What is Puppet Theater?

History of Puppet Theater

Many may already be familiar with this form of theater, but for those of you who have never before seen a puppet theater, it is exactly what it sounds like. It is a theatrical show performed by humans using different types of puppets. According to research, puppetry has existed for over 3000 years and was used in theater before human actors.

Puppets in Shakespearean Plays

In its beginning, puppets were used by the church in Medieval Italy. They performed morality plays in order to teach the community moral life lessons. Later on, puppets were being used for performances of William Shakespeare’s plays instead of human actors. During the 20th century, puppetry was used for the entertainment of adults. Puppets would be used to touch subjects and take action that would otherwise not be appropriate on television or movies.

Puppet Theater For Children

Today, puppetry is much more popular in the children community. They are used on television and theater performances to appeal to children and families in order to teach moral life messages. Puppetry is also used in therapy in order to help children to better explore and express their fears and feelings.

There are many different types of puppets from Hand Puppets to Carnival Puppets. Let’s explore some of these in more detail:

Hand Puppets and Glove Puppets

There are two versions of hand puppets. One version is the one without a moveable mouth, which simply requires three fingers –one for the neck and two for each arm. The other version is one with a movable mouth, which then requires four fingers for the upper mouth and a thumb for the jaw.


These are string puppets, which require much more work than the hand puppets. Marionettes are usually made up of eight strings but may sometimes be made up of 30 strings. Each string is used to help bring the puppet to life and to imitate the human movement.

Carnival Puppets

These puppets are –of course- seen in carnivals during street spectacles. They are full body large puppets, usually decorated in bright colors and glitter or gems. As we know, carnivals travel or only come to town once a year, so to see this type of theater you must be in an area present with festivals like New Orleans, Hollywood, or Boston. Check out some 

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