Puppet Kitchen Internships

People write to ask me about how to get started in puppetry a lot. There are schools you can go to, but most puppeteers get their start by interning with a puppet company. One of my favorites is looking for interns. So if you’re in the NYC area and want to learn more about puppetry, here’s a great opportunity to intern at The Puppet Kitchen.

Great puppetry involves serious collaboration: the puppeteer and the puppet work together onstage, and a whole group of designers, builders, wranglers, writers, directors, and other talented folks have worked hard to get them to the stage in style.

Since our establishment in 2008, the Puppet Kitchen has had more than 100 interns.  These new puppeteers are 18 or over and range in experience from college students to experienced arts professionals expanding their skill set.  We look for curious, self-motivated individuals to join our internship program whose work in puppetry will continue to develop beyond their time with us.

A typical day for a PK Intern:

In list form: hands-on creative work, shopping, studio maintenance and administrative tasks.

Puppet Kitchen interns work alongside skilled designers and builders on all studio projects. Some interns also join us onstage as puppeteers or help teach workshops.  Skill-building is self-directed and supported by our staff: interns are encouraged to ask questions throughout the building process and are trained with new materials and techniques.  Interns may also staff occasional professional development workshops at the PK and attend them free of charge.

All PK Interns work on a personal project during their internship.  This project can be as simple as research into a particular type of puppet, a building project, or a short cabaret style performance piece.  Work on personal projects takes place outside of internship hours, though interns are welcome to use the studio facilities. Each Intern has a weekly 30-minute meeting with a PK staff member for advice on their project development.

Commitment & Compensation:

The PK hires three interns/session.

All interns work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30am-6:30pm, for the duration of their internship session.

Occasionally, we will keep the studio open for work at other times or on weekends, when the projects are coming thick and fast.  Interns can sign up for these shifts on an opt-in basis.

A moderate daily stipend is provided for lunch. Puppet Kitchen Internships are not paid.  College credits can be arranged on a case-by-case basis.  If college credit interests you, please indicate that in your application and include contact information for the appropriate administrators at your school.

Professional Trajectory:

Many of the builders and performers we regularly employ at the PK started with us as interns.   While progress is assessed on a case-by-case basis, all interns must complete a second internship session (or the equivalent at another studio) and at least one substantial puppet project of their own to be considered for paid work at the PK.

Upcoming Internship Sessions:

  • Winter: 11/4/13 – 12/23/13 (8 weeks) [Note: They actually sent this to me in time to post, but I was ignoring email while on the road.]
  • Midwinter: 1/6/14 – 3/28/14 (12 weeks)
  • Spring: 3/31/14 – 6/13/14 (10 weeks)
  • Summer: 6/16/14 – 8/30/14 (11 weeks)

Application Guidelines

Please send the following documents in one email to [email protected]:

  • A current resume/CV
  • Contact information for 2 professional references
  • A cover letter which describes your interest in pursuing an internship at the Puppet Kitchen, professional/creative interests, experience and skills in detail
  • Internship Session(s) of choice.  Please describe your availability for that eight or twelve week period.  You may apply for more than one session.
  • Programs with which you are competent (Excel, Photoshop, Quickbooks, etc)
  • 4-6 portfolio photographs which show your creative work, both 2D and 3D.
  • Optional: 3-5 minute video of your performance work – with or without puppets – which displays facility in movement with or without text.  Please post on Vimeo, YouTube, etc. rather than sending video files.

Application notes:

Early applications are encouraged. It is best to apply at least four weeks in advance of your desired session!

Successful email applications will be invited to interview at the studio, or via Skype.  Please be prepared to briefly pitch your personal project during this interview.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Emily DeCola

Co-Founder & Internship Coordinator

Puppet Kitchen LLC

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