The Catapult is a 4-day intensive festival experience designed for practicing artists and those seeking to advance their understanding and exposure to contemporary puppetry. Through the curated program, participants had exclusive access to the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, and the local and international artists performing within it.

Catapult participants attended 8 Festival performances and participated in post-show discussions, backstage tours/demonstrations, and workshops with the Festival artists. Participants also attended the Symposium, nightly Puppet Slam, and opening Festival reception.



Catapult Staff

Kristin Haverty, Catapult Director
Kristin serves as Associate Producer at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. She has performed in the Center’s The Ghastly Dreadfuls and Anne Frank: Within and Without and created cut-paper animations for Duke Ellington’s Cat, all UNIMA Citation award-winning productions. She has toured the Northwest as a puppeteer with Tears of Joy Theatre, studied puppetry with Dan Hurlin at Sarah Lawrence College and with I Wayan Nartha in Bali, Indonesia and performs music regularly with Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters. She has presented workshops for Puppeteers of America National Festivals, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and ASSITEJ-USA’s One Theater World Festival. She has contributed articles to Puppetry International and The Puppetry Journal. She is currently serving as a UNIMA-USA councilor. More of her work can be found at

Sarah Goone, Catapult Coordinator
Sarah is a puppeteer, visual artist, and performer. She recently graduated from Bennington College with a BA in liberal arts, and a focus on stop-motion animation and puppetry. During her time in college, she also spent a year studying theater design at Wimbledon College of Arts in London. So far, she has created two original, site-specific puppet shows, The Howling Infinite and Hero. She has worked with various puppeteers, puppet companies, and animation studios, including Redmoon Theater, Puppet Showplace Theater, Foreign Landscape Productions, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Spiffy Pictures. Her most recent work includes fabricating puppets designed by Blair Thomas for Lookingglass Theater’s original show, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth. Some of her work can be found at  



2017 Participants

Felice Amato is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a self-designed, practice-based program that merges research and making. Her focus is doll-references in women’s performance work. After teaching Spanish and art in the public schools for 20 years, Amato went back to school to pursue an MFA. Starting in ceramics, a lifetime love of puppetry finally lured her across the barrier between spectator and participant and between object maker and object performer. Devoted to the figure and to story, puppetry has become the ultimate medium for her collaged narratives that combine autobiography, folklore, and myth in an attempt to make sense and fun of motherhood, love, desire and loss. An experienced and devoted teacher, Amato has found that engaging with others in the creative process is a crucial part of her own practice.

Kimberly Androlowicz recently moved to South Bend, Indiana from Long Island, New York and is currently working as a youth services librarian while pursuing her Master of Library Science degree. She is particularly interested in puppetry as a mode of storytelling and an art form to build literacy skills. Kim did her undergraduate studies at Bennington College in Vermont where she concentrated in painting and set design and began her interest and study in puppetry. Mesmerized by the international Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival presented by the Sandglass Theater in Putney, Vermont she then participated in the Sandglass Theater’s Summer Puppet Arts Training Intensive. Kim studied theatre design at Yale School of Drama and abroad at Central St. Martins School of Art and Design and interned in scenic arts at Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has designed theatre productions and has had paintings shown in various galleries and juried exhibitions.

Jane Barnette is a theatre maker who writes about adaptation dramaturgy. In 2014, she and Michael Haverty produced their adaptation of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage for 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta (featuring a long-rod puppet, shadow puppetry, and animation design by Kristin Haverty); the following year, she was invited to Auburn University to remount the production. Jane teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and serves as the Acting Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Look for her book Adapturgy: The Dramaturg’s Art and Theatrical Adaptation in fall 2017 from Southern Illinois University Press (Theater of the Americas series)!

Katie Campbell is a director, performer, puppet artist, and teacher. She is originally from North Carolina but since 2007 has found an artistic home in Little Rock as a company member with the Arkansas Arts Center Childrenʼs Theater (AACCT), director and performer with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and improvisor with ImprovLittleRock and The Joint Venture. She is also the co-founder and director of the youth improv comedy company, Armadillo Rodeo.  She is a 2015 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant recipient for her shadow puppet play for young audiences, The Ugly Duckling. She is especially interested in shadow, bunraku, and kuruma ningyo puppetry. Additionally, she is a board member of TYA/USA, a national membership organization that strengthens the artistic and cultural impact of theatre for young audiences, and an active member of Puppeteers of America. She has an MFA in directing Theatre for Young People from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Theatre from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Geoffrey Cormier (James Island, South Carolina) discovered shadow puppetry through playing music and created Wayang Modern Shadow Puppet Theater in 1999. As a life-long musician, he understood the mental imagery induced by music and decided to build it. After working on two consecutive feature films for the Jim Henson Company, Geoffrey was fully immersed in the otherworldly and decided to reside there. Creating puppet theater is his decision to elevate the language and symbiotic relationship of music and form. Geoffrey practices shadow, hand, and marionette styles of puppetry. As well, he has traveled and studied to further develop grass puppetry. An early beginning in puppetry was when he was building puppets out of grass, plants, and roots. This lead to a discovery of little known grass puppets in Central Java where he has visited and studied. His research is presently being compiled for publication.

Michael Cotey is a Chicago-based director and actor. While earning his MFA in Directing at Northwestern University, Michael has directed THE GREAT GATSBY, EQUIVOCATION and FRANKENSTEIN. Other directing credits include Illinois Shakespeare Festival (THE COMEDY OF ERRORS), Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (DEATHTRAP [in 2017]; BOEING BOEING [named one of the top 10 shows of 2015 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel], and THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE), First Stage (ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD and AS YOU LIKE IT), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (CEMENTVILLE), Illinois Wesleyan University (TREASURE), and Youngblood Theatre (CARTOON; THE FLU SEASON; and SPIRITS TO ENFORCE). From 2009-2013 he was the Founding Artistic Director of Youngblood, which did “terrific work that [changed] the landscape of Milwaukee Theater” (Milwaukee Magazine) and was named the Shepherd Express’ best theatre company in 2010. As an actor Michael has worked regionally with the Milwaukee Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and in Milwaukee with Next Act, In Tandem and Youngblood. Michael has assisted prominent directors at Utah Shakespeare (Joseph Hanreddy), Steppenwolf (Hallie Gordon), Milwaukee Rep (Sean Graney), Gift Theatre (Jessica Thebus) and Northwestern (Henry Godinez). Michael graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in Acting. In 2014 he was named UWM’s “Graduate of the Last Decade.”

Bonnie Duncan has blended puppetry, dance, and physical theatre in surprising and delightful ways for the past 16 years. Her work has been described as “an artful world of silent dreams, mime, and dance” (Austin Live Theatre). She currently heads up The Gottabees, making super fun theater for families. She tours two shows for families, (Squirrel Stole My Underpants & Lollipops for Breakfast) that are selling out theaters and inspiring homemade puppet shows throughout the US and abroad. She also creates small shows for adult audiences. Prior to her work with The Gottabees, Bonnie was a company member of Snappy Dance Theater for 8 years, performing sculptural, acrobatic dances internationally. Her movement was called “breathtakingly simple” and “delightfully crafty” by the Boston Globe. When Bonnie is not performing, she is the mother of three young children, an avid runner, and vegan cupcake maker.

Jenny Hann is an actor, puppeteer, and teaching artist. Before making NYC her home, Jenny performed and taught drama for children internationally in Hong Kong and Italy. She currently puppeteers professionally with WonderSpark Puppets and teaches puppet courses in Upper Manhattan. Her passion is to create puppetry theatre that has an overall journey, strong character development and original aesthetic. With collaborator Christine Schisano, she developed the original short form piece “Patches” at The Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference which was performed at Puppet Playlist #21 Dolly Parton and The La MaMa Puppet Slam. Some other credits include; The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told (Off Broadway), The Completely True, Tales of Boris the Peacock at St Ann’s Warehouse (Randy Ginsburg), and Howdy Do Show at The Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference (James Kroupa).

With a background in art and design, but graduating before the advent of computers, Anne Johnson was forced to draw trucks, tires, maps and other various and sundry mundane items as a production artist at various agencies, newspapers and studios. Feeling the push to do more creatively and also finally realizing that “kids are just more fun than grown-ups”, she decided to take a plunge and return to graduate school in her late 30s. Now, having dealt with roomfuls of little painters, paper mach-ers, weavers, and any other elementary art mediums, Anne is reaching into the fifth dimension of exploring theater and art with her students and herself. 

Nao Kobayashi is currently finishing the program of MFA in costume design in Theatre Design and Technology at San Diego State University. Over the past decade she has worked on various experimental performance projects with independent artists, dancers, musicians and improvisors in Japan and visiting artists from other countries. After designing costume and large puppets for a show the BFG in early 2016 she finds her passion in puppetry, especially as an area that she uses her techniques of sculpture, craft and fabric, plus martial art and dance as movement study.

Christine Langford has always enjoyed learning, experimenting, unlocking potential, and creating. A childhood filled with fiber arts fueled aspirations of designing apparel. She moved from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to major in Fashion Design at the University of Cincinnati. After graduating in 1992 with an interest in textile design she created a personal line of hats that sold in local specialty shops. A love of color and pattern led her to begin painting floor cloths and later, abstract images. “I made art to better understand life’s currents. Colors and shapes merged into symbols, and then joined in movement to tell stories. While teaching art I was introduced to Shadow Puppet Theater at an educator workshop. This artistic expression seemed to encompass all skills learned in the past. Design elements along with the ‘paper dolls’ and drama of a fashion show merged easily into storytelling with light and shadow.” Christine has taught visual art and performed at local schools in Cincinnati through the Artists-on-Tour Program. She has exhibited paintings and drawings in local galleries and restaurants and has earned a Master’s degree in Education from the College of Mount St. Joseph. Her current endeavors include writing and designing several plays for Shadow Theater. “I am on an ongoing quest to marry art to education in a way that sparks explosive creativity in learning by advancing the exploration of Shadow Puppet Theater for all ages.”


Carrie Morris’ work as a director and performing artist combines puppetry, multimedia and the gestural language of experimental theater. She has a BFA in directing theater from NYU and an MFA in studio art from U of M Ann Arbor. Her work has been seen in the New York International Fringe Festival, The Athens Museum of Art, Seattle’s Annex Theater, the Canadian Fringe Festival, the CATCH! New Artist Series in Brooklyn, NY, the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the Matrix Theater, as an invited artist working with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, at The Flicker Film Festival in Richmond, VA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. She is a J. William Fulbright grantee in the field of performance art for creative work in multimedia shadow puppetry in Solo, Indonesia, a Princess Grace grantee in the field of theater for puppetry design and direction and for several years was the program manager of Puppetry and Performing Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She has been the director of CMAP (Carrie Morris Arts Production) since it was established in 2012 as a place where Detroiters can experience and explore contemporary puppetry, performance and multimedia works.

Milissa Orzolek is a geographer, artist, educator, storyteller and puppeteer. She fell into the world of puppetry in 2010 as a puppeteer with a production of Fantastic Mr. Fox in New Orleans. Since that time, she has puppeteered in the New Orleans Fringe Festival, the New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival, Pot Pourri at the National Puppetry Festival in Hartford and Puppet Slamwich in Baltimore. She has attended the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference and received a 2016 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant for her original production What Keeps Us. She puppeteers under the name abandoned ships.

Fletcher Pierson is a storymaker living in Chicago, IL, just getting started with puppetry. He has recently worked as the assistant director for Rough House’s critically acclaimed Ubu the King and Beyond this Point’s ?corporel, and is Rough House’s apprentice. Fletcher has trained with Rough House, Walkabout, The Artistic Home, and Tara Branham. His current inspiration and creative goals stem from beast myths, ghost stories, and the human need to journey. Fletcher’s upcoming projects include the workshopping of a living-room based puppet show and research for a site-unspecific puppet tour.

Kat Pleviak has been a professional puppeteer and member of the Puppeteers of America since 2002. She has an MFA in Youth Theatre and Puppetry from the University of Hawaii Manoa (2009) and is the founder and Artistic Director of Sea Beast Puppet Company in Chicago, IL. Under Kat’s direction Sea Beast has initiated a number of exciting puppetry projects, including “Little Red Rosie and the Dragon of Dümm,” “Liquid Ladies,” “The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy,” “The History of Light,” and “Méfiez-Vous de la Vache-Garou,” which won Best in Show at the Chicago Fringe Festival in 2013. In addition to performing Kat has experience in company management and has flexed these muscles by hosting the “Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam” and presenting out of town artists in such events as “Oddities: A Collection of Curious Puppetry.”  Kat has been published multiple times in the Puppetry Journal, including her regular column titled “Time Machine.” Her work has been showcased many times in print, including being a featured artist in Puppetry International’s issue of “40 under 40.” Currently Kat serves as the Vice President for the Puppeteers of America and is an active member in the Chicago Puppetry Guild. 

Mikalina Rabinsky is a working theater artist and teacher in the Chicago area. She has taught both theater and art in numerous schools and programs and has worked with a variety of theater companies as a director, performer and puppet/mask designer. She is a senior faculty member at the Piven Theatre where for many years she has directed the Young People’s Company and teaches both adults and children Improvisation, Story Theatre, Scene Study and Commedia dell’Arte. She also works in Viewpoints, Puppetry, Mask and Found Objects. She has always emphasized collaboration with an ensemble to best make use of their unique voices to tell a story and much of her work has taken the form of adapted myths, fairytales, ethnographic and personal performances, outdoor spectacle, as well as adapted literary and historical material. She is thrilled and honored to be chosen for the Catapult program and to engage with new artists from around the country and world in at the Chicago International Puppet Festival.

Emily Ritger is a director, playwright, performer and choreographer based in Chicago. As a teacher and director developing new work, she has worked for American Theatre Company, Redmoon, Cleveland Public Theatre, Northlight Theatre, ChiArts and The National High School Institute.While Ritger’s focus is in ensemble based work, her diverse training includes Viola Spolin Theatre Games, Viewpoints, Puppetry, Contact Improv, experimental methods of writing and various forms of music, creating work that is saturated in movement, music and play. Her work draws from her experience of growing up in small town Wisconsin. It celebrates rural america – its voice, land, dialect, sense of community and the people who carry on the traditions and way of life inherent to living off the land. With the agrarian landscape as her cornerstone, her work explores the philosophy and religion inherent in nature and living off the land, and the cyclical birth and death inherent in life on a farm. Her current projects include her solo show, “Crud”, part documentary style theatre, part fantastical music and shadow puppetry, examining a day her family never talks about. “Behaymas”, a collaboration with playwright Aliza Bartfield, three humans and one animal blur the lines of domesticity and societal constructions of family. And her play “The Day Krissy LeDuke Fell Through the Ice”, a moment in time and its arrayed vectors of tragedy told through free verse and music. She has studied with theater artists Dan Hurlin, David Neumann, Sibyl Kempson, Aretha Sills, Shirley Kaplan, Cassandra Medley, Stuart Spencer and Tom Lee, and received her MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College and a BS in Theatre and Philosophy from the University of Evansville.

Emily Schubert was born and raised in the border lands between Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. She has a degree in fiber and textile art from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is currently an Artist in Residence at the Arrowmont School of Art and Craft in Tennessee. She is inspired by the fantastical and the everyday and how these shape peoples’ perception of the world. Drawing from mythology, folktales, memories, and personal experience she creates characters, puppets, sculptures and collages that aim to make some sense of our existence by giving form to our collective fears and desires. Enthralled by the emotive power and depth of expression achieved through puppetry and storytelling, she believes that within these realms lies a source of real-life magic that is deficient in much of our daily lives. Emily has studied and participated in ritual theater and contemporary puppetry in Indonesia, political puppet theater with Bread and Puppet and has worked as a puppet builder at Madcap Puppet Productions in Cincinnati, Ohio. This past summer she was invited to perform as part of the National Puppet Slam at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jessica Simon is a recipient of an UNIMA Citation of Excellence, support from the Jim Henson Foundation, and was an Emerging Artist at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference.  Her work has appeared in New York at LaMama, Dixon Place, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Puppet Kitchen, Streb Lab, and Puppet Playlist, and regionally at the O’Neill Theatre Center, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, the Puppeteers of America National Festival, NerdCon: Stories, Trouble Puppet Theater, Open Eye Figure Theater, Links Hall, and Puppet Showplace Theater. She previously served as co-curator of Nasty, Brutish & Short Puppetry Cabaret at Links Hall, on the Artistic Direction Committee for Puppet Festival (r)Evolution, and made 3 appearances in the National Puppetry Slam.

From the time Carol Trobe could hold a crayon, manipulate scissors and clay, she was constantly forcing materials into human forms, preferring to create her own dolls and objects to play with.  Art remained her focus during her studies of painting and printmaking at the University of Illinois. She began a career path that took her through Landfall Press in Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago’s print and drawing department, and into freelance work doing repair and preservation of paper documents.  Throughout these years she continued to do her personal art. She is married to a generous and patient man with whom she has raised two daughters, both frequent models and a constant source of inspiration. When her girls were very young she began sculpting in earnest. Her ongoing love of figurative art led her to the unique field of contemporary doll art; multimedia one-of-a-kind figurative sculpture. For the past 20 years her artistic practice has centered on the human form. Puppetry was a natural transition. She remains captivated by the body and its vast array of expressions, gestures and movements that communicate beyond words. Secondary to this is her love of experimentation with materials and techniques in sculpting, molding, casting and assembly. “The Puppet Theater Festival and Catapult offer me an opportunity to explore what other artists and theater professionals are doing.  I hope to return to my studio refreshed, inspired and with new friends to share future puppet art adventures.”

Originally from Minneapolis with a BA in Philosophy and Global studies from Wheaton College, IL, a Painting and Illustration Post-Bacc. from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, a Masters of Education in Visual Art from the University of Minnesota and several years of K-12 Art teaching, Heidi Tungseth moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to… play around, essentially. She got into puppeteering when making a short film before having friends in LA; hence her puppet protagonist. Heidi has studied and performed comedy improv at the Groundlings, co-produced a live comedic musical variety show and an award-winning opera sitcom show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and performs around town in various outlandish homemade costumes or with her homemade humanette puppet. She has gotten a taste of working with shadow puppetry this past fall and will be performing in a Surrealist Magritte-inspired puppet show this spring.  She has always loved the hybridization of handmade objects coming to life in performance and is excited to learn more about the wide array of puppetry styles and storytelling out there.

Jonathan C K Williams has been working at the La Brea Tar Pits & Natural History Museum in Los Angeles for the past 6 years in the Performing Arts Dept. With a background in acting, physical theater, and dance he uses these skills as a puppeteer and performer in museum education, theater (Automata, Theatre Dybbuk, South Coast Rep), and professional freelance in the entertainment industry (Disney Theme Parks, Cartoon Network Adult Swim, Sony PlayStation).