I realize that many storytellers may feel that adding a puppet to a storytelling performance is just plain wrong. After all, can’t a well-told story or program of stories stand alone? Why depend on an attention-getting device like a puppet to keep the interest of an audience? Isn’t it bad enough that most people think storytelling is just for tiny tots and elementary kids – why add fuel to this notion by adding a puppet to the mix?  

An excellent storyteller certainly does not need anything except a great story (or stories) to enthrall an audience, but if every storyteller did this, I believe fewer performers would stand out from the crowd. Like a good actor, a storyteller is first a performer with a duty to entertain, inform and delight in a memorable way. I firmly believe that if you have a talent, interest or skill to distinguish your storytelling style from others, you should think about including it when it seems appropriate during performances.  

I do not wish to dismiss nor discourage you if you want to develop storytelling programs without including extra skills.  My point here is to encourage anyone who has thought about including a special talent in a storytelling show, but has lacked the courage to do so. You may be surprised and delighted by the positive response. I have learned that audiences are impressed by and more easily remember performers who mix things up by including another art form in their shows.

So, what works for me, might not work for you. Puppetry has been one of my lifelong interests, so I have developed a sense about how a puppet relates to different ages in an audience. I am also aware that a puppet has the potential to overshadow a performance or performer, so I have developed my storytelling programs to help me maintain control of any puppet I use in a show and still keep my audience with me and engaged in the stories I tell.