Jon as Teacher

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I have been fortunate to travel the world and work with artists and puppeteers who’ve spent their life creating work full of whimsy, drama, character, heart, artistry, integrity and wonder. My work as a teacher comes directly from my work as a puppeteer over the past 7 years. Below you’ll find some of the classes I’ve had the privilege to teach and if you or anyone you know is interested in puppet consulting, masterclass, or a longer workshop feel free to contact me at


New York University, Experimental Theatre Wing

I’ve had the great privilege and joy of returning to my alma mater, NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing to teach a course in Puppetry. With these incredibly talented and smart students, we covered everything from the basics of puppeteering to object manipulation to creating original pieces using found items and homemade puppets.

The main objective for the course was to encourage the students to engage imaginatively with the world outside of themselves; to find life in the objects around them. The course has a heavy emphasis on working as an ensemble. I use the puppet as a concentrated example as to how an ensemble must operate on stage. What is the line between good tension and how to do we constantly and consistently encourage and enable each team member on the stage with us?

The students made some beautiful work during our time together and I hope they find more places to use puppetry in their work.

Shadow Box Theatre Company

I have been a teaching artist with Shadow Box Theatre Company since 2015. With Shadow Box I’ve taught many different populations of students around New York City. Below you’ll find some of my classes.

PS 373

I worked with two co-artists and a class of twelve high school students. All the students were somewhere on the autism spectrum and the majority of them were non-verbal. We created exercises using puppets of all types (shadow, sock, bunraku, etc.) to help develop verbal, teamwork, and communication skills. The several months of work with the students culminated in a dinosaur themed performance! I learned an immense amount from these students and was very proud of our progress together.

Special Citizens Futures Unlimited

I visited the residents and day care attendees of the center once a month to conduct a puppetry course. We made shadow puppets, holiday puppets and did all sorts of crafts together. The students were a delight to work with, everyone of them totally unique in their interests and artistry!

Richard J. Bailey School in White Plains

I travelled up to White Plains to work with the 6th graders in their art class at Richard J Bailey School. They were working on a shadow puppet project based off of the Greek myths they had been studying in class. I introduced them to the world of shadow puppets. We went through the basics of performing and creating shadow stories and began work on the characters for their shadow pieces.


Martha Gelnaw Consulting

Martha Gelnaw is an amazing executive consultant. She uses theater and improv as a means to help people develop better presence in the workplace. Using Martha’s knowledge of working with members of the business community and my knowledge of team collaboration we developed a course intended to examine and support collaborative practices in the workplace. We’ve done some test classes and it was quite eye-opening.

If you are interested in this type of work for your place of work you can contact Martha Gelnaw here:

Independent Teaching Work