Teachers Institute

The SETC Teachers Institute is an all-day seminar that is designed for teachers and directors of theatre arts, teachers who use or integrate theatre techniques into their classroom teaching experience, and students studying to be theatre educators. In-Service, Continuing Education Credits and/or Professional Development documentation is offered. Contact info@setc.org for more information.

11th Annual Teachers Institute

The Power of Puppet Play: Transformation for the Classroom and the Stage

Presented by Aretta Baumgartner from the Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta)

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What Is a Puppet?
"Stretch your definition of puppetry. Consider anything you can pick up and bring to life."
                                                                                                                                              Aretta Baumgartner

We are hard-wired to tell stories through objects. Beginning with the earliest humans using sticks, stones, shadows and articulated skulls to overcome barriers of language, and continuing through today with artists and educators using thoughtfully designed and carefully constructed figures and masks, we all have it in us to be successful puppeteers! Kermit the Frog, Yoda, Joey (the War Horse), Kate Monster (and the other residents of Avenue Q), Howdy Doody and scores of other unique puppets that spring from our own imaginations can help us share the stories of the worlds inside and around us in creative and meaningful ways.

Whether you’re interested in embracing puppetry as a means of expanding your teaching modules or enhancing your stage productions, you will be inspired by this unique art form that taps into our inherited behaviors. Aretta’s day-long seminar will engage you in understanding puppetry’s history and purpose, in learning how to craft puppets and use them effectively, and in discovering the transformative power of puppet play.


Puppetry has the power to transcend language, age and curriculum. Whether you teach elementary, middle or high school students, and whether your focus is theatre, literature or science, this day-long seminar will give you a chance to immerse yourself in techniques that will enliven your classroom teaching.

Aretta Baumgartner will guide you through a day that will invite you to:

  • Discover the origins of puppetry as human communication and storytelling
  • Explore how puppetry intersects with science, technology, social studies, language arts and other cross-curricular subjects
  • Understand how puppetry aligns with education standards
  • Use the global lens of puppetry to connect with students in increasingly diverse classrooms
  • Celebrate how puppetry takes on 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking
  • Create strategies for using puppetry to reach reticent students and to encourage focus in distracted ones
  • Manipulate all sorts of puppets that you can easily make and use in your classrooms


Puppetry gives you a practical (and magical!) way to expand your cast, solve casting problems (fantasy creatures, animals, etc.), and support your aesthetic vision. Artists of all disciplines — designers, builders, writers, directors, technicians and performers — can find a home in puppetry arts.

Participants will have a blast working (and playing!) together as they dive into these puppetry basics:

  • Definition, overview and philosophy of puppetry as theatre history and global theatre
  • Actor to puppeteer transformation exercises
  • Transfer-of-energy work
  • Elements of successful puppetry performance
  • Ensemble collage puppetry (building and scenework)

Plan to Attend

When: March 2, 2016, from 9am – 4pm 
67th Annual SETC Convention – Pre-Conference Seminar

Where: Sheraton Greensboro / Koury Convention Center
3121 Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, North Carolina

Pre-Registration Deadline: January 28, 2016
Pre-Registration Cost: $85 (includes a hot lunch)

Please Note: Participants in the SETC Teacher's Institute are invited to stay as guests for Wednesday evening convention programs including a special presentation from Aretta Baumgartner at 7pm. Teacher's Institute is a separate program from the SETC Convention. If you wish to attend the rest of the convention, March 3-5, you must register separately. 

Center for Puppetry Arts

Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts is the premier training program for puppetry for all ages in the US. Its mission is to “inspire imagination, education and community through the global art of puppetry.” The Center has focused on Performance, Education and its Museum for 36 years. Today it is the largest American non-profit organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theatre. It serves as headquarters for the American branch of the international puppetry organization Union International de la Marionnette, the oldest theatre organization in the world. Visit www.puppet.org  for more information.

Aretta BaumgartnerAretta Baumgartner

Aretta Baumgartner’s career in theatre, music, movement and PUPPETRY combined with her teaching experience led her to the Center for Puppetry Arts in 2011. 

Read more about Aretta Baumgartner »

Professional Development Credits

Contact SETC Central Office for more information on continuing education units and/or professional development documentation. Contact your local education agency or fine arts coordinator in your county to find out what you need to qualify for Professional Development Credits. SETC will provide documentation on your participation.

About Us

SETCThe Southeastern Theatre Conference is a dynamic membership organization serving a diverse constituency and reaching throughout the southeast region of the United States and beyond.

"Serving the Nation in Theatre"



Contact Info

Southeastern Theatre Conference, Inc.

1175 Revolution Mill Drive, Studio 14

Greensboro, NC 27405

Phone 336-272-3645

Fax 336-272-8810 

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