What does a Puppet Designer & Maker do?

A Puppet Designer & Maker - often referred to as a Puppeteer - is someone who designs, creates and dresses puppets and uses them to stage a live performance. Puppetry is the art of making puppets and presenting a puppet show to an audience. Puppets are small figures which are designed to be used by hand or by wire for the purpose of entertainment. 

You can search for opportunities in puppetry using The Stage Jobs here. 

What are the main responsibilities of a Puppet Maker?

  • Design and make puppets
  • Create hand, string, rod and shadow puppets from materials such as wood, paper mache, styrofoam, wires, metal, and rubber
  • Write or obtain scripts for the performance
  • Move and control the puppets to animate them for an audience
  • Study media for ideas that relate to stories, plays and seasonal themes
  • Sew clothing for puppets by hand or machine
  • Talk or sing during performances to give the illusion of voice to the puppets
  • Operate audio equipment during performances 
  • Organise bookings for the puppet show or theatre and deliver on these deadlines. For example, ensure a venue is booked, equipment is prepped and additional staff are hired if necessary

Find voice-over opportunities to perfect your craft when performing to audiences.

What qualifications do I need to be a Puppet Maker?

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a Puppet Maker. However a qualification in performing arts can be beneficial to learn skills necessary to conduct a public performance. Many Puppet Makers come from an academic background in drama.

Find performing arts opportunities on the Get Into Theatre website here. 

What skills do I need to be a Puppet Maker?

  • Understanding of audience expectations for performance, quality and authenticity
  • Understanding of marketing or advertising techniques to increase bookings 
  • Ability to speak in public
  • Ability to think quickly around problems in performance
  • The technical ability to create puppets

Find courses in puppetry here on the Get Into Theatre website here. 

What does a career in puppet making look like?

Many ameteur Puppet Makers choose to begin with children’s parties if they have limited puppets and props and this is a good way to run a business if you’re alone or there are two of you. Repeat bookings mean a show can grow to include more equipment, a large venue and eventually more people to join the show. Some Puppet Makers take their shows to festivals such as Edinburgh Fringe Festival to build on their experience and promote their shows. Some Puppet Makers go on to work in theatre productions if puppets are required. 

How much does a Puppet Maker earn?

Most Puppet Makers work on a freelance basis and their salary can vary. The average for a successful performer can be between £30k and £35k.

Find all careers advice here. 



Photo: Shutterstock

Published: 27 August 2019

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