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
|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.