Puppet Lab Application

2019 / 2020 – call for PROPOSALS

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

Deadline of Submission June 15, 2019, 5pm

Proposal feedback via email until May 3, 2019

What is Puppet Lab?

Puppet Lab is a developmental laboratory for artists working within the medium of puppetry. Four artists or collaborative teams will be selected on the basis of a proposed project that will be work-shopped from mid-September 2019 through February 2020. The Lab culminates in a public presentation at In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (HOBT) in February/March 2020.

Puppet Lab establishes a formalized process for emerging puppet and mask theater artists to advance their artistic development – to test and create new works within a supportive and challenging workshop environment. This program gives artists the time and space to test ideas, learn from others, and receive and respond to critical feedback.

We are interested in pushing the boundaries of what we collectively consider to be “puppet theater”. We are curious and stimulated by exploratory, experimental, and innovative performance. We are interested in ideas that work within traditional forms as well as projects that are new in every way.

We look forward to supporting artists who have worked with puppets as well as artists of other disciplines who are interested in delving into a new art form: shadow puppetry, hand puppets, masks, found objects, automatons, any and all sized spectacles, rod puppets, bunraku, miniature installation, marionettes, ventriloquism, integrated media, cantastoria, toy theater, animated projections or new inventions of any of these ancient forms. We will look deeply into how stories

(ideas, concept or content) are shared through the means of puppetry.

Through the Puppet Labʼs meetings we will develop each piece from the beginning concept to a final production. From the nuts and bolts of puppet making to the conceptual working out of storytelling, we will apply a rigorous process to each performance. During these sessions artists are expected to test ideas in puppetry technique, design, and storytelling – they will view each others work in progress and contribute to discussions of the work.

Artist’s must be able to attend all of the following:

Twice monthly sessions, facilitated by Alison Heimstead, HOBT Core Associate Artist, are designed to help the development of the individual performances.

Schedule / Date Requirements:

  • Puppet Lab Group Sessions: (All meetings are 6:30-9:30pm at the HOBT facility)

September 3, and 16

October 7, and 20

November 4, and 18

December 2, and 16

January 6

  • Super Sessions:

December 8  1-6pm

January 25  1-6pm

  • Technical Rehearsals (specific times TBD) February 24-27 + March 2-25
  • Performances

 – Program A: February 28, 29, and March 1

              – Program B: March 6, 7, and 8

  • Evaluation TBD

Summary of Commissioning and Mentoring Support:

Each artist or collaborative team will be able to hire an outside Director to mentor

them on the specifics of their performance. The four directors will also attend two

Super Sessions spread out through the Puppet Lab schedule to give feedback to

not only their menteeʼs project, but to all four of the developing Puppet Lab performances.

Mentoring and Support:

  • Honorarium of $2000 to artist(s)
  • Rehearsal space and some studio space access and temporary storage
  • Materials stipend of $500
  • Critical response workshops (Puppet Lab Group Sessions)
  • Two Super Sessions with all participants and all mentor directors
  • Honorarium of $750 to hire a Director to help artist(s) develop the work

(Directors must be able to attend both Super Sessions, all tech + dress

rehearsals, and any meetings and rehearsals artist(s) and director agree


  • Modest technical support. A lighting designer, a stage manager, and a

run crew will be provided. Access to HOBTʼs lighting, sound, and audio

visual equipment.

  • Promotion and marketing of the performances.
  • Photo and Video documentation of the Performances.


The artists must consider themselves emerging artists.

Jerome Foundation define that as:

Artists who have evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment; and who are not recognized as established artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators. Examples of recognition include: exhibitions, critical reviews, commissions, performances, grant awards, residencies, fellowships, publications, and productions.

Is it possible to be pre-emerging? Yes, if the artist applying hasn’t created a base level amount of work. Please contact the coordinator if you have questions on this.  

You are ineligible if:

  • You are a full time student
  • You intend to create a work of puppetry that is solely intended for youth
  • You are a Puppet Lab panelist (this year)
  • You are a former Puppet Lab Artist
  • You are an employee at In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (contracted artists are welcome to apply)

To apply submit the following materials:

Check list:

__ Demographic Info Sheet

__ Artist Statement

__ Project Description

__ Visual

__ Resume

__ Work Sample

­__ Work Sample Description

  • Artist Statement — 500 word (max) narrative description of why the artist is

applying to Puppet Lab. Applicants will describe their typical process of creating performance work and state how the Puppet Lab environment of process-driven feedback would benefit the work and their artistic development – and how this is not just a production opportunity.

  • Project Description — 500 word (max) narrative of the project to be developed.

Please describe your proposed project.

And please address these questions:

      How is puppetry necessary or integral to your idea?

      What kind of puppetry (if you know) do you want to work with?

      How is this performance a new exploration for you?

      What questions are you asking in your work right now?

  • Visual Concept – Show the visual direction you are interested in beginning with for this project. This can be a sketch, storyboard, photographs, or combination of images that are directly relevant to the puppetry/visual ideas in the proposed project and must be one sided and no larger than 8 ½ x 11.
  • Artistic Resume — One-page summary of artistic experiences and accomplishments. One page for each participating artist – if presenting as collaborative team.

Work Sample – Video, please no more than 5 minutes – needs to be submitted as Vimeo or You Tube link. If video is longer the panel will only review the first 5 minutes.

OR images of recent artistic work – please no more than 10 images.

(please label images with your initials, for example Alison Heimstead’s picture one would be labeled like this:  AH_image _1)

Work samples are evaluated for the art being presented, not the quality of the documentation.

With this please submit a Work Sample Description that describes when and where the work was presented and what your role to the work was.

Selection Criteria

The four artists or collaborative teams will be selected through a competitive jury

process. Artists will be selected based on criteria that include:

  • Demonstrate a need and interest in further developing their artistic process in the context of In the Heart of the Beast Theatre
  • Interest in participating in a critical response process with peers and mentor
  • Demonstrated commitment to puppetry – this can mean a history of doing

puppet performance or a strong vision for it in your work

  • Relative cultural value of the workʼs content
  • Commitment to generating new and innovative work
  • Ability to manifest a performance
  • Ability to participate in the full Puppet Lab process
  • Quality of work presented in the work sample

Review Panel

The review panel will be comprised three local established performance-based

artists – one panelist will have been a former Puppet Lab artist.

Panelists will be selected for their demonstrated experience in and

knowledge of the field of puppetry and experimental theater as well as their

understanding of HOBTʼs mission and work.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatreʼs Mission:

To bring people together for the common good through the power of puppet and mask


If you have any questions or are interested in reviewing past successful applications please contact Alison Heimstead, Performance Curator: [email protected].

Your application must be received by email or mail or hand delivered no later than 5pm Wednesday, June 15, 2019. We will announce the recipients by July 30, 2019.

To apply, submit materials to: [email protected]  OR

attn: PUPPET LAB / Alison Heimstead

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

1500 East Lake Street

Minneapolis, MN 55407

This program is made possible by generous support from the Jerome Foundation.