ABOUT THE ARTIST

Michael Graham's interest in puppetry began early with a gift of a Pelham marionette and a Shari Lewis book. At thirteen, Michael began performing as “Michael's Marionettes” for birthday and Christmas parties with his Pelham puppets.

He received the book “Making Marionettes” by Susan French, and soon after began constructing his own puppets. His performances helped put him through college where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Spanish.

In 1977 the Spring Valley Puppet Theater was established, featuring hand, and hand and rod puppet productions, with Michael Graham as its Director. He has been performing professionally ever since.
His first Spring Valley Puppet Theater productions featured bilingual Latin folktales and Aesop's fables with popular fairy tales added later. He performs primarily in schools, libraries, park and recreational departments and camps, and has performed at the Puppeteers of America, Inc. regional festivals at Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Connecticut.

Michael designs and builds his puppets and sets, writes the scripts and creates the voice and music tapes. The process of creating his puppet shows begins with the script. He chooses a story which he can physically perform solo.
As part of the script writing process, mockup puppets are used to work out action, puppet movement, dialog and blocking. Puppet, scenic and costume design also happens at the time.

Once the script is completed, Michael make the puppets. Every puppet he uses in his performances is hand crafted. The faces come from his imagination or are inspired by illustration, caricatures or actual people and animals.
Michael's production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” was awarded the 1994 UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry by the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette.
He has been a guest instructor at the University of Connecticut Puppet Arts program, the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (IPPA) at the O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut and has presented casting and hand puppet construction workshops for puppetry guilds in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Michael has studied puppetry with guest Professor Albert Roser at the University of Connecticut in 1977 and at the Summer String Academy conducted by Roser in 1998.