2017, at Grace Presbyterian Church, in Lakewood, Ohio.

After a brief discussion, including the welcoming of four new potential members, Vincent Polowy and Jennifer Walker, of Great Lakes National Puppet Theater performed their production of "Shoemaker and the Elf". The production was performed with hand - crafted, Bunraku type puppets. After the performance, there was a brief question and answer session, followed by refreshments.

A short business meeting was held, with discussion about upcoming meeting and events, as well as the decision to raise the guild membership yearly dues to $20 for an individual and $25 for couples and families. This fee will help to cover the costs of refreshments throughout the year, as well as workshop materials and entertainment for the guild banquet.

Following the business meeting, Guild Treasurer, Jennifer Walker, presented a brief lecture on a recent parade puppet restoration project that was completed by the Great Lakes National Puppet Theater.

We concluded our meeting with a "Show & Tell", with Nate Puppets showing us his newly accuired polar bear puppet, and Nancy Sander showing us her brilliant, trick,  rod puppet that allows for the appearance of a large pat of butter actually melting atop the puppets head and "melting" down the face and hair of the puppet!

Several members of the guild then went out for dinner and a continuation of conversation. A grande time was had by all!


May 2017 Meeting

The Puppetry Guild of Northeastern Ohio held our monthly meeting on Sunday May 21, 2017, at Grace Presbyterian Church, in Lakewood, Ohio. 

Guild President, Vincent Polowy, began the meeting with some discussion about the recent Guild Presidents Meeting and some of the information that was included, as well as some discussion about recent bank deposits of guild dues, and the upcoming "Parade the Circle" event. Due to the fact that the people at "Parade the Circle" have not contacted us, after several phone calls and emails, the decision was made to NOT participate in this years parade.

David Syrotiak, from National Marionette Theater , gave a wonderful presentation on marionettes, stringing techniques and manipulation. He presented several of the puppets used in National Marionette Theater productions and the entire presentation was nothing short of awe inspiring! We thank David for his efforts and his enthusiastic willingness to participate.

After refreshments were served, guild members had "Show & Tell", with Nate Puppets showing us all his "New & Improved" "Jason" puppet.

Members took stuffed animal toy "ants" home with them, to convert into marionettes that the guild will use for demonstrations and child participation for next years "Day with Puppets" event.

Following the meeting, several members of the guild went for dinner at a local Thai restaurant, where they continued the conversation, before departing for home.

We hope that we will see more members at our next meeting. Please invite your friends to join us!


October 2017 Meeting

For our October meeting, we were very fortunate to have Sharon Peck come in. Sharon did a lecture/workshop called "Tabletop Puppetry With Children's Literature". Sharon teaches children's literature and related courses at SUNY Geneseo, in Rochester, New York and has been deeply involved in puppets, believing that puppetry touches the imagination of children as no other venue can. She is the former regional director of the Northeastern Region of Puppeteers of America.

We  also had a brief business meeting and lots of discussion about the upcoming Puppeteers Potlatch event, coming up in November.


Puppet Potlatch 2017 Was a Great Success

The recent Great Lakes Region Puppet Potlatch Festival was held November 3, 4, & 5th, at the beautiful Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park, in Angola, Indiana. It was an amazing weekend full of food, friendship, workshops, performances, and, of course...PUPPETS!

This years Gathering set a record for attendance, with 143 registered participants. Folks came in from all over to enjoy the festivities.

Some of the highlights included awesome workshops from our very own David Syrotiak, of National Marionette Theater,  our friends Sharon Peck and Langston Hatch, as well as some really talented puppeteers.

Performance highlights included Bob Brown, with his Christmas holiday marionette show, as well as world class performances from the Melikin Puppet Theater and Kevin Frisch Marionettes.

Making an appearance at this years event was puppeteer Jim Rose, whose huge collection of puppets was the absolute highlight of the Trading Post event!

Special presentations were made in recognition of all of the 50+ year puppeteers, and a special presentation was made to both the Melikin Puppet Theater and David Syrotiak Sr., of National Marionette Theater. Both were given framed cirtificates from the Puppeteers of America for their years of dedication to the art of puppetry, as well as cards signed by all of the Potlatch participants and cakes, decorated with their company logos.

Sunday morning's "Punch Brunch" was a huge hit, as our own Nancy Sander drove in through the fog and rain, to perform her brand new "Punch & Judy" show. Nancy was a huge hit, and her performance was hilariously funny! 

The dates for the 2018 Potlatch event were announced as November 2, 3, & 4, 2018. If you are able, please do yourself a favor and plan on attending. 

Upcoming Event


Great Lakes Regional Potlatch November 2, 3, 4 2018 Potawatomi Inn, Pokagon State Park, Angola, IN

 Celebrating thirty years since a group of puppeteers from The Puppeteers of America Great Lakes Region thought it would be fun for puppeteers and their families to get together for a weekend of puppets, puppet shows, and workshops. Today about 150 puppet-loving folks drop their worries and cares at the door of the beautiful Potawatomi Inn, which is located on the shore of Lake George, in Pokagon State Park, Angola, Indiana, for this fun and educational conference we call Potlatch. Potlatch has grown from a gathering of mostly professional puppeteers into a place where a newcomer is not only welcomed but is immersed into the fascinating world of puppetry. Join us and see for yoursel