Puppetry Design, Fabrication, and Performance

Live Puppetry Design

Puppet Design and Fabrication for the Cardiff Giant in the musical "The Giant Hoax" directed by Christopher Michaels in New York 2019. The three person puppet has a moveable mouth and articulated finger mechanisms.

Puppetry Design and Fabrication for Artstillery's "Dirty Turk"

Photo by Alisa Eykillis from "Dirty Turk" by Artstillery, Dallas, TX

"Dirty Turk" was a sold out immersive theatre experience on the topic of immigration. I designed two large backpack puppets to portray the grandparents in the show.

I designed a series of shadow puppetry sequences for the show.

Theatrejones review here:


An Original Puppet Performance for the 

2016 Edwardian Ball in Los Angeles, CA

"E is for Edward" is an original puppet piece inspired by the work of Edward Gorey for the 2016 Edwardian Ball in Los Angeles, CA.  

Noel Williams wrote the original text by making an acrostic out of Gorey's name about the fantastic creatures and characters in Gorey's work. The script was then adapted to music and sung by Adam James and Janet Planet with Chris Dole on keyboard. Special effects and shadow screen were created by Zachary Knight. 

The above photo is the "Edward" puppet head made of papier mache, wire glasses, and fake fur beard, created by Williams. 

The design concept was that all the creatures would be in color, and all humans, with the exception of Edward, would be in black and white including the puppteers, whose make-up would give the feel of Gorey's black and white drawings of Victorian characters. This design concept was created by Noel Williams (pictured above in a make-up test for the piece). 

"E is for Edward" 

Puppeteers Noel Williams, Tanya Leal Soto, Pam Severns, Lauren Hirte, and Jared Ramierz (not pictured) used body puppets, hand puppets, shadow puppets, baby doll marionettes, mouth and rod puppets, and bunraku inspired puppets in the piece. Hand, shadow, and baby doll marionettes built by Tanya Leal Soto. Williams built the body, mouth and rod, and bunraku inspired puppets.

Pictured from left to right: Zachary Knight, Noel Williams, Chris Dole, Pam Severns, Lauren Hirte, and Tanya Leal Soto.

Demon puppet head was built by Nate Hernandez. The demon puppet is body size and connected to the legs and shoulder of performer Noel Williams, who dances with him.

Puppeteer Tanya Leal Soto in skull make-up animates baby doll marionettes in a mini marionette theatre hung around her neck, realizing one of dolls has runaway  and turned into shadow puppet.

Shadow puppet of the Doubtful Guest, which then becomes the large purple furry version operated by Pam Severns.

Edward, a bunraku inspired puppet, with puppeteers Lauren Hirte and Tanya Leal Soto.


Washable Puppets For Spacebus 9 MFA Project

As this project was designed for a hospital, I created a washable puppet design using plastic canvas and fabric. All the moving mouth puppets below are washable! All designs are based on elements in nature as there is research that looking at nature can be healing.

Puppet Fabrication for Ethos Physical Theatre's "Faustus"

Puppet Fabrication of Pride Peacock- body puppet and Sloth Snail puppet for Ethos Physical Theatre Production of "Faustus" 

Lechery the Snake rod puppet with glowing eyes for Ethos Physical Theatre's "Faustus."  

Puppetry Training and Performance

Jim Henson Diversity Workshop

In the summer of 2015, Noel Williams was invited by Jim Henson Studios to participate in their Diversity Workshop in On-camera puppetry for three weeks. The life changing experience not opened up her artistic world to puppetry and film, but also introduced her to a community of puppeteers with whom she began immediately creating and collaborating with.  Her first live puppetry performance, pictured left, was with classmate Tanya Leal Soto at the LA Puppet Slam Shenaniganza in an original sketch that Williams wrote. 

University of Connecticut Graduate Puppet Program

After 16 years in Chicago, Noel Williams moved to Storrs, CT in August of 2016 to pursue a Masters in Puppetry at the University of Connecticut under the guidance of Bart Roccoberton, Alison Paul, Margarita Blush, Dr. John Bell, and Paul Spirito. Within a year, Williams has been gaining skills in  television puppetry, stop motion animation, puppetry fabrication (including paper sculpture, costume crafts, casting and molding, 3-D printing, Ardunio programming), directing, producing, script and project development. 

2017 Sesame Street On-Camera Puppetry Workshop working with Martin Robinson, Matt Vogel, Peter Linz, and Stephanie D'Abruzzo.

2017 National Puppetry Conference Mervyn Millar Signs of Life Strand.  Focus was on using direct manipulation puppets to explore neuroscience concepts. 

Playing the Dragon's Head in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre Production of "Shrek: The Musical."

Pinned and Sewtured production of "Calle Allende" show at Dixon place. Playing Frida Kahlo as a person and a puppet!

Working with director Madeleine Sayet on Connecticut Repertory Theatre's production of  "She Kills Monsters" Article here: https://www.theday.com/article/20180311/ENT10/180319981

Puppet Fabrication


This puppet was made at the 2018 Beyond the Sock On Camera Puppetry Workshop with Peter Linz, Noel MacNeal, and Pasha Romanowski. 

The eyes and mouth plate were adjusted from Pasha's pattern, and I airbrushed the stripes onto the puppet.

Harriet- Rod and Mouth Puppet Prototype of a Disinfectable Puppet for a Children's Hospital. Made of washable fur exterior and plastic canvas interior.

Rigby, Rod and Mouth Television puppet. Foam and fur.

The Beginning of Building Puppets

After the workshop, one of Noel's classmates Kanja Chen introduced her to building puppets.  Her first puppet, pictured above, is Daisy the Cat. 

Initially built to practice, Daisy the Cat soon found herself in a Christmas video short called "A Fruitcake Carol" that Williams also helped to write with her classmates from the Henson workshop.

 In her second puppet build, Williams tackled moving eyebrows and live hands, in creating Raphel, a purple gorilla.

Raphel was built for LA Puppet Slam partner Tanya Leal Soto.

Chester the rabbit was built for another Henson participant, Jack Venturo. Williams not only wanted to practice building puppets, but also enable her fellow puppeteers to continue practicing puppetry.  As a result, Chester can now be seen in the web series "Toy Geeks: Behind the Counter."

Sculpture Work

"The TIn Girl"- Head is carved from wood. This character started out as an exercise in jointing, but she proved to take on a life of her own as a direct manipulation puppet.

"Frankie and the Tin Girl" a Direct Manipulation Puppet Pair

"Frankie" - This steampunk bulldog with leather joints is made of carved styrofoam and coated in layers of sawdust. He is a direct manipulation puppet.

Clay Head Sculpt for George Bailey Marionette. 

Painted Neoprene Cast

Neoprene hands for George Bailey Marionette.

Lady Liberty Hand puppet. Neoprene cast head. Worbola crown and torch.

Scarf Marionette Neville Mouse made using paper sculpture technique and in the short film "La Vie En Rose" made at the 2017 National Puppetry Conference.

Rod puppets Young Neville Mouse and Rose Mouse made using paper sculpture technique  for the short film "La Vie En Rose" made at the 2017 National Puppetry Conference.

Puppet Costumes

Mini Newsboy Hat

Topper, Neoprene cast head hand puppet, sporting the mini Newsboy hat. 

Using Format