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About Our Puppeteers & Staff

Staff Member Description
Nancy Smith
CEO/Artistic Director
Nancy began playing with puppets when she was 5 years old and never outgrew it. After earning theater degrees at Arizona State University and Florida State University, she co-founded Great Arizona Puppet Theater in 1983. Nancy writes and directs most of our shows and music, helps in puppet construction including designing and making costumes, controls, face painting and hair. She also performs in a bunch of shows. Her favorite characters are the Prince in Cinderella, Nibs and Peter in Peter Pan, the mother in Rapunzel, the Little Red Hen, Baby Turtle in Oh Coyote and any other puppet she's operating at the moment.
Gwen Bonar
Assistant Artistic Director
Born into puppetry, Gwen has been performing since she was six. She has performed at numerous puppetry festivals, performed in national puppet slams, and has toured internationally. As assistant artistic director, Gwen takes pride in overseeing all puppet productions.
Lisa Haslbauer
Head Puppeteer
After studying for a Master's degree in the Puppet Arts program at the University of Connecticut, Lisa began working at Great Arizona Puppet Theater in 1993. In 2010, Lisa moved to Seattle where she worked as a puppeteer with Thistle Theater and the children's band The Bears Upstairs, as well as helping to found and performing with the Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam. Lisa returned to Phoenix in 2012 and resumed her role as Head Puppeteer. She's happy to be back with GAPT!
Tommy Cannon
Office Administrator
Tommy Cannon has been doing puppet slams at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater since 2002. In addition to puppetry he also keeps busy as an improv comedian, a writer, and cartoonist.You can find more information about Tommy and see some of his work at his website.
Glen Starrett
Glen has been our volunteer webmaster since June 2001. He has two puppet fans (also known as his daughters) who have grown up visiting the theater, with many handprints on the wall!

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