The Stringpullers are explorers of all forms of puppetry and object performance. We build puppets, teach construction and manipulation, provide puppeteers and puppeteer training, and make shows for the stage and street with a special interest in public spectacle and participatory community events. The Stringpullers is Linda Wingerter and a rotating roster of artists from New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
As puppeteers we are guided by the knowledge stored in our hands. We dance with objects, romance materials, and conspire with gravity. Common and discarded materials are our allies. Play is our sacred space. We make things and movement to invite joy, contemplation and curiosity into our communities. We've come together to share and shepherd this tradition of the tangible through an age of the intangible.
Founded in 1950 by David and Helen Bogdan of West Orange, New Jersey as a traveling community puppet theater, the Stringpullers built a cast of over 50 marionettes and cultivated the education of new puppeteers including their two daughters Judy and Bonnie, and their granddaughter Linda. More history and puppet archives.
Linda is a multidisciplinary visual and performing artist. Sculpture, mechanics and performance were ingrained in her early on from growing up in her grandparents' puppet theater, while an influential summer at the Montanaro Mime School as a teenager was the seed that grew into her whimsical aesthetic. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design she worked for a decade as a children's book illustrator before returning to puppetry. She apprenticed with Puppetsweat Theater Company from 2003-2010, training in performance and construction with Leslie Weinberg and Bob Bresnick, and performing shadow, table top and movement-based puppetry around the east coast including the Manhattan School of Music and the Kennedy Center. In 2011 she revived her family puppet company with her first full stage feature production, Luna's Sea, an aquatic adventure for five puppeteers and two dancers, produced for the Mystic Aquarium and debuted in NYC at the American Museum of Natural History. Her puppetry arts education continued at the O'Neill Theater Center's National Puppetry Conference with Jim Kroupa, Martin Kettling, Hua Hua Xhang, James Godwin, Jim Rose, Phillip Huber, and Alice Gottschalk, and in 2014 she was an O'Neill recipient of the Jane Henson Writing Scholarship Award. Linda has taught puppetry at universities, libraries, elementary and high schools, including a year long puppetry exploration for the After School at the Klein performance program of Bridgeport. Linda co-taught Puppetry Arts at Quinnipiac University from 2005-2007, and was a staff member of the Yale School of Drama Costume Department from 2007-2015. Most recently she taught a three semester puppetry exploration program as adjunct faculty at Fairfield University, leading theater students in performance, construction, and movement with objects, and directing an all-student crew in building the full puppet cast of Avenue Q.
Some guest Stringpullers:
- Jen McClure, puppet builder
- Jamie Burnett, lighting designer
- Karl Gasteyer, director
- Christine Poland, choreographer
- Weston Long, puppeteer
- Matthew Maynes, lighting designer
- Margaret Carl, stage manager