YOU Can Visit MicheLee Puppets!

With puppets on exhibit from floor to ceiling; hallways decorated with awards, articles and  hand-written letters with pictures from those whose lives have been touched by MicheLee Puppets’ programs; and a studio filled with puppet supplies, set pieces, projects “in process” AND a television studio, MicheLee Puppets has something enticing for people of all interests.

Much more than a touring company, MicheLee Puppets’ shows are generally performed offsite, but there is still plenty to see and do! Workshops, conferences, exhibitions, meetings, photo shoots, filmings, and more fill the studio walls. A package delivery is often accompanied by “What is this place?”, a question that has inspired FREE informational breakfasts.

“Participants for our monthly informational breakfast events come from all walks of life,” muses Kit Twenter, Development Director for MicheLee Puppets. “We’ve welcomed NASA engineers, school teachers, musicians, medical professionals, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, and more. There’s a curiosity that draws them to us: how can they get their message across in a creative way? Sharing our stories of empowerment, guests join in our excitement of educating the children of our community-at-large and delivering messages in a very special way-through the art of puppetry.”

People from all walks of life visit MicheLee Puppets…and YOU can too!

Now in its 30th year, MicheLee Puppets invites YOU to enjoy your morning coffee and a FREE continental breakfast in a creative environment!  Be moved by stories of impact and entertained by performance pieces. Ask questions of the experts, and maybe even make a character to take home, all in the time span of 1 hour!

For upcoming breakfast dates or to schedule a personal tour, contact Kit Twenter  kit@, 407-898-7925 x 3.

A Moving Experience: Occupational Therapy Meets Puppetry

Surrounded by old tin cans, empty water bottles, newspapers and more, one might think that Vicki Case’s Adventist University Occupational Therapy students are stepping into a workshop on recycling. What the students don’t yet know is that they are actually surrounded by characters about to be brought to life!

In this annual, 2-hour workshop, MicheLee Puppets’ Executive Director Tracey Conner leads these students in the use of puppet building and manipulation techniques that can be incorporated into therapy to benefit their clients. This exploration into Puppetry and Art therapy is a crucial part of the students’ training.

Encompassing all of the art forms, puppetry is more than strictly entertainment. It is a tool for delving into imagination, and from there, creativity and ingenuity emerges.

Working in a Group to Solve a Problem:

What kind of puppet character can be built in 5 minutes using only newspaper and tape?

Students set to work, twisting, tearing, and taping, as they explore this activity derived from the work of late, great puppeteer, George Latshaw. With newspaper flying, students quickly begin to sculpt their characters, each group creating both a unique piece and a unique personal strategy. One group has a quick brainstorm session before beginning, assigning tasks and creating a plan for building. Another group simply dives in and begins putting pieces together as they are constructed. Yet another group splits apart and builds as individuals, planning to come together at the end. In just this short period, it becomes clear how each individual approaches problem solving when working in a group.

Once, constructed, 3 volunteers from each group, bring their characters to the front for a Bunraku-style training in puppetry manipulation. With a direct correlation to their Occupational Therapy curriculum, students practice weight distribution and coordination of movement, putting into practice how to translate and analyze movement. Performers then apply this movement to the puppet so that the group may move together as one. By transforming their energy to match those of others, the students begin to bring their newspaper puppets to life!

Working Independently to Solve a Problem:

In the students’ next activity, they are challenged to independently create a “found-object” puppet, or a puppet created from a random set of found materials (could be clean items from a recycling or trash bin). This character must have at least one moving part. Creativity explodes as individuals set to work, examining materials, brainstorming what supplies they will need and determining how the pieces will attach together.  While each ponders their character, the students also brainstorm ways in which they can integrate both their character and these puppetry activities into therapy with both children and adults.

“Learning about puppetry helps us with understanding activity analysis.” explains OTA Student Luis Johnston. “As both occupational therapy practitioners and puppeteers you have to understand how activities are performed. The experience also helps us to identify how puppetry can be used as a therapeutic media in occupational therapy. We can use puppetry to help our clients deal with issues such as communication skills, socialization as well as anger management/conflict resolution.”

Bringing Characters to Life:

The students’ final activity concentrates most heavily on the manipulation of the character, with the construction element used as a means to an end. With the simple twist of a pipe cleaner, the students’ hands are magically transformed into puppets. It is the movement of each finger, the alignment of the wrist, and the expression of the individual thumb joints that define the characters that they will create. Here the students explore what it is for the puppet to “be alive,” learning how to make their puppets breathe, focus their eyes, and even lip sync to a song. Once the students become familiar with movement, they layer in character through body movement and voice.

“It’s exciting to see the light bulbs go off for these students as they explore puppetry.” shares Tracey Conner, Executive Director of MicheLee Puppets. “Watching these students translate simple activities that we do every day in puppetry, into something that can help a patient is astounding.

MicheLee Puppets offers workshops for all ages! For more information and to schedule a workshop for your group contact jamie@

OUTFRONT Media helps MicheLee Puppets Soar!

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane! It’s…MicheLee Puppets?MicheLee Puppets has been touring Central Florida for 30 years, but never quite like this! If you have traveled in the Central Florida area this summer, you may have been lucky enough to see this image floating above you:

billboard pic

Thanks to a generous in-kind donation from OUTFRONT Media, MicheLee Puppets is popping up in neighborhoods across Central Florida! The fun continues throughout the year as we celebrate 30 years of empowering lives through the art of puppetry! Where will you see us next?Like us on Facebook and when you see MicheLee Puppets on a billboard, share it with us! Thank you, OUTFRONT Media for this fun and unique way for MicheLee Puppets to reach the masses!


Audition Notice 2015-16

NON-EQUITY, PAID MicheLee Puppets, Inc.

MicheLee Puppets, Inc., Florida’s leader in educational puppetry, is casting puppeteers and actors for our 2015-16 Season. We are a touring company to schools and public venues in Central Florida and throughout Florida. In addition to performing, actors/puppeteers will help load in, set up and strike for each show. For our large productions, a stage tech will be part of the team. Male and female performers of all races/ethnicities are encouraged to apply. All performers hired will be required to pass an FBI fingerprint background check.

To apply, please email your headshot and resume to Jamie@ Auditions will be by appointment only on July 13 and July 27, 2015. If called to audition please prepare a one-minute comedic monologue. Be prepared to work with one of our puppets or bring your own puppet. If you are auditioning for Rhyme Time, prepare a song.


2015-2016 Season:

EXTREME Health Challenge – In the game show tradition, wacky and entertaining puppet characters face a series of challenges, battles of wit, and puppetry mayhem. Children laugh and learn about the importance of good nutrition and active lifestyles. Roles:

Puppeteer must be proficient with hand and rod puppets and good with multiple male and female character voices.

“Fitastic” is the show host. Requires actor who is physically fit and can do gymnastic stunts or dance. Should be comfortable with children as volunteers from the audience are brought on stage to interact with the puppets and Fitastic.


Rhyme Time and Discover Math and Science – These shows feature toy theatre size stages, simple paper puppets and shadow puppets, music, singing, and audience participation for preschool audiences. Our solo performers must be good singers and very good with small children.


A Good Day for Pancake – This one-man bully prevention show is geared for K-2nd graders. Puppeteer must be proficient (or able to learn) hand puppet techniques and must be very good with multiple character voices.


Bully Scene Investigators – This bully prevention show is geared for 3rd-5th graders and includes lots of audience participation. Two actor/puppeteers must be good at physical humor, puppetry and interaction with children.


Questions? Please contact Jamie at 407-898-7925 x 223 or Jamie@

For more information on MicheLee Puppets visit

5 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy this Summer

Empower your family to make healthy choices in these 5 simple ways

When we send our kids to school, we send expectations:

  • The school will provide my child with the knowledge they need to be successful
  • The school will provide healthy/balanced lunches
  • The school will provide activities in which my child will exercise

After all, experts in their field create curriculum to serve these needs. But when summer hits, “the school” is taken out of the equation and replaced with “I”… and that can be overwhelming.

So how do we make the right choices for our family? Well, it goes back to the old adage: You give a man a fish and he eats for a day. You teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Take the pressure off of yourself. Start by turning the “I” into a “we” with EMPOWERMENT.

Now, we are not suggesting that you go out and teach your child to fish (although if that is how you would like to achieve your health goals, have at it), but when you empower your family to make the right choices, you grow healthier together.

Try these 5 simple ways to put your family on the road to health empowerment (and continue their education at the same time)

1. Put the Label On The Table



Cereal, snacks and other foods often hide in the cupboards (or if you are really ambitious, they are displayed in lovely containers throughout the kitchen). If “out of sight, out of mind” is true, then “in sight in mind” must also be true. When you pull out those snacks, pull out those nutrition labels and share them with your family. Start by reading the ingredients, and following this simple mantra:

If you can’t read it… don’t eat it.

All natural ingredients are key. If you see something like Monosodium Glutamate Phenylalanine, it’s probably got chemicals in it. You do not want to put chemicals in your amazing bodies! Look for ingredients that you can pronounce, like “oat flour” and look for items with fewer ingredients (such as fresh fruit, which doesn’t even come with an ingredients label). Fresh is always best, but when you’re picking packaged food like cereal or crackers, you want to make sure you’re putting the healthiest stuff in your body. Compare labels to see which has more fiber, vitamins, and less sugar. You learn together and you practice reading in the summer. Win/Win

 EXTREME version: Once your family knows how to read the label, take it to the store! Compare labels at the grocery store to shop your healthiest and find what fruits and vegetables are in season!

2. Measuring Cups for Everyone!



Once you have introduced the nutrition label to your family and they know WHAT they are eating, look for HOW MUCH of that item is in each serving. It’s really easy to sit down with a box or a bag and feed handfuls of servings to yourself. Start out empowered! Read the top of the label for “Serving Size”, then grab some measuring cups and measure to that size (for example, Serving Size = 1 cup). Keep the measuring cups at hands reach (even stored in the box or bag) for easy measuring.

EXTREME VERSION Make it even more fun by picking up a set of measuring cups for each member of the family (we found these at the Dollar Store). Decorate the cups with permanent markers to personalize them, and store the measuring cups in a place that is easy to reach (in a low drawer or on a key-ring in the closet). For things like cookies or crackers count out each piece to make a serving, then put the box or bag away. Voila! Math and health are practiced together!

Remember, snacks are the #1 food choice that children make for themselves. Empower your family to make the healthy choice!

3. Exercise Outside AND Inside


Sports are wonderful exercise, but they are not the ONLY way to stay healthy. Rainy days, allergies, and hot weather can put a damper on outside activities, so have some indoor exercises ready to go! If your family leans more towards the couch potato side, come up with some simple things to get them moving. Dance breaks are great ways for families to stay active together. Balance contests during commercial breaks get you on your feet. Hula hoops and jump ropes (if you have the indoor space) can be great exercise tools both individually or as group activities. Exercise is cumulative, so even a little bit at a time can add up. A dance break here and a family walk there can get your heart pumping!

EXTREME Version: As a family, make a list of outdoor and indoor exercises. Write the individual activities on cards splitting the activities into two containers, one labeled “outside” and one labeled “inside”. Choose at least one activity from each container per day. Increase the amount of time you spend on each activity throughout the summer.

4. Water, Water, Water!

Water is our most basic of needs, but how do we know if we get enough? Ah, the wonders of science. No need for test tubes, or measuring devices, this observational experiment is simple. Simply checking the color of your pee throughout the day will alert you to the need for more water. If your pee is clear, you are drinking enough water. The more sugar you add to your diet, the yellower it gets. Your family can have all sorts of fun with this, but the challenge really is, how can I get my family to drink enough water to have clear pee. For some, the knowledge is enough to create a personal challenge, but for those more stubborn drinkers, try to add water in their daily activities. For instance, assign a water bottle to their screen time. They can sip away while mesmerized during their favorite show. Try only bringing water to outings and only ordering water at restaurants. Make water bottles and cups accessible by placing them in low cabinets or drawers so that kids can be empowered to get water themselves.

Also, sometimes hungry really means thirsty. Try drinking some water before grabbing a snack.

 EXTREME VERSION Challenge your family to find times throughout the week when they can replace a sugary drink with water. As they get used to that, try finding times throughout the day in which sugary drinks can be replaced by water. Who can have the clearest pee?

5. Be the Example

From the time they are tiny babies, we learn how often kids imitate us (from “peekaboo” to choice language at not-so-choice times). Empower yourself to be the example of health that you want for your family. Following  “5, 2, 1, Almost None” each day can get you on your way.


5  or more fruits and vegetables. According to the USDA. ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Click here for a “Choose my plate” diagram

2 hours or less of screen time With the birth of more and more gadgets, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tear yourself away from your screens. Set timers for yourself and have your family set timers for themselves as well, that set a limit on screen time, and be ready with non-screen activities such as crafts, books, board games, and outdoor/indoor activities.

1 hour of physical activity This goes back to #3. It adds up, so even if it is 10 minutes here and there throughout the day, getting yourself to at least one hour of physical activity a day can make a big difference.

Almost none of items such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks that are not 100% fruit juice Replacing these drinks with water is ideal, but if you need a little sweetness, try adding fresh fruits and vegetables to the water (there are even water bottles that are made just to for infusing fruit and vegetables). If you are going to drink juice, read the label to make sure that it is 100% juice (and pay attention to the serving size).

These are just the first steps in empowering yourself and your family to live healthy lives. Keep the kids in on the conversation and share with each other ways in which you are being healthy in your daily lives to build on these simple concepts a little each day!

 Want more?

Empowering lives through the art of puppetry, MicheLee Puppets puts healthy living into practice with EXTREME Health Challenge a wacky game show currently touring throughout Florida. Want your kids to take the challenge? Contact denise@  to schedule a performance at your venue today!

For more details and next steps on healthy living visit:

  FDA Read the Label Youth outreach campaign

United States Department of Agriculture

Empowering Community through Strategic Partnerships

Walking School Bus logoHelen Keller once said, “Alone we can do little; together we can do much.” At MicheLee Puppets, we have found that collaboration among our creative team of writers, artists, and puppeteers has produced an exciting array of plays and video productions. We like working together, learning from each other, and pushing ourselves to explore a variety of puppetry forms.

For MicheLee Puppets, collaboration in the form of partnerships with social service agencies is a hallmark of our identity and our way of doing business. Our productions are issue-based, and we work with experts in the fields of education, child psychology, and child welfare to ensure that our performances contain accurate, age-appropriate information.

image[21] Behind the scenes of a video shoot for Walk to School: Safe is Cool series[/caption]MicheLee Puppets has also become the “go-to” arts organization for agencies that want to get their message to young people in a way that will grab their attention and affect positive social change. One example of a successful partnership is a project that promotes the Walking School Bus.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a serious problem in Florida, which has the top four metropolitan areas on the list of most dangerous areas for walking in the U.S.

The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County wanted to promote the health benefits of walking to school, and they wanted to make sure that students knew the rules of pedestrian safety so that they would arrive to school safely. Through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and Safe Routes to Schools, MicheLee Puppets was commissioned to create a series of fun, educational videos to promote walking to school and also cover the important pedestrian safety rules.

Volusia County Health Department provided us with the content. Our creative team took the information and developed a series of six videos called Walk to School: Safe is Cool. The videos have been delivered to schools all over Florida reaching thousands of children with life-saving messages! For more information on this project and to see a video, visit us on Facebook.

If your company or organization would like to reach children and youth with a positive message that will enhance their health and well being, contact Tracey Conner at 407-898-7925 x2. We would like to partner with you!

2nd Grader Arrests Bully

At the end of a performance of  MicheLee Puppets’ bully prevention show A Good Day for Pancake, a second grader, identifying himself as “Policeman Kevin,” approached performer Jamie Donmoyer saying “Please tell the dog that Policeman Kevin has a few questions for him.”

A few moments later, “the dog” (a small, stuffed-animal hand puppet named Willie Walker) emerged to face questioning. Policeman Kevin, now joined by his classmates, interrogated the bully.

Policeman Kevin: “Why are you a bully?”

Willie Walker (dog): “Why do you think I am a bully?”

Crowd of students: “Because you’re mean!” “Because you like to be!”

Policeman Kevin: “Because you hate children.”

Willie Walker responded that he did like children. He explained that it was his first day at a new school, and he confessed that he had made bad choices when trying to make new friends. It was at that point that Policeman Kevin made the arrest.

“Put your hands behind your back. You have broken the law by being a bully.”

Only upon promising to make better choices in the future was Willie Walker released from custody, free to perform in his next show.

A teacher identified Policeman Kevin as a student on the autism spectrum. She explained that his classmates are very protective of him, and they were concerned that “Willie Walker” would say something to hurt their friend. Kevin’s interactions with this puppet dog were as real as if with another human, and yet he does not interact with other humans in this way. There is something about a well performed puppet character that creates a non-threatening environment where students with tactile issues, like Policeman Kevin, can touch the hands of the puppet without a second thought. His classmates were relieved to see that Kevin had the situation handled and congratulated him for standing up to the bully.

MicheLee Puppets empowers lives through the art of puppetry and in our 30th year celebration, we are excited to share our experiences through stories just like this one. If you have a story that you would like to share about your experience with MicheLee Puppets, we ‘d love to hear from you! Email Jamie@ or call 407-898-7925 x 223.

To empower your students by booking “A Good Day For Pancake” or any of our live shows visit  or email or call Denise@ 407-898-7925 x 1.

Empowering Early Learners through Rhyme Time: Reading Readiness Program

RT-LOGO-ON-CURVE_FINAL1_REVThere is a strong correlation between literacy and poverty. According to the National Institute for Literacy, 43% of adults with very low literacy skills live in poverty. The foundation for successful reading is built in the early years when a young child’s brain is highly responsive and attuned to learning language. In fact, if a child is not reading at grade level by the end of first grade, he has only about 10% chance of reading at grade level by the end of fourth grade.

Research has shown that familiarity with Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes helps children to develop pre-reading skills, the first step in becoming successful readers. As children hear, sing or read nursery rhymes, they develop “phonemic awareness” or the ability to detect the individual sounds that make up words, which is a crucial first step in learning to read. Nursery rhymes, especially Mother Goose rhymes, also introduce children to new vocabulary words that increase comprehension. Children joyfully engage in rhyme activities, which foster an enduring enthusiasm for books and reading.

MicheLee Puppets has partnered with Head Start of Orange County to create Rhyme Time, a series of puppet shows that introduce pre-reading skills through puppetry, music, and student participation. These delightful puppet shows are staged on colorful, over-sized pop-up-books created by MicheLee Puppets.

MicheLee Puppets will join three Head Start Centers to celebrate the 18th Annual Guest Readers Week March 16, 2015 to March 19, 2015 at all Head Start Centers.

To book a performance for your children call Denise Lucich at 407-898-7925 x1.

Tackling Social Issues Like Domestic Violence through Puppetry Arts

TheHeroesPSAs MicheLee Puppets celebrates our 30th anniversary in 2015, we celebrate the life-changing performances and educational programs that have impacted 1.9 million children and youth. Puppets have been used for centuries to educate, to inspire, and to promote social change. MicheLee Puppets carries on this tradition as we partner with social service agencies to deliver empowering messages on issues that are critical to the health and well being of young people. Domestic violence is one of those issues.

A new ad campaign by the Salvation Army features “the dress” in white and gold on a badly bruised woman. The ad asks “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”  This campaign follows a rash of media attention on domestic violence; especially following alleged incidents in the NFL.

While most of the discussion has been about violence to women, find we should also be aware that domestic violence is an issue that affects children profoundly. Children living in homes where violence is present are at increased risk for sexual and physical abuse. A study by Kaufman and Henrich (2000) estimates that about 40% of children who witness domestic violence are also physically abused. Mothers who are victims of domestic violence are also more likely to physically and/or emotionally abuse their children than mothers who are not in violent relationships (Lutenbacher, Cohen, & Conner, 2004). These children often suffer from emotional problems such as higher levels of aggression and anger, disobedience, fear, anxiety, withdrawal, depression and poor social relationships and self-esteem.

MonsterFightPSIn 2010, MicheLee Puppets partnered with Central Florida domestic violence shelter, Harbor House, and Dr. Phillips Charities to create Little Heroes. Our puppet play told the story of a brother and sister dealing with the consequences of abuse against their mother. They became the heroes of the story when they confided in a teacher and got help. The impact of this play on one little boy was immediate. After our show, the student reported to his teacher that his mom’s boyfriend was in jail for beating her up. His sister had called 911, and he was living in fear that the man would come and hurt them when he was released from jail. Because this boy was empowered through our puppet show to report, his family was able to connect with Harbor House, which helped them create a safety plan to prevent further violence.

We can all help stop domestic violence by getting involved. Here are 16 Ways to Stop Domestic Violence in Your Community.

MicheLee Puppets: Empowering Young Lives Since 1985

For nearly 30 years, MicheLee Puppets has championed the empowerment of children and youth to make positive choices that will lead to happy, healthy, and productive lives. That is why we have joined organizations and individuals across the country to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers.

The demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math is critically linked to global competitiveness. The National Science Foundation states:
“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, all students need to develop their capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”

Sadly, there are not enough young people pursuing STEM related careers. In fact, studies show students begin to lose interest in math and science during the middle school years. Girls face special challenges in pursuing math and science careers.

While high school girls are taking many high level math and science courses at about the same rate as boys, there remains achievement gaps for minority and low income students (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2012). Gender disparities begin to occur for college undergraduates where women receive only 18.2% of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science, 19.2% in engineering, 19.1% in physics, and 43.1% in math and statistics (NSF, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015).

By the time women reach the workforce, they represent 39% of chemists and material scientists, 27.9% of environmental scientists and geoscientists, 15.6% of chemical engineers, 8.3% of electrical and electronics engineers, and 7.2% of mechanical engineers.

What can we do? Here are recommendations from Preparing Students for STEM Careers by Angela Traurig and Rich Feller:
1. Connect students with role models in STEM fields, especially women and ethnic minorities.

2. Students are often motivated to learn if they understand the real world applications of what they are learning. Connect students with career and technical education programs to promote STEM in real-life applications.

3. Promote fun ways to explore STEM interests through Space Camp, NASA Kid’s Club, and local STEM career fairs within educational settings.