National Puppetry Conference Announces Caroll Spinney Scholarship

Published: March 4, 2023
Categories: News

Our friends at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center have made an exciting announcement that should be of interest to any budding puppeteers out there.

Each June, the O’Neill hosts the National Puppetry Conference – a gathering of puppeteers from around the world to collaborate with artists, writers, and directors to produce unique and innovative productions. It’s a terrific organization, and I’ve heard so many amazing stories from my puppeteer friends who’ve attended.

Muppet performer Pam Arciero – Artistic Director for the National Puppetry conference at the O’Neill – has announced a new scholarship to the conference in honor of Caroll Spinney. The scholarship will be awarded to “participants who are great at Storytelling and Endearing Performances, as our dear Caroll was.”

In Pam’s own words:

As you may know, I am the Artistic Director of the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. For over 30 years, we have helped many puppeteers to develop and hone their craft. Our mission is to raise the standards of American puppetry and develop new works and new voices. Some of the puppeteers who have come through the Conference include many people working for Sesame Workshop right now; Ryan Dillon, Peter Linz, Frankie Cordero, Spencer Lott, Liz Hara, Andres Cano, Cedwan Hooks, Leila Ghaznavi, and Tim Lagasse; as well as puppeteers and artists who have performed, developed shows and worked with participants; Martin P. Robinson, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Tyler Bunch, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Jen Barnhart, Lara Maclean, Michelle Hickey, Ben Deroche, Noel MacNeal, Joshua Holden, and Paul Rudolph. 

We have worked tirelessly to include many diverse puppeteers in an effort to open the field of puppets to a wider group of people. We have always strived to be as inclusive as possible, and diversity has been a major goal for us for over 15 years. Often, the limitation among BIPOC groups is financial. We try to scholarship as many people as we can. Although the cost is minimal, it is beyond the reach of many.

As this is the time of year that we grant scholarships, I am asking if you can support puppeteers in their effort to become better at our craft. If it is possible, a contribution, in any amount, to the O’Neill Puppetry Scholarship Funds would go a long way to help these devoted artists to continue to grow. As well as the new Caroll Spinney Scholarship, the Jerry Nelson and Lisa Simon Scholarships are in particular need of funding this year.

If you are interested and able to donate, please visit and click on “donate,” or contact director of Development Rob Mooney, for more information.

If you’re considering applying for the Caroll Spinney Scholarship, you can do so through the O’Neill website as well.

Thanks to Pam Arciero for the detailed information!

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by Joe Hennes –


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Written by Joe Hennes

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