A decade of the Puppet Slam Network

Jen Lynn, photo: Doug Wong

On September 2nd, 2016, I finished my tenure at the Puppet Slam Network (PSN), which I co-founded in 2005 with Heather Henson through support from her production company, Ibex Puppetry.  

“The Puppet Slam Network has given us a sense of belonging to a wide dynamic network.”

Deborah Hunt, San Juan

As PSN coordinator for just over a decade, my work focused on cataloguing, connecting, supporting, and generating awareness for evenings of short-form puppetry for adults.  

PSN fostered connections for independently produced puppet cabarets, so that puppet artists knew where they could perform, venues could find puppet artists, and audiences could enjoy an intimate, tactile, and compelling form of entertainment.  

While managing PSN, I coordinated over 260 grants, monthly calendars, multimedia presentations for groups and conferences, and the website (now archival). 

In addition to working at the Puppet Slam Network, I also worked on a number of Ibex company projects, including the Orlando Puppet Festival, Handmade Puppet Dreams, Panther and Crane, and interactive film screenings.

“The Puppet Slam Network has helped us achieve our goals and put on successful slams in our community, by both giving us the funds to produce slams and pay performers, as well as connecting us to other slams, puppeteers and performers. This has broadened our reach in the puppetry community and our own.”

Valerie Meiss, Asheville North Carolina



I published a series of 24 interviews with puppet slam artists and curators:

Nick Hubbard

Tommy Cannon

Nancy Smith


Dylan Shelton

Christine Papalexis
Los Angeles

Blainor McGough
Portland, Maine

Vanessa Gilbert


Carole D’Agostino
New Jersey

Honey Goodenough

Cathy Shaw

Roxie Myhrum

Valeska Populoh

Beau Brown

Valerie Meiss


The website also included practical information for artists and curators:

Why Puppet Slams?

August 19th, 2012

“I like to laugh at jokes that are on a more adult level of humor, whether it’s bawdy, or sophisticated…” (More)

Puppet Slam Network History

August 3, 2012

When was the very first puppet slam? Surely there must have been Paleolithic Slams or something like them with cave people” (More)

The Future of Puppet Slams

June 14, 2012

Leading Puppet Slam Artists reflect on where they see the Puppet Slam movement in the future. “I see more collaboration between puppeteers and musicians.” (More)

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

June 7, 2012

If genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, what makes these leading slam artists sweat?…(More)

Couples Counseling
Partnering with a Fiscal Recipient

June 3, 2012

“When choosing a fiscal recipient, select your partner organization carefully.” (More)

Fabulous Failures & What Can We Learn?

May 18, 2012

curators and artists open up to reflect on some fabulous failures and spectacular slam disasters and what can be learned. (More)

Advice for Puppet Slam Artists + Curators

May 17, 2012

“Maintain a spirit of adventurousness and experimentation but also never forget the importance of the audience.” (More)

Is this Résumé Goodenough?

April 19, 2012

“I will customize my own resumes to suit the client- some people don’t care if I can build. I have a show resume. Some people don’t care if I can make puppets…” (More)

How Has the Puppet Slam Network Helped You?

September 3, 2011

“Being on an island can be quite isolating and the sense of the puppeteers being in a wider dialogue with puppeteers from the US I think has helped artists here see a wider variety of work.” (More)

"Some of the most memorable shows that we have presented were made by sculptors or visual artists who found their way to puppets as an extension of their art practice" - Vanessa Gilbert, Blood from a Turnip, Providence

The Heather Henson Foundation has continued to support individual puppet slams beyond the run of the Puppet Slam Network.

Ibex  Puppetry is an entertainment company dedicated to promoting the fine art of puppetry in all of its mediums. Founded in 2000 and receiving multiple UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) awards, Ibex Puppetry supports puppet art in the mediums of film, stage, gallery exhibits, workshops and artist presentations.